Honda has long been admired by car enthusiasts — hell, loved — for being one of the few major manufacturers that strives to bring pleasure to the masses. Not only in the form of democratized sports cars such as the Civic Model R, NSX and S2000 either; even their family sedans have always had a bit of extra driving fun, a bit of playfulness and engagement that none of their rivals can equal.
And it’s a little surprising to learn that Honda is axing not one but three of the most appealing vehicles actually included in its American range for the 2021 model year: the Honda Fit, the Honda Civic Si and the Honda Accord with manual transmission gear.
Honda cuts cars from US markets
Of these three, it is the last one that most hurts. Honda was one of the last to offer a manual gearbox on the sedan family market. And the current 10th-generation agreement has been a delightful partner for it. Serving up playful handling that belies its expansive interior. The six-speed stick — limited to the Sport model occupying a Goldilocks place in the range between the bare-bones LX and the well-equipped EX — was available on both the 1,5-liter 4-base 192-hp turbo engine and the 2.0-liter 252-hp turbo 4.
Perhaps more disturbing, though, is the fact that Honda simply started making stick-shift Accords eight months ago. As Car and Driver found out. When it turned out, Honda claims manual gearbox deals accounted for just 1–2 percent of sales here. Which probably made it through an unfair tax plan. (If you want to grab one before they’re all gone, act quickly. Cars.com shows just 14 new manual Agreements currently on sale across America, out of more than 15,000 on dealer lots overall.)
The Civic Si ‘s absence for the model year 2021 still hurts, but it doesn’t hit too deeply. Hey, 2021 is the last model year for the existing Civic, with an all-new one scheduled for launch next year; Automobile states that the Civic Si brand will return for the upcoming 11th generation iteration of the classic compact car. So we will have all of its lovely combination of durability and versatility for long. Nevertheless, what will not return for the next generation Civic is the Si coupe; after the 2020 model year. It and all other Civic coupes are being indefinitely set out to pasture, victims of falling demand.