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2019 Honda Civic. Photo: Honda

After a string of high-end German luxury cars, this week I'm driving the 2019 Honda Civic Touring edition, with an appealing price tag of $27,300.

Why it matters: The Civic comes with standard safety and assisted-driving features that are similar to those found in the German luxury models. Like Toyota, Honda has made assisted-driving features standard across its lineup for no extra cost.

  • That means you can buy a Civic for as little as $19,450 and get important safety features like adaptive cruise control, low-speed follow (for traffic jams), emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance — all for free.
  • Other mass-market brands like Chevrolet and Ford are now racing to make the technology standard as well.

Yes, but: My impression is that Honda's lower-end technology may not be quite as responsive as those in the higher-priced European models.

  • For example, while using adaptive cruise control on the highway, it seemed to take a moment longer for the car to recognize that another car had pulled in front and to slow down.
  • Likewise, when the car in front changed lanes, the Civic lagged when making the decision to resume its cruising speed.

The bottom line: It's still a lot of driver-assistance technology for the money, and most people will be pleasantly surprised by what their little Civic can do.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

Go deeper

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting aspects of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

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