May 31, 2019

What we're driving: 2019 Honda Civic Touring edition

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

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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