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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

14 mins ago - Podcasts

Bob Nelsen on AstraZeneca and his plan to revolutionize biotech

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday reported promising efficacy data for their COVID-19 vaccine, which has less stringent storage requirements than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and may be distributed earlier in developing countries.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing with Bob Nelsen, a successful biotech investor who on Monday launched Resilience, a giant new pharma production platform that he believes will prepare America for its next major health challenges.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated 20 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Unpacking Joe Biden's decision to tap John Kerry as his climate envoy

Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is naming former Secretary of State John Kerry as a special presidential envoy for climate change.

Why it matters: The transition team's announcement sought to show that it will be an influential role, noting that Kerry — a former Massachusetts senator and the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee — will be on the National Security Council.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.

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