Friday, September 2, 2022

The End of Summer- August Wrap With an Elantra N

 August was a tough month.  Hot days, long waits in the airports, home remodeling and a powerboat race topped off  the last week with 4 days with 2 energy filled grandsons.  It never stopped and in between, I found another Civic Si searching dealer inventories at 4:30 am one day; my next car purchase.  Yes, another Civic Si only this time in Aegean Blue from Ralph Honda in Rochester, NY. I'll take delivery sometime in the next 3 months if Honda's supply chain gets refilled. I was planning on getting the new Civic Type R until my dealer that had me 1st in line said they were charging $10K over MSRP.  That killed the deal.  Maybe next year. In the meantime my Type R lite (Civic Si) will do just fine as it is an amazing car for the money.  I still prefer driving my new Elantra N though!

With all that activity, I got to drive my new Hyundai Elantra N from Crown Hyundai in St. Petersburg, FL about 400 miles.  I did find time to stripe the new N and install new tires and wheels and will report my findings below.

First, here's a few pictures from the APBA Powerboat race in Owensboro, KY where I helped in the pits during the weekend. It was a beautiful weekend with sunny skies and temps in the 90's.   Friend Jim Aid won all four of his heat races taking the championship trophy for 2.5 liter modified. Not bad for the first time out this year and with a newly rebuilt motor that had not seen water before we arrived on Friday, August 19th. In fact the first time in the water was the first heat on Saturday.  Here's a few shots of the action:

                                  APBA Powerboat races at Owensboro, KY August 19-21

And here's a view from the Pits:

                                            All boats have to be 'lifted' into the water.

                                           A beautiful motor- tuned perfectly!

                                           A few minutes to watch the other boats race.

                                            Jim Aid, receiving winners's flag and trophy.

So after a quick flight back , I have had a few days to drive the new 'N' car and watch the boys.

                                                          Digging for treasure!

And finally,  here's the new 'N' car with new Enkei TFR wheels and Continental Extreme Contact DWS 06 Plus tires.  See performance summary below:

      Here's the new tire and wheel set up.   18 X 8.5, / + 45mm Enkei TFR rims and 18 X 245mm 40 R Continental tires as mentioned above.  The result is a slightly softer ride due to the 40 R vs 35R sidewalls on the original 19 inch tires. Pay atention to tire pressure- my tires came installed with about 3 lbs more than recommended and by adjusting down those few pounds of pressure made a huge difference in the ride.  Note that the original Michelins were also overinflated about the same amount from the factory and I deflated them as well to spec and achieved a much better ride.  My guess is that the ambient temperature where they were installed in both cases was less than our scortching 90-95 degrees here in Florida.

How do the Conti's Perform?

I highly recommend these tires. And I like the 18 inch vs the 19 inch set up for daily driving. Before everyone goes crazy, yes the Michelins are better performing. The turn in and handling is more crisp due to the softer compound and the skinnier sidewalls, but unless you are tracking the car or driving like a maniac on the street, the Conti's are the right blend of performance and comfort. I can also attest to their ability to handle rain and even light snow as I had a set on my Civic Si last winter. And since I will be driving up to New York on occasion, the Conti's just work better for me overall.
As for the wheels, I love the clean look.  The factory wheels are just too busy for me, although they are unique.  Bonus!    The wheel and tire combination in just shy of 10 pounds per corner lighter, saving almost 40 pounds of unsprung weight.  That's a huge performance benefit!

Last comments- I did my usual 'custom' vinyl treatment I do on all my cars- Here you can see what I came up with.  The best thing is it can all be changed if I get tired of it and the cost for the vinyl was less than 30 bucks.  What do you think?

Stay tuned for more mods on the Elantra and the upcoming Civic Si.

For more see @wownowpics.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher
and author of "Echoes From The Glen"

Friday, July 29, 2022

Honda Civic Si and Elantra N Comparison

 In this corner... well it is not really a knock down, drag out boxing match, but in the automotive world these cars operate in the same space and compete for buyers.  This post will give you my impressions of each car based on real world experience as I have owned both.  My opinions are just that, my feelings about each after having the chance to drive them in everyday situations.

So here are the two contenders:  A 2022 Honda Civic Si

                      And a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N

   Fighter #1, the Honda Civic Si with a 1.5 liter Turbo 4 and Scrapper #2, a 2.0 liter Turbo 4. The Honda weighs about 200 pounds less but has 200 HP compared to the brawny Hyundai with the greater weight but more horsepower at 276 ponies.

The Si only comes in a manual and sports a 6 speed stick that's as good as my Porsche Boxster's and the N car has one of the slickest 8 speed, wet DCT's on the market. I thought the ZF 8 auto (not a DCT) in my Alfa Romeo Giulia was good- this is better.

All these numbers only tell a little part of the story. What matters is how do the cars drive? How do they feel?  This is where it is very subjective but I'll describe matters as best I can.

The Honda Si-  Looks - This is a great looking car, mature, simple, clean and a design that will age well over time. I get a lot of compliments at stop lights and even when at the grocery store. Of course the Blazing Orange Pearl paint and aftermarket wheels add to the looks IMO and others too.

Interior - This is where the car got rave reviews from many journalists when it came out. I agree to a point. The interior is spacious, you have great visibility forward and to the side, but after living with it for seven months the wow factor wore off for me. A couple of minor compliants are the armrest material that feels like burlap and poor visibility out the rear window with a massive hump in the middle for the center brake light. It really takes away from all the goodness of the forward visibility. There's a lot of hard plastics too so as Joe Raiti of Raiti's Rides would say, I'm giving it a few Zonks on the interior.  I must say the instrument cluster is one of the clearest and easiest to view and the Infotainment system is really nice. Very intuitive and easy to use with Apple Car Play.

Seat Comfort - I think seat comfort is one of the biggest factors that make you love or hate your car. Both of these cars excel in this area but I give the Si an 8 out of 10 here and the Elantra a 9 out of 10. Close but the Si is a little softer and less supportive and again the cloth material is good but not up to the materials used on the N car- more on that later.

 Handling and Steering -  The Honda is very nimble and reacts to steering inputs quite quickly but with the 40 ratio sidewalls, not as sharp as the Elantra. (I have Michelin PS 4S tires on it- same as the Elantra)  So this comparison should be apples to apples using the same tires, only the Civic's are 235/40R 18 while the Elantra's are 245/35R 19's.  The Civic turns in what feels like a lot smaller turning circle (I have not measured ) but the feel is of a smaller car even though they are almost the same wheelbase and the same in almost every other exterior dimension. You really notice it when pulling into a parking spot or doing a U turn.  The Honda rides stiff, but not rough. On smooth roads it is as smooth as my Honda Accord Sport. A very nice feeling ride. It helps that I'm in Florida and the ambient temperature is nearly 80-90 every day for the last several months. I have heard in cold weather this car can feel rough as there's no adaptive dampers. Honda has tuned this well- kind of a middle ground.

 Driving Fun Factor - Here's where comparing these cars is tricky. First, the Honda is a stick and the Hyundai is an automatic. The Honda has 76 less HP and there's 97 pound feet less torque. However both cars are FUN to drive for different reasons. The Honda is lighter, reacts well to downshifts and can be tossed around and in and out of traffic easily. All fun stuff. But there's little aural excitement, there's not much power and you barely hear the exhaust and it is slightly softer riding (not much) but enough to know it.

Overall Verdict on the Honda -  With it's far superior gas mileage (32 in town and 38 on the road that I observed for months), it's lower MSRP by about $6,000. compared to the Elantra with DCT it is a screaming deal for the money. It should satisfy 90% of those looking for a sport performace sedan. I enjoyed every minute of the car, but I traded it last week for contestant #2, the Elantra N.

The Elantra N - Looks-  Here's a point of debate by many- Overall I like the looks, especially as I get used to it. It is now not as alarming as when I first saw the front grill. I think the side and rear 3/4 view is agressive and tasteful.  The front grill is huge and the black mask look will either turn you off or you may say, that looks mean and aggressive. We shall see with buyers adding different wheels, stripes, aero kits and such to customize it but make no mistake you can't miss one of these when it is coming towards you. The snowflake wheels I can do without, leaning more towards the great wheels on the Civic Si.  ( I ordered a set of Enkei TSF's in Storm Gray today for the Elantra)

Interior - Here's where I disagree with almost every review I've seen on this car.  First of all it is a $35k purchase.  What do you expect to get?  In my opinion a lot nicer space to sit in versus the Civic Si. Sorry Honda fans but the plastics are just as hard and cheap in the Civic as they are in the Elantra and there's plenty of it. The cloth material in the Honda is just plain scratchy and cheap looking.  What's in the Hyundai- really nice door cards with Alcantara like material and the seats are far nicer looking than the red checkered cloth on the Civic. They even have the N badge light up at night on the Hyundai seats. The instrument panel comprised of two 10+ inch computer screens contain so much information you would have to have a co pilot to help read it all.  Everything you can think of is included in the menus.   Pilot training required!  But I like it. Anything you need is at your fingertips including on board telemetry like in a race car.  Fantastic!  Overall I rate the interior far superior to the Civic for these specific things. And visibility is quite good all around and the rear view is slightly better than in the Civic. So both cars rank a tie for visibility.

Seat Comfort - Totally subjective and subject to the size and shap of the driver, but for me at 6' 200 lbs, the Elantra seats are slightly better.  They fit me better, feel a tad more supportive and the seating position allows me to enter and exit the car easier. They are some of the most comfortable seats I've driven in.

Handling and Steering - Having only driven the car for 4 days it is a bit early to rate it but my immediate reaction is the car steers quicker than the Civic (35 aspect tires vs 40), is tight as a drum with all the chassis stiffening and the rear strut bar, yet it is amazingly adjustable.  From boulevard cruiser in normal mode to track ready tiger in N mode.  You get two different cars, a daily driver and a track champion for the weekends.  Not bad for $35k.  I would say the Civic would have been as good if they offered it with adaptive dampers like the previous gen Si.  Again, the Hyundai wins out with all the adaptabiliy.

Driving Fun Factor - There's not a contest here with the crazy options you can dial up on the dashboard for the N car. Just the sound of the exhaust alone is worth the price of admission. The dashboard feedback, the snappy acceleration, the handling, the seat of the pants feel when going through a turn. Oh is it good!   The only buzz kill is the average fuel economy compared to the Honda, but who cares. Horsepower costs money and that's why you buy this car.

Overall Verdict on the Hyundai - If you have a few thousand dollars more, the Hyundai is worth it. If your budget is tight the Honda will do just fine. It is a very good car. But if you want the best (even though it is slightly out of the Si's segment) the Elantra N is a fantastic buy for the money. And yes, there's things I miss about the Honda that the Elantra does not give me (Simple wireless Apple Car Play) but you can't have everything.

I want to give a shout out to Crown Hyundai of St. Petersburg, FL, They treated me fairly and did not play the mark up game many other dealers I talked to were doing. Jody Lindsey, my sales person is a car guy himself and we had many conversations about cars- not just how he could sell me a car, which is refreshing!  

Future Updates-  Look for future updates on the Elantra N and any mods I may do.  The first one is new aftermarket wheels ordered today.

See you all soon- Paul Ziegler, Publisher

                                                                    Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen and Michelin Pilot Challenge

 A huge crowd turned out for the Grid Walk prior to the race. Sunny skies and the sound of engines revving.  It's what the fans come for.  This post highlights photos from two of the racing events held the weekend of June 24-26.   The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen and the Michelin Pilot Sport Challenge.

                                                       The Famous Grid Walk

Here's the start of the Six Hours of the Glen:

       The DPI class is joined with LMP2 and LMP3 cars, followed by GT Daytona Pro and                             GT Daytona cars.

                                                               That's a lot of  race cars.                                                                              
                 And that produces some incidents like this with unlucky #13 in the LMP3 Class

                                  Luckily no injury to the driver of this Duqueine D08 VK

   And here's the winner of the DPI Class - the Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05. Driven by Ricky               Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque.

                                 The winner in DPI-  Acura ARX-05 of Wayne Taylor Racing

And one of my favorite series- the Michelin Pilot Challenge where cars you and I can drive compete:

There's plenty of action in the Grand Sport and Touring Car classes.  Cars like Ford Mustangs and Chevy Camaros go up against  Toyota Supras, Porsche Caymans, BMW M4's and Mercedes AMG GT4's and Aston MartinVantage GT4's in the Grand Sport class and in the Touring Car class there's always a titanic battle with the Hyundai Elantra N's, Honda Civic Type R, and Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Audi RS3's.    Here's just a few shows from that series:

              And the winner is:  #33 in the TCR class- Hyundai Elantra N driven by MarkWilkins 
                                      and former Indycar driver, Robert Wickins

                                Here's some other pictures from the Grand Sport class:

And with that, I'll wrap up by mentioning that Hyundai is bringing it to the old guard with their  Elantra N's.  They have been on a win streak this season and with a win here by Mark Wilkins and Robert Wickens, it shows Hyundai is a force not to be taken lightly in this class. 

More coming soon, and an announcement about the author's new ride.

Paul Ziegler, Publisher and author of "Echoes From The Glen"

Follow on Instagram @wownowpics


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Honda Teases The Type R - Fastest One Yet?

 Breaking news!  It appears the 11th gen/ 2023 Honda Civic Type R has broken the track record for a FWD car at the Nurburgring.   There's a very interesting video on YouTube by Downshift that explains it.  And it also unpacks the question, is it the most powerful Type R yet?

Watch the video below to find out!  Matt from downshift gives the full explanation.  But first, I will be traveling to Watkins Glen International Speedway next week to film the IMSA Six Hours of the Glen, and the Michelin Challenge TCR race.

Here's a fast Honda Civic:

                                    Taken at the 2021 Michelin Challenge TCR race at WGI

And here's the video we all are waiting for regarding the 2023 Civic Type R.  Did it break the lap record?

And to give you a preview of the action in the Six Hours of The Glen IMSA race here's a couple of shots I took last year.  This is the first turn, first lap of the race:

                            Stay tuned for the action coming June 24- 26 at Watkins Glen International

               Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

               Author of "Echoes From The Glen"   Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Track Day At The Firm With A Civic Si

                Excellent video from the folks who bring you two excellent magazines!

 I came across this video done by Grassroots Motorsports of a 2022 Civic Si as they ran it on a track called the FIRM in central Florida.  I don't track my car but I've been curious as to how it would do on a track.

Well, this video answered my curiosity. You will be surprised as to how well it does right out of the showroom, everything stock!  I like that they compared it to a previous gen Si they tracked there that had been slightly modified.  Which was the faster car?  Watch the video to find out.

On Track With A Civic Si           

Also here's two of my favorite cars in my favorite colors. They are from two different worlds, but they are equally fun to drive.  I previously owned a Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman and now drive a Civic Si. Although they are not in the same league, they both shift remarkably similar and the fun per mile meter reads the same on each!   Below is the Civic Type R .      From Instagram:

Thank you Grassroots Motorsports for a great video and I enjoy your magazine.  If you are not a subsrciber, try it and I also recommed Classic Motorsports magazine published by the same company, headquartered here in Florida.

                               And here's my Civic next to a friend from Tampa BayCafe' Racers.
                                                       What a coincidence- kind of nice.

I hope you enjoyed the video- and stay tuned as I will be heading to Watkins Glen International to photograph the Six Hours of The Glen IMSA race at the end of June.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher and author of "Echoes From The Glen".
                                                   Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sunday Drive and The Great EV Hoax

Who says that cars powered by fossil fuels cars can't be made efficient? Honda has done their magic on this quick and agile Civic- the new 11th Gen Civic Si.  With 200HP, a tuned suspension and amazing efficiency this is what is possible in a conventional ICE vehicle.

To test the thought you can have fun in a quick, fun petrol burner AND be kind to the environment I took my 2022 Civic Si for a run on back roads today including a stint on US 19 in Florida from Clearwater up to Homosassa. This is a torture test for fuel mileage because there are as many traffic lights on US 19 as there are  McDonald's. It was also hot, up to 90 degrees which can degrade fuel economy. In spite of that here's the proof of what is possible without buying an EV.

                                              After 187 miles - 43.8 MPG     92 Degrees

                                      Morning run- 70 degrees, 71 miles    47.5 MPG!

 Electric vehicles are all the rage these days. Most people, Democrat or Republican and others all support the idea that electric vehicles are the future of the automobile.  

Not so fast- please watch this video to see what the truth is about how cars are (or are not) the cause of global warming and climate change.  This video will make you think- at least I hope so.  There's no stopping the trend toward going all EV, but we need to be careful before jumping off the cliff and abandoning the internal combustion engine.

Get the facts before making false assumptions   Take a look at this: You may change your thinking.

EV's For All? Not So Fast

Here's a good alternative-  The Honda Civic Si.    You can't go wrong while having fun!

                                                Meet the fuel sipping champ!

                Brought you to by Paul Ziegler, Publisher, and author of

               "Echoes From The Glen".           Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Monday, April 25, 2022

What Do All These Cars Have In Common? Why?

 A car is not just a car and here's why.  As a member of Tampa Bay Cafe' Racers I'll explain below.

Many different cars with one thing in common.

                                          Mid-engine Porsche and a front wheel drive Honda!

Here is a collection of cars that like to be driven. They range from new to old and include Porsche, Honda, Alfa Romeo and BMW.  But what makes them all alike?   They all have a stick shift! You are not likely to see this many manual shift cars in a row anywhere except at a car enthusiast gathering.

This picture was taken on April 19th outside Mugs Sports Bar & Grill in Clearwater, FL as we were ready to grab lunch while talking cars. Our two currently active racers in the group were off racing somewhere in the country in various vintage racing series going on at this time of year.

That does not mean we just sit around. We do drive our cars and because we drive manuals, we rather be driving than sitting around eating lunch. So to prove that, here's a video taken the next day of a couple of us taking a ride on the Ozello Trail outside Crystal River, FL.  

This is one of the few winding roads in Florida with a bonus- A wonderful restaurant called Peck's waiting for you at the end with a magnificent water view.  Take a look:

Ozello Trail -57 Turns in 11 Miles      The Tail of The Gecko!

                                                    Lunch at Peck's - Crystal River Florida

I hope you enjoyed this springtime view of Florida. Stick shift cars and a curvy road. It doesn't get better than that!   I hope you will help save the manuals!  #savethemanuals

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher, and author of "Echoes From The Glen"

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Great Advertisement For The New Civic Si

 Here's a video review of the new Volkswagen GLI.  Take a look and see how many times Matt Maran compares the more expensive VW to the Honda.  I loved it.  Like a great commercial for buying the Honda Civic Si.   Check out the video below from Matt Maran Motoring!



Check out this video review of the VW GLI.  Count how many times they compare it to the Civic Si!

Matt Moran Motoring GLI Car Review        Check out this video praising the Honda Si!

Haha!-  Here's a comment from one of the viewers of this video:

I made videos about my Si and people kept telling me that I could have gotten this and that..and when I watch these reviews I just laugh. It was expensive in this market but it is just better than these cars and gets such good MPG’s, if the computer is accurate. Of course I’m talking about a tuned Si. With the Hondata carb tune the Si is almost perfect. The huge let down is the all season tires, they just plain suck if you drive the car hard because you will slide all over the place in corners. I still want the new type R but man the Si is just that good and watching the WRX and WV reviews keeps proving that to me.

And here's a road test of the Si by Car & Driver.  It is very well done and summarizes why it is such a good value for the money.

Car & Driver Driving Impressions of the Si

                 Blazing Orange Pearl Si with Aodhan wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires

And here are some new pictures taken on a spring day here in Florida:

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Wheels, Wheels and More Wheels Civic Si

 Here's a short review of the wheels for my new, 2022 Honda Civic Si.   I start with the factory Honda wheels.  They are pretty nice but a bit on the heavy side.  Take a look:


                                                              A bit heavy at 51.4 pounds!

Then we have the Enkei wheels with Continental DWS 06 Plus  set:

                                                    My favorite view of these wheels!
                                                       Nice and light at 43.6 pounds!

      Then we have the Aodhan silver wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tire package.

                                                                Not bad at 46.2 pounds

    Finally, I'm down to two sets of tires and wheels- the silver Aodhan/ Michelin Summer Only tires seen here and the factory wheels with the Continental DWS 06 Plus All Season tires.

I really like the Michelins and will let you know how the Continentals work on the factory rims after I have had a chance to install and drive on them. The Enkei rims and Goodyear tires have been sold..

Spring is coming - time to get out and drive!  

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher
Follow on Instagram @wownowpics.