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My dad owns this car, and i have driven it many times (without him knowing). Every time i have i have loved it. The engine is mighty powerful and when you put your foot down, you feel it go.
Our version is a leather interior, which is extremely comfortable, and you wont get a bad back whenever you take this on a long journey.
The car is filled with tonnes of fancy gadgets such as seat warmers, and a fancy radio system. The dashboard lights up when the ignition goes in, and you get a nice display of the speedo and other dials.
I find that the gearstick is in a great place, higher than most cars, and gives it an almost racing style edge. I love driving this car, and am even saving up at the moment to buy my own. The insurance is also not too expensive for younger drivers, though it does depend on which model you get.
The only letdown that i can think of about this car, is that the boot is on the small side. Still enough to get a reasonable amount of luggage into, but maybe not big enough for a family of 4 to travel in.
There are versions with larger engines, and direct injection. Also different models feature aspects like cruise control, front fog lights etc.
Id recommend this car to most people. It is smart, classy, and fast, and makes the perfect partner to anyone in love with driving.
I bought a 2003 Honda Civic 1.4 S 3dr back in June from a car supermarket in London. My car is an Inspire-S special edition, which adds aircon and alloys to the standard S spec.
I had been looking at other similar cars such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but in my opinion the Civic is faster and better specified than the equivalent Golf, and is better built than the Focus.
This car gives excellent performance for its engine size, and rarely feels short of power in day-to-day driving. As expected from Honda, the engine is very smooth and the gearchange is excellent. The unusual positioning of the gearstick (it sprouts out from the dashboard) always draws comment, but it becomes very natural after a short time. Only the low gearing (70mph = 3400rpm) spoils things at motorway speeds, as the engine drones away under the bonnet.
Fuel economy is good, with 45mpg easily achievable on a long run. The car's low CO2 emissions mean that road tax is cheap as well - mine cost only £105 for 12 months. Insurance is also very cheap (group 4, which is lower than my old Fiesta 1.2)
Build quality feels excellent - mine is two years old and still feels like new. The only disappointment is the thin paint which seems easily scratched (like many other small "Japanese" cars).
Space in the back is OK, but you should go for the five door if you need to carry rear seat passengers regularly. Space in the front is excellent, but annoyingly the front seats don't return to their original position when folded forward to allow access to the rear seats. There is also loads of storage space in the front thanks to the space freed up by the repositioning of the gearstick. The aircon is very effective, which is just as well, as the Civic has a large glass area and gets very hot when left in the sun.
The standard-fit radio/CD player is reasonable, but access to the back of it is a bugger if you want to upgrade. There are only four speakers, and the sound is OK, but other cars in this class (Focus, Golf etc) offer steering wheel-mounted remote controls and six speakers. I am trying to add a CD changer to my car at the moment, but am not getting much help from the Honda dealers.
In fact, the dealers have been pretty poor in general. I took the car for its 2yr/25000mile service a month ago, and was hit for a bill of £300! This was for the service work and consumables only - no other work was done. This seems very expensive for a car of this type, and pretty much negates the savings made on fuel and road tax.
Dealer service aside, I like this car very much. The car offers excellent performance and economy, along with bulletproof reliability. It also stands out from the Focus/Astra/Golf herd, which can only be a good thing.