The Honda Civic by its own nature has a name in the market.
A car with a beautiful motor sound, strong and that never let you down when you try to take over.
What do we want in a car? Comfort, strangeness, a good design and specially some little threats as Honda is so good in delivering to their customers!
It's a perfectly good car, but if you really care about economy and emissions, you'll buy the 67.3mpg, 110g/km diesel, and if you want to minimise costs, you'll buy the 100bhp 1.4 and put up with a 0-62mph of 13.4secs.
So where does that leave the 1.8? It should be keeping the Type R hordes warmed up in readiness, but its naturally aspirated 140bhp doesn't give it enough punch, particularly since it's been saddled with long gearing. It doesn't weigh much, so it should dash through third but doesn't. There's no zip.
Still, it's a pleasant engine to use. So quiet at idle it's hard to tell if the start/stop has kicked in, and it's mated to a delightfully slick clutch and gearbox, so mooching around town requires no effort at all. It may rev to 6,800rpm, but it's at its most polished at the bottom end. Very un-Honda.
It's clearly worked hard on the ride and refinement, and although you get most of the chatter from the suspension rather than the steering, the results are pretty impressive. I thought I'd have one over a Ford Focus - until I saw the price. Yikes. Cheaper trim levels are available.
Had the choice of Audi or this. Chose the Honda and have never regretted it. Lovely drive. I love the dashboard. I feel like I am driving sitting in an armchair as it is so comfortable. Would I but another you bet. Boot space is excellent and back door open wide enough to get disability equipment in. Ace car. Economical and excellent visibility despite no back windscreen wiper. Speedometer a great benefit as fully aware of speed you are cruising. Not a cheap buy but well worth every penny. Excellent after sales service never had an issue even wit small problems that were ironed out Personally and quickly. The Honda is probably the best car I have ever purchased and would not hesitate to recommend this great car. Did I make the choice over the Audio you bet every time. Best decision ever made when purchasing a car. Superb family car especially with someone who has mobility issues.
The Honda Civic is one of those iconic cars that has been a familar sight on British roads for many years and for good reason as Honda has consistently made fantastically built and designed cars. The new shape Civic is no exception, while the new space age style shape may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is hard to deny the build quality instantly apparent.
Compared to the previous EP shape Civic the ride comfort is somewhat more refined, however this is at the expense of some of the more sporting pretenses that has made all Civics so appealing. On this note, the new iVTEC engine is a definite step on from the predecessor and is less highly strung and more drivable. The design of the interior has great features such as a folding bench rear seats for easy stowage of bicycles, however the new dashboard layout with the faux head up display may not be to everyone's taste. The rear light bar does foul the visibility out of the rear, which does seem a strange oversight for a car maker as experienced and customer focused as Honda.
My fairly brief ownership of 6 months was headache free in terms of reliability, this was not a suprise as my previous car Civic Sport (EP2) never missed a beat. Other day to day running was excellent, considering the weight of my right foot at times it managed better economy than my EP2! The dealer support was superb, however I must add that I wasn't it need of a great deal. The example I owned was less than a year old and had been well cared for, the oil had been religously checked, an absolute must for the longevity of a VTEC based car! I was certainly sorry to see it go for my sportier number (Clio 197 Cup) in many ways, particularly the more frugal engine!
In summary this more of an evolution of the Civic brand in a new direction and subsequently a worthy car of the badge, provided you can get past the 'space age' look!
I was looking for a new car in November 2008 and had a shortlist of about 6 cars in this size range, none of which were the Civic. By sheer chance, I happened to pass a Honda concessionary, so thought I may as well have a look and see what it was like. Thank god I did!
From the moment I sat in the car I knew that it was the one I wanted, and this feeling was 100% confirmed when I took it for a test drive. Having owned it for over a year and a half I have absolutely no regrets.
Everything has been carefully thought out and clearly designed with loving care and incredible attention to detail, not your standard run of the mill plasticky badly though out and positioned buttons you find in most cars. It made the interiors of the rival I looked at all seem incredibly dated.
The dashboard, switches, buttons etc are in perfect ergonomic positions, very easy to use, very easy to understand. The display is a pleasure to look at, the digital numerical speed indicator is raised higher then the body of the dashboard, making it easy to see without looking away from the road. The rev meter looks lovely with a blue glow around it and is very easy to read, as are the temperature and petrol gauges.
The best looking button is the START ENGINE button, a beautifully designed red orb set in silver. It just asks to be pressed and makes the simple process of turning on the car feel just a little bit special. It's quite strange but when I happen to drive other cars with the standard turn-the-key-to-start system, I really find myself missing the START button.
Before purchasing the car I read a few reviews of people complaining that at night the dashboard reflected in the windscreen. Certainly this is true if you have the dashboard lighting set to FULL, but you can dim the dashboard lighting level through a series of gradual steps and I for one can no longer see any reflection in the windscreen. The dashboard illumination also dims automatically if the headlights are on.
If I have one criticism of the dashboard, is that the sweeping surface over the dials can sometimes reflect the sun if it is in a particular position, and you have to be very careful when cleaning the surface you can cause small micro-scratches quite easily.
The Auto windscreen wiper setting functions very well, so they start automatically when it starts raining. You can adjust the speed of wipers in auto mode, but the adjustment can be a bit variable as it depends on the speed of the car and how much it is raining. The ambient light sensor, which automatically turns the headlights on when it gets darker, or you enter a tunnel, works perfectly. I don't think I've ever had to manually turn the lights on myself.
The leather clad steering wheel is very comfortable to hold for prolonged periods of time with excellently positioned buttons for the stereo and cruise control.
The radio/CD is totally integrated into the dashboard, and it's been done very well indeed. All buttons (again well designed and placed) are easy to use without taking eyes of the road, and the display is set higher up on the dashboard, again improving safety. The CD player will play MP3 discs, with is good because there is no easy way to attach any sort of auxiliary input into the radio unless you take the dashboard apart. If you want to physically connect your iPod (rather than use one of those iPod radio transmitters), you will need to purchase a special iPod kit addition, which costs far more than the iPod does! This was a little disappointing to me as iPod connection are becoming more of a standard, though I believe that the revised model of the Civic does now USB connection port. The sound from the stereo/speakers has very good clarity, but for me lacks good bass response.
The seats are fully adjustable and shaped to give good support when cornering. And finally I have found a car whose headrest seems to be in the perfect position, not too far back so your head never reaches it, or too far forward so you head is permanently bent over.
There are multiple storage units for both passenger and drive, nice and spacious and the glove box in font of the passenger is extremely spacious. You can also pipe in the air conditioning into the glove box to keep drinks chilled.
On drawback of the CD storage unit under the radio is that it is only large enough to store CDs without their cases. SO unless you want scratched CDs, it's better to store them in the centre compartment between the driver and passenger.
The rear passenger area is comfortable and spacious. The seats are very cleverly designed and can fold up, meaning you can stand a bike upright in the passenger area, as well as folding down flat. Folding the seats takes only a few seconds. The boot is like some sort of tardis. It's huge, far larger than any of it's competitors, plus it has a wide opening and the rear meaning it's much easier to get large bulky objects in and out.
There is also a "hidden compartment" in the boot where you can put a spare tyre, or use to store other items. The car doesn't come with a spare tyre, but instead with a special tyre sealing kit which you connect to a flat tyre and it pumps it up again whilst sealing the leak. This is only meant as a temporary measure until you can replace the tyre. As I haven't used it I can't comment on how effective it is.
In this respect the Civic is a bit like marmite! People either love it or hate it. It has to be remembered that this design was first launched in 2006, and was quite a breakthrough for Honda and way ahead of its rivals. I think that now those rivals are starting to catch up, but even though the design is still 4 years old, it still looks very fresh and a little bit special.
The door handles are anything but ordinary, like something off a 1950's rocket ship design from flash Gordon. The read door handles are recessed into the window frames, and many friends haven't even realised that it is actually a four door car as a result!
The best aspect is the side profile. It looks very sporty, very chic. The head on view is OK, but the TYPE S and TYPE R fronts look better. The rear of the car is a little disappointing in comparison, but I'll excuse that for the great boot access and boot space. I do however like the triangular twin exhaust pipe exits. Exhausts are generally pretty ugly things to look at, and tend to look like they're just been slung onto the car at the end with little thought, but here it is obvious that time has been spent to come up with something that looks good and an actual feature of the car.
Many people complain about the rear spoiler, which splits the rear window. It is true that is does cut out some visibility of the road and makes parking more difficult. However it does have the advantage of semi-covering up the lights of cars behind you at night, making night driving more comfortable on the eyes. Despite the claims that no rear wiper is needed, rain water does only clear at higher speeds, and if the rear window is dusty you'll need to wipe it clean manually.
The difficulty with parking is somewhat overcome with good sized wing mirrors, which look great and give very good visibility to the rear.
This car is pretty quick for its size. The clever people at Honda have fitted a 1.8 litre engine, which gives out about 140bhp. According to them , its got the performance of a 2 litre engine, with the economy of a 1.6 litre. I for one can't fault them on this statement. The car is lively, with its main torque region around the 3500-4000 rev mark. Go up through the gears at this range and the car absolutely flies. It still has more than adequate performance at the lower rev ranges, so changing gear around 2000-2500 (better driving practice and more economic) is comfortable and controlled.
With the aid of the on-board fuel consumption computer (the display of which sits in the middle of the rev counter), this car can be very fuel efficient indeed for its engine size. There is also a second reminder of how economically you're driving with a series of lights next to the speedometer. I have certainly changed my driving style (for the better) as a result of using these. They should be on every car made.
Fuel efficiency is also helped y the fact its got six gears rather than the standard five. This means better acceleration at low speeds and improved fuel efficiency at high speeds. I now always find myself searching for sixth gear in hire cars and always disappointed that its not there. The gear lever is very comfortable and very smooth when changing, its actually a pleasure to change gear in this car.
Another thing I soon noticed is that this is a very comfortable and easy car to drive. On longer journeys I did not find myself getting as tired as I used to in my previous car (though this doesn't mean you shouldn't stop for regular breaks!) and the driving position meant I wasn't getting a stiff back anymore. Maybe this is also due the fact that this is a fun car to drive, it doesn't seem like an effort, more of a pleasure.
The ride can be slightly stiff on bumpy roads, but that is the trade-off for better performance and comfort when on a-roads and motorways.
The only bugbears I have with the civic in terms of driving is that it is very difficult to judge where the front is when parking and the turning circle of the car. I was used to a car with a much longer bonnet, which I could see the end of. The front of the Civic is deceptively short, thanks to the incredible engineering of the Honda people in fitting the engine in, so I often end up parking a fair bit short of where I should be. The cars wheelbase also appears to be deceptively larger, so for me, its turning circle is a wider than I would expect, though this may also be due to the fact that as I'm not sure where the bonnet ends, so I'm being over cautious.
Love it. Love it so much I hate having to drive hire cars now, they just seem so dated, so badly thought out in comparison. The Civic is a sporty little number, packs a lot of punch, has the best designed interior I've come across and you can see that attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of the car. There are of course a few little gripes, but these are easily forgotten by the joy obtained from driving this car. Plus, it's a Honda, so it's extremely well-built and exceptionally reliable. The slightly higher cost will soon be repaid because it's much less likely to need repairs than it major competitors. And don't forget it's got a shiny red START button. Driving is fun again.
Car makers want young people owning & driving their products but for some it's easier said than done. In America Honda is the favoured brand for the young people, but in Europe it's seen as a conservative brand that appeals to older people.
There have been Honda Civic models in the UK since 1972 & they have built up a great reputation over the years for being well engineered vehicles that are ultra reliable & very fuel efficient. However that's not enough for Honda, a couple of years ago when they introduced the new Honda Civic model to Europe, they made no excuses for targeting the young buyer.
The new model which I had for a few days recently on hire was a 1800cc model & although looks is a subjective matter I have to say in general I found the new Civic a tad ugly. It looks good from a side profile & I could grow to like its front end but the rear looks like a real botch up.
I do like Honda's products & would never judge a car just based on looks, but as I walked around it on my first acquaintance I just couldn't warm to it. From the side it looks like a two door coupe as you only see the front door handle, however it's a four door with the rear door handle concealed on the upper section of the rear door. Under the front bumper the plastic grille looks so tacky compared to the rest of the car, almost like an afterthought.
But it's the rear that does it for me, a split rear window with a bar featuring a high level brake light separate the two windows & it causes a blind spot inside. There is no rear wiper, Honda says it's not needed but in reality the lower window gets dirty very quickly & creates a blind spot. The high mounted rear lights look so 1980ish & once again the lower bumper trims look so plasticky with 'boy racer' looking triangle shaped exhaust pipes.
The designers must have got a free hand at the interior, as once you get inside it looks like something that wouldn't look out of place on a Space Shuttle. The dash features two semi circular sections, the front one below the windscreen features a digital speedometer & radio display. The one closer to the driver features the rev counter, water temperature gauge, fuel gauge & multi information centre.
You look above the steering wheel at the speedo & below the steering wheel at the remainder of the dials. At first it looks unusual & off putting but once you drive off you soon get used to it. The multi info display gives the driver your fuel consumption, driving time, miles until you run out of fuel, which passengers have their seat belt on, outside temperature including a frost alert & mileage.
At first glance the switch gear is a mess, around the inner section are round controls for the automatic heater/air conditioning & various switches. Some switches you turn on & off, some you press & some that pop out & turn!
There are conventional stalks for lights & wipers & around six separate switches on the steering wheel for the radio & info system. Added to that you have a further eight switch on the drivers door for electric windows, mirrors & central locking & a rather complicated looking radio/CD. You really need to consult the handbook before you drive off & its little wonder it's over a centimetre thick!
Despite all that the interior looks very stylish & the materials used are of decent quality. The centre console features two decent sized bottle/cup holders that doubles up as a cubby box with a sliding lid with or without the ash tray & also featured is a rather large lined box with a comfy armrest.
The seats are very comfortable with a good range of adjustments available, the steering column also adjusts but it is a compromise due to the two separate dials being displayed above & below the steering wheel rim.
For such a high tech looking car it comes with such a low tech looking key, it looks like a conventional key with two buttons to lock or unlock the car.
However to start the car you need to insert the key in the conventional steering lock & switch on the ignition, the key doesn't start the car. Once the ignition is on, you press the red start button next to it to fire it up, it looks pretty cool & was a feature many years ago on old cars, why don't they just do away with the key altogether like some Toyota models & just use the starter button?.
ON THE ROAD
The new Civic has a six speed gearbox bolted onto a four cylinder 1800cc engine which at first when I drove off I honestly thought was a bigger engine model. It was incredibly quick during the few days I drove it & according to the information display returned me 44.05mpg, most of this driving was on Irish motorways & city driving in Belfast. Remarkable!
Unlike other Hondas I have driven the engine noise was a little gruff at low speeds but quietened down at higher speeds. It just wasn't as silky smooth as they normally are.
The gear change was ultra smooth & slick in typical Japanese fashion, there is no gear lever rubber gaiter, the lever looks like it attached to a ball, it looks quite smart & very effective.
Are six gears really necessary on a car of this size? Well if it contributes to the excellent fuel consumption I have to say yes, sitting at 70mph there was a 600rpm difference between fifth gear & six gear positions. It takes a little time to get used to it but one neat feature is when you come out of fifth or sixth gear the lever springs to the third & four gear position, just where you want it to be.
Steering was power assisted a touch too light for me, I would have preferred something with a little more feel but the wheel is of a rather smart design & felt just right in your hands.
The ride is smooth & the handling safe & secure, brakes were very effective & all the pedals were laid out perfectly with a foot rest next to the clutch pedal.
Inside the new Civic there is ample space for five passengers & a reasonable amount of room for odds & ends, I counted 10 separate areas for storing items including the glove box & door pockets on all four doors.
Honda do not supply a spare wheel, what you do gain from not having the wheel is an area below the boot floor that would normally store the wheel all carpeted & handy for hiding items out of sight.
In customary Honda fashion, most items had a quality feel to them such as interior & exterior trims items. Some of the dash plastics were of hard material but at least they felt well made & there was no evidence of creaks squeaks & rattles.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Some nice touches include small lights on the sun visors next to the mirrors, handy for checking your mascara in the dark! (Thankfully it was OK!).
The speedo can be changed from mph to kph at the touch of a button on the move. A series of green lights next to the speedo display advises you on economically driving & a split door mirror glass on the driver's side to expose the blind spot when someone overtakes you.
A few, the major one is parking the Civic, due to its wedge shape its impossible to lean forward in the drivers seat & see the front end of the car for parking. There is large blind spot on the rear quarter panels & that split rear window isn't as appealing as it first looks when reversing. Honda did not fit reverse sensors to this particular model & if one car ever needs them it is the new Civic. If you lift up the front head rests from their lower position you create another blind spot when reversing. If you are considering buying one of these cars take time out to park it first & see how you get on.
As you enter the car on the driver's side the corner edge of the dash is well within range of coming in contact with your knees, so look out! The reflection from one of the dials at night on the windscreen is a bit distracting & front wiper switch has an adjustable intermittent feature but one of the settings keeps it on constantly confusing the driver into knowing what position the wipers are in.
Despite Honda's claims, the car does need a rear wiper although it may look a bit odd with the split rear window design.
I still don't like the new Civics' looks but it's selling like hot cakes so what do I know! Despite that the new Civic is a classy little car, fast, economical & well equipped, something different in a market full of clones. Although reliability on this particular model hasn't been up to the usual Honda standards of late, I would still recommend it if you can accept its quirky looks.
I had the Honda Civic 1.8 SE as my company car for nearly a year and when I left my job I had to give the car up which I was pretty gutted about as I really liked this car.
To start with I think this car looks amazing it is a very futuristic looking car. The style of the boot means that the boot space available is simply massive. I in fact drove me and 4 friends home from Reading music festival last year and we all had a tent each and camping equipment. The amount we crammed in was huge, this car really is a tardis.
The performance and fuel economy of this car is also very good. I took this car to Germany and it was more than capable of cruising on the autobahn with for people in the car at 120mph and it was also good at pulling away at junctions.
The handling of the car is nice and I was never left without grip even in wet conditions. The VSA is also very handy.
The features this car has included are great. The sat nav is very easy to use although trying to use it with voice control is just impossible. The Bluetooth hands free kit was just a God send & the voice activation for that was actually pretty accurate. The CD player allows MP3 discs which was really useful and the display would give full track and artist listings. For some reason though a AUX out was not included.
On the down side the panel by the window seemed to move as the window was open and shut but it was never lose so not sure why it did this. Also as I said the voice control for the sat nav, radio and aircon is just pathetic and really is imposable to use as it never understands you. It is much easier to just use the buttons!!
I bought this car from new in September 2006, and in the main it's proved to be a really good buy.
I wasn't sure about Civics when my friend first suggested I consider them, but as soon as I saw the new model I fell in love! The car looks very different to most other cars on the road, although it has proved very popular since it's introduction to the market in January 2006.
The interior of the car feels quite futuristic, with an electronic dashboard which is angled for the driver's comfort; this model provides lots of data which can be scrolled through by using switches mounted on the steering wheel (as well as being able to control the stereo from here), such as average speed, time travelled, distance until re-fuelling is required, as well as the usual mileage statistics. The only downside to the design of the dashboard is that the highly visible digital speedometer does encourage some back-seat driving from passengers who are so inclined! I can't provide any technical information such as BHP - I'm really not that way inclined, but the official Honda website does provide all of this information.
The car itself provides a really smooth, quiet drive, although you can hear the engine responding to acceleration which I gather some people find quite important! This model of car is amazingly quick & responsive too; it's really entertaining to drive.
Other features of the car which I love are the rear seats - these fold flat down giving you masses of space in the back on top of the already large boot, or they flip up & secure like cinema seats - apparently you can fit two full-size mountain bikes in the back using this arrangement. The seats are also really comfortable, with adequate airbags (although luckily I've never had to test these out!).
One negative of the design of the car is the split rear windscreen, with a spoiler positioned exactly in the average person's eyeline, and also the fact that there is no rear wiper - Honda claim that the windscreen is ergonomically designed not to require one as moisture clears itself - believe me you have to reach some significant speed for this to happen which obviously is illegal on suburban roads.
There have been a few teething problems which I've experienced over the last two years; the three most memorable being an ongoing problem with the petrol cap release not functioning when I first bought the car - I would often get caught at garages intending to fill up the petrol tank, however the release handle situated near the pedals would not unlock the cap, no matter how hard I tried. This would often be very frustrating & embarrassing, and resulted in me taking the car back to the garage five times for replacement parts before the right part was fitted. I've also lost the seal of the windscreen twice (once travelling quite fast on the A1), but was assured this would not mean the windscreen would fly out - thank goodness for that! I've also had to take the car back to the dealer after receiving a call back to get the hand-brake replaced as apparently this is a common fault, but otherwise I think it's just been a case of ironing out any niggles you half-expect when you buy a new design of car.
The tax banding for this car is currently £145 per year, quite low considering the size of engine due to its relatively low CO2 emissions.
All in all, I'm really pleased with my choice, and am hoping in years to come the car will have held its value quite well, being a reliable Honda. In the mean time I'm sure I've got many happy years of driving ahead of me!