The FD1 Review - Civinfo
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 24th March 2014, 12:19 Thread Starter
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The FD1 Review

Well, here are the initial impressions on my 2010 FD1, after 10 days of ownership and the first kms made together.

Please note that this is a fully personal view; I am just a car owner and not a journalist. Also, please note that English is not my native language, so please excuse any mistakes.

First, looks. I like it a lot. It is not OTT, it has subtle sporty character and nice flowing lines. Definitely a tick on my list.

The inside is a bit downgraded. There is black almost everywhere. OK, this is not the worst thing in the world, but Honda could do with a bit more colour, especially if we consider that the rest of the market have made interior design a form of art. Also, the plastic bits seem a bit cheap, although everything seems well put together and until now there are no noises from loose joints.

The seats are comfortable and with a plethora of seating options, so one can find the position that he's looking for pretty easy. Unfortunately, me that wants the sportiest position possible, should do with the steering wheel a bit lower than I would really like, because the upper half of the 'wheel blocks the upper half of the displays (tachometer, water temp. and fuel level) as well as the lower display bar (i.e. consumption meter etc). Also, general design of the front seats is made towards comfort rather than body constraint when cornering, so in esses or sharp corners, one is hauled from one end of the seat to the other. I guess I should put on some weight . I should not complain about the seating position though, my other car is a Suzuki Swift Sport and the seating position is much worse (appart from the body constraint, this is superb).

Continuing in the inside, there is enough room for pretty much everybody; yesterday we made a small trip four grown-ups and a toddler on a appropriate seat and nobody complained about the available space. Also, there are plenty compartments for about everything. Boot size (410lt) is cavernous for my standards.

Off to the most interesting stuff. The engine (R18A) is super and the PHE4 gearbox the best to compliment it. The gear ratios are as close together as they should be so as the R18A is able to easily move the 1200kg (plus the weight of passengers, plus fuel etc) of the vehicle. I really like the eco-shift light, it's fun. It would be really cool if we could switch it to sport mode. The gear lever is punctual, very well positioned and the gear change movements very short. Also, the clutch is punctual, minimal movement needed for engagement and the pedal feels exactly right.

Now, steering. The steering wheel is a bit thin for my taste, I could do with a more firm grip for more sportier feeling. But, this is not to blame for the lack of feeling. The electronic steering rack provides minimal information on what the wheels out front are doing. Yes, steering is light and so even my 1.5 year old daughter can handle it in city limits, but I would really like it to be a bit more informative. Still, if we disregard this, steering is sharp and all the needed orders are passed to the wheels lightning-fast.

Due to the latter, the FD1 changes direction pretty fast. This is also helped by the other great asset of the car, the suspension. Multilink on the back, great success. One can feel the chassis handle its weight with great ease. No, the suspension is not "magic carpet" type (like a Mercedes for instance) and on worn tarmac some bumps are transcended in the cabin, but the weight is controlled superbly, body roll is not excessive and the FD1 can be handled with ease. Of course, the basic set up is understeer-y (for safety reasons) and if pushed the FD1 will warn the driver with a slight slip of the front end, but this is very easily controlled, sometimes all that is needed is a bit more imput from the 'wheel. I haven't yet turned VSA off, but even with it on, the FD1 can be positioned before the apex very easily, thanks to the accurate steering and the balanced suspension. I guess that with even sportier rubber (mine has 215/55-16 Dunlop SP Fastresponse on) and maybe 17-inch wheels, everything will be even more sharper and the FD1 could become even more sporty, albeit worsening comfort.

The brakes are good. I would really like the brake pedal to be perfectly aligned with the gas pedal (it feels positioned a bit more on the outside) but it provides positive feeling. The performance of the brakes is good, but I would really like a bit more information and initial bite. As yet, I have not tested their endurance.

In general, it feels like a much smaller and lighter car and this is a huge credit to Honda. Don't get me wrong, on the highway it is as firm as it should be (the steering also becomes more heavy, although the added weight feels more artificial than natural) and it travels like the family sedan it really is. But in city limits and on the B-Road, it really feels light and energetic. Yes, everything feels a bit soft but this is something that one must expect, this is not a sport model. It is a car with great potential and it can be a great all-rounder.

Until now, I haven't measured fuel consumption.

My FD1 is the ES trim in Greece, i.e. MT 6 speed R18A powered, with HID lights, headlight washers, fog lights, 6 disc CD changer, dual zone air con, 16" alloys, cruise control and maybe some other stuff I don't remember now.

Last edited by MTi; 24th March 2014 at 12:32.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 2nd April 2014, 16:57 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MTi View Post
The brakes are good. I would really like the brake pedal to be perfectly aligned with the gas pedal (it feels positioned a bit more on the outside) but it provides positive feeling. The performance of the brakes is good, but I would really like a bit more information and initial bite. As yet, I have not tested their endurance.
This weekend we had a blast together, following the Acropolis Rally in Saturday and this resulted in a big proportion of spirited cornering.

The latter had its toll on brakes. Apparently the discs have been crooked now. The pads are OK and I did not feel any impact on their performance, despite the smell from overheating.

So, brake wear and fade is generally OK, although I was really disappointed in the discs been crooked and the pads smelling pretty easily.

This means that the first to be changed/modified are brakes.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 22nd August 2014, 12:21 Thread Starter
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Long time no update, but after 20+ days of everyday driving during summer vacation with the FD1 it is time for a recap.

The aforementioned problem with the brakes (crooked discs etc) was fixed. The crooked surface of the discs was smoothed and the Honda pads were changed to Ferodo Premier. I would like to have a sportier set of pads to be honest, but it seems that there are no such options available. Also, the brake fluid was thoroughly changed and then we realized that it hadn't been changed at all during the previous ownership of the car; apparently they just kept filling with fresh brake fluid the bottle at the engine bay, without never draining the system. Well done official dealership service. The new brake fluid is ATE Dot 4 and as a result the brake pedal regained feeling.

Now, with fresh brakes (although not the original Honda pads) my impressions on the brakes are complete. Brake feel is OK. Not superb, just OK. I know that the Premier pads are much to blame for this, so I would really like to change them for something better in the future, should I find something suitable of course. Still, the car feels a bit poor on brakes. Don't get me wrong, the stopping power is good and for pure commuting and touring the brakes are enough but for anything more than this (i.e. a bit of pleasure cornering) the first that pops in my mind is that the brakes need improvement.

The steering still feels light and non-informative. Although with the everyday driving I got used to it, there are times that I would really like more information on what's going on down there. But boy it IS sharp. The car feels half its actual weight. Maybe that's the case why the steering is so light, they decided that it's better to have more assistance than feeling. It's called a CIVIC after all.

The same goes for the handling. The car obviously was made to be safer than sporty. The initial comments found on the first post do stand. I would prefer less body roll and the tail being a bit more responsive at the beginning of the corner. It is that sluggishness when you first turn the wheel that puts you a bit off because other than that, the car handles superbly. On fast flowing sections it is remarkable. On closer sections, the fast steering and the well-tuned VSA do their part but I would really like the back end to be more eager to move along. On the other hand, the car is really comfortable, there are no concerns about comfort whatsoever.

The combination of Engine and Transmission is just fantastic. We were ascending narrow mountainous roads with full vacation load and A/C on with fourth gear with no issues whatsoever. It just feels that you are rarely out of power. And whenever you want to overtake, it reminds you that you are driving a NA Honda engine; hopefully you get what I mean. And consumption wise, on the A Road, with A/C on all the time and 120 km/h on the CruiseControl, 5.8l/100km came fairly easy. Overall consumption of almost 2000km of vacation driving including pretty much everything except from driving whithin city limits, is 6.5l/100km of 95ron gas. Not bad for a 1200kg 1.8 NA engined saloon.

Finally, the available storage size saved me from yelling to my spouse. For 20+ days of vacation to three different locations we had to pack almost the half of our household. The trusty Civic had space for everything, even for some extras of last minute packing. No extra storage pod was needed.

Overall, it is a great family saloon, very good to live with. I thought it would be a bit sportier that it really is. If it would be my primary drive, I would change a thing or two to that direction, always keeping in mind that I would hate to worsen comfort. Should that be the case, the areas I would improve are:

- Brakes. Hopefully I'll find better pads to install. If there is no luck with that, maybe the Honda pads with better rotors. If still this is not possible, then I'll have to consider bigger brakes, although this is a highly expensive choice and I'd rather keep the 16" wheels.

- Anti-roll bars. They will reduce body roll and a bigger anti-roll bar on the back will also make the rear end more responsive without worsening comfort.

- Wheels. This is a bonus option, maybe in an effort to put more life to the steering feeling. I'm talking about a switch from 16" to 17". But this is not only expensive, it will surely worsen comfort. Still, if I did that, I would have room for bigger brakes. Decisions, decisions...

That's all for now. What's coming next for the FD1 is a pre-winter service, thorough cleaning with pre-winter detailing and some minor mods, just to keep our relationship warm.

Comments and suggestions always welcome!!!
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