Hi everyone. After having initially registered to Civ Info back in Aug 2006 I picked my then new 1.8 EX i-shift and merrily toodled off into the sunset. Having spent the last 18 months living/loving and loathing various good, bad and ugly parts of my driving experience I'd like to share some opinions and see what others think - especially concerning the i-shift.
With one major exception (the i-shift) I generally like the car - a lot. I still look at it and get pumped by just how exciting the styling is. It isn't the fastest car, but I have found that if you really stick your foot down and keep it there you can get her to move somewhat faster than most other cars on the road (within the same kind of price range).
But before we get too gushy let me unburden my two biggest gripes - the difficulty in parking and the inconsistent (not to mention sometimes downright dangerous) i-shift operation.
The parking is really down to me - I bought the car palpably being able to see that I couldn't see! As with the i-shift, I just thought it would be something I would get used to, but even with parking sensors I am suprised at just how little can be seen out the back. Coupled with the lack of a rear windscreen wiper it must be close to being deemed illegal in that vision is severely impaired, if not obliterated. The large door mirrors however do help and, as I said, what you (can't) see is what you get.
The i-shift remains a mystery to me. I am constantly asked my opinion about this and would I buy another one having used this car for a significant amount of time. Hmmm...I think my answer would have to be that whilst I would have no real qualms about buying another Honda
, the i-shift
is potentially life threatening and a very, very difficult way to drive a car.
The problem, I think, lies in the extremely low gear ratios. The car will happily pull away up to 15/20 mph in first/second but once you go a bit faster the car will then try and select any gear between 3rd to 6th. On occasion, if you accelerate in 2nd to 35mph the car will stop dead in the road for a second or two whilst it works out what gear to be in, if you're going up or down, and then even when it does decide what to do will then invariably change down - another action which costs another second. So you could well be stuck in the middle of the road for some considerable time (or just keep your foot down whilst the engine screeches away in 2nd for five seconds before it changes up). THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
I believe the second generation i-shifts have been cured by simply increasing the gear ratios, in which case I'm sure they are good cars to drive. But it is also the inconsistent way in which the above happens - sometimes (especially when the car is warm) it'll perform perfectly naturally. But every now and again...
It isn't good enough to say "adapt your driving style" - the car should be easy and pleasurable to drive. In 'manual' it is just that - but I didn't buy it to be manual
With those negatives I must say that the positives do make up for a lot. Even though there has been other minor issues (such as the ridiculous issue with the fuel filler cap not being released due to the design of the cable!) my local dealer has identified, notified me and fixed them in a timely manner.
As a counter to what I believe to be an extreme safety issue with the i-shift, I had an accident not two days after I bought the car when some daft bugger went straight through a stop and give way line - not a major crash admittedly but neither I or, more importantly, my then 8 month old grandson had a scratch.
I do think the road noise is a bit excessive but not really anything drastic. Road handling/ride quality is good enough for me - but then most of my driving is to work and back or poodling around town so it's hardly "The Fast and The Furious" type stuff. A couple of things that I really like are the hands free (though I have never drive another modern car to compare it against) and the Sat Nav - which, especially for the market of the car - is superb.
The stereo is good enough (I personally would like it to be louder but you can't please everyone) and I do like the idea
of using voice commands to activate certain operations - though in practice by the time you've selected the voice button and told the car what you want it to do you might just have well of done it yourself!
Fuel economy...hmmm..not sure. The car tells me that I average around 30 - 35mpg around town - which is very good. But it has also told me that on a jaunt around the M25 with the cruise control locked on 55mph (that was exciting!) that I was getting over 70mpg. The manual says the most I will get is 45!! Bizzarre
So, all in all how do I feel about the car 18 months on...?
Looks : 10/10
Interior design: 10/10
(loses points for poor visibility)
Gearbox - manual: 8/10
Gearbox - i-shift: 2/10
Is it cool? 20/10
Should YOU buy it?????
If you like the looks then yes - but get the '07/'08 version or the 2.2 diesel.
It's just my opinion.