Civic gone, not forgotten
Car: Pug 4007, 308CC, Clio dci
Join Date: 11th June 2007
Thanked 30 Times in 30 Posts
15 months and 34000 miles in a 2.2 SE
As I have now done over 34000 miles in about 15 months here is my experience of my ex Honda UK Civic 2.2 SE. The car had just over 7000 miles on it when I bought it when it was just under 10 months old. This morning it just clicked over to 42000 miles.
I am sorry this review is a bit lengthy, so I’ll sum up here…4/5
To start with, and to show how picky I am, I quickly get bored with my cars (a post elsewhere 'Rate my Car History' shows this!!). Only a couple of cars over the last 15 years have lasted over 15 months!
The main comparisons are to a 05 Scenic 1.9 DCi (previous car), Octavia 2.0 TDi (140 hp Elegance and 170 hp vRS) and Seat Altea XL 2.0 Tdi (140). Anyone who thinks that the comparison with a Scenic is unfair, the interior / boot space really is that close.
Performance: The mid range urge still feels fantastic and the cruising ability at speeds above 100 mph on Autobahns is excellent. Care has to be taken to keep the car at 70-75 as the slightest brush of the throttle in 6th will send the speed surging up.
The power band is very wide and linear compared to VW group 2.0 TDi (PD) cars, especially the 170 hp TDi, I also test drove when choosing the car. Because of this, I find the Civic much easier to drive quickly than any of the above cars. The abruptness of the turbo in the Altea especially made my wife almost car sick on the test drive.
Even when towing a 1250 kg Caravan with 3 bikes on the roof of the car has ample power.
Running Costs: The economy that is achievable by such a powerful engine is amazing. My non towing average is around 53-54 mpg, but mid 60’s MPG is achievable without too much hardship. The lure of the turbocharger does limit the economy though!!
Servicing costs are high compared to Renaults and Vauxhalls I have owned before. Each service is not necessarily more expensive, but the intervals are shorter than I am used to.
Perhaps the power and torque going through the front wheels are a contributing factor, but tyre wear has been higher than I hoped, I only got about 19000 miles out of the original fit Bridgestone tyres and that was after a front rear swap and mainly motorway / dual carriageway driving. 4/5
Refinement: The engine is also much more refined and less gruff than the above cars. However I will state that there is more road noise than my previous car, an 05 Renault Scenic 1.9 DCi, but no worse than the Octavia or the Altea. Perhaps the quietness of the engine amplifies this, but on anything but new tarmac, the noise can be annoying.
On cold mornings the suspension is also quite noisy on rough roads. 4/5
Roadholding / Handling: The Civic will follow your chosen line very faithfully with very little body roll and is only upset by quite severe mid corner bumps. The VSA feels very well programmed only intervening when necessary while still allowing for some fun. I feel the steering is better on the 2.2 than on 1.8 loan cars I have had. Mixed with the performance serious fun can be had on back roads as long as they are not too bumpy!! 4/5
Ride: There is no getting away from the fact that the ride is firm. While the car does not wollow, it can be jiggly. I will say it is quite a change from a French MPV!!! It is not all bad news, I get complained at less driving ‘spiritedly’ on A & B roads than I used to!! As my Civic ‘only’ has 16” wheels I do not find the ride unacceptable. 3/5
Exterior: IMO, this has not dated as some doom monger journalists said it would. It still looks (for the right reasons) like nothing else on the road, except for the increasing number of Civics of course! The hidden rear door handles and the inherently sporty design, rather than just a Eurobox with a spoiler kit, elevate the car especially compared to the rest of the family hatches.
My bootlid needs a good slam for it to shut properly, but after 3 visits to the dealer, it is a bit better and it looks like I am going to have to live with it. Considering the mileage and the way I drive the car, stone chipping was been less than expected and much better than previous cars.
However, I do find it a fiddly car to clean with water catching and then dripping from some of the fussier parts of the design (e.g. spoiler and rear lights). By far the worst part to keep clean is the alloy wheels. I have had numerous cars with alloy wheels and non have attracted so much stubborn brake dust.
Literally if they are not cleaned every 500 or so miles then it is an arduous job to remove the spots. Comments from my dealer ‘all cars are like it now’ do not wash – no previous cars nor any of my families cars need any more then sponge and water even if left for much longer.
The effort to clean it is worthwhile, however, I am not sure the wife agrees though!! 4/5
Interior: The Civic’s trump card. Honda have squeezed more space into a small body than any other manufacturer (excluding vans with windows), a true tardis!
The ‘compact’ rear suspension may impair the ride quality, but it sure helps out when you are filling the boot with holiday gear or LCD TVs!!!
As well as the futuristic look, the dashboard is very easy to use and everything is close at hand. The steering wheel is especially attractive compared to the dull monotone items fitted to rival cars.
All switches (especially the rotary heating knob) have a quality feel, at odds to the dashboard plastics they are housed on.
For a low spec model, the SE is very well equipped having Climate Control and all-round electric windows absent on even mid spec European rivals.
I have a couple of rattles, but they always stay silent when ever I am at the dealers.
After about 14000 miles, the interior looked like it was wearing prematurely with thinning pile on the door armrest and flat pile on the right hand driver’s seat bolster, but after 42000 miles it appears no worse. Later service loan cars I have drive appear more solid. 4/5
Overall: I am more than happy with my Civic and I am glad that Honda have had the guts to actually build a car that is recognisable to the concept car apart than just the badge. The car has its faults for sure, but I still look back at it whenever I leave it.
If it was built with better plastics and had more complex rear suspension then the car would have been more expensive and had a smaller boot. Both these points would have removed the car from the list of possible cars so for me I have to live with them. Long may my ownership continue.