Civic 2.2 SE (1 year + 50,000 miles)
I've been on the website for a while and generally quite like my civic.
This is my company car, and coming from a ford, it's been amazing. I've been lucky enough to have been given the chance to change my car with a bit more of a budget, so i thought with the impending loss of the civic, it would be a good time to evaluate my year (and a few months) and 50,000 miles of motoring in my Honda!
Had to start with the performance, and oh my word, what a diesel engine Honda have produced! Aside from the obvious pull through every gear and torque aplenty, i have not driven such a quiet and usable diesel before! It behaves more like a petrol than any other diesel i have driven in terms of the gearing. My old ford sounded like it was about to die if i dared to drop down to 30mpg in 5th, no probs in the Civ!
Putting your foot down, still have the same problem with any diesel where the power just gets less and less the more you get into the (lack of) revs, and then it's gear change time before you know it, but as long as you're using the gears and changes correctly, this car shifts! It's certainly embarrased a few 330's and GTi's that i have come across which is quite impressive when you consider that this is only 138hp!
Overall, the engine performs amazingly, every gear is so usable and is such a comfortable engine to drive.
Well before i got the Civ, i had heard a few bad things about the handling, and also plenty more on this forum!
Personally, i think you're all crazy, this car handles incredibly! I suppose it depends what kind of handling you were expecting, but i find it very good in all cases. For a cruising car, i like the way that the suspension is quite stiff, but the damping is soft enough to eliminate most of the harshness of the ride. When your brain enters 'sport mode' is when this car is at home. You have to remember that this is a spacious family hatchback, but when the family is out of the car, you can through this thing around with a lot of abuse, and it just rares for more! It corners brilliantly, and even when you do get into trouble, it's very predictable and easy to control. The responsiveness and feel could be improved, but it's pretty direct and you always feel in control.
The only very important thing i would add is buy GOOD TYRES. After driving a collegues car, it's incredible the difference it makes having good or cheap tyres on the Civ. Treat it well!
Comfort and Practicality:
With comfort in mind, this car serves pretty well. I am a tall fellow at 6'3" but find the seating position perfect with the seat as low down as it will go and one click away from being right back. It's a little annoying i can't see the top of the rev counter as i like the wheel quite low as well, but i don't seem to look at it any more with the speedo where it is!
The alcantara seats are very comfortable and hold you in nicely without being too restrictive like a bucket seat. The only complaint would be that you can get 'sweaty back syndrome' after a long journey (over 1.5 hours)but i'm sure that happens in most cars.
The only other little comfort niggle would be that the arm rest on the door could use a bit more padding, it can be a bit harsh on girly elbows!
In terms of practicality, i really don't know where Honda have put everything structurally! There is so much cabing space, rear seat space, and what a boot, especially if you use the spare wheel recess. I have been in the accord which is a substantially bigger car, but the Civic actually has more room in all departments. What is especially impressive is the leg room in the back. Being fairly tall, i have always struggled getting people sat behind me without me needing to move the chair forward a little, but not any more! Even my brother who's 6'4" can comfortably fit behind me without sticking his knees through my back!
Again, the boot is very impressive. Being an engineer, i carry a lot of c**p in my boot, and getting the buggy, high chair etc usually meant emptying the boot first, but by using the wheel recess, it all just fits on top now!
Overall Impressions and new car?
Well as i said, i've been given the opportunity of a new car. The price limit was around £22k so i've been considering a few options. Honda Accord, BMW 318d, Audi A3 Sportback, Audi A4. The bottom line is, i'm having a very hard time choosing a different car because of the benchmark that the Civic has set. In actual fact, i am pretty much decided on another civic! Despite now being able to aim for a more expensive and 'better' car, i just don't think that they come a lot better until you start spending a considerable amount more.
So next car looks like being a Honda Civic 2.2 EX with some extra trimmings. I thought that as i like this car so much, i'll just stick with it, but upgrade so that i've got some nice cool gadgets to make what i thought was already a brilliant car, even better!
To sum up, if you are looking for a family hatchback and you can spend a bit more than a ford or vauxhall, it's got to be a honda!