Four test drives in one day.... - Civinfo
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 18:41 Thread Starter
 
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Four test drives in one day....

Hi all,

I've just completed 4 test drives of cars various (incl Civic) in one day. At the suggestion of someone on this forum (forget who - sorry!) thought I'd write up a review of the day.

1st drive - Mini Cooper

This was an impromptu test drive as I thought I'd make an unplanned stop at the local Mini dealer as I'd never seen inside one before.

The dealer was really helpful with no pressure at all. Explained to me all about the numerous sorts of minis and then offered me a test drive in a 57 plate Mini Cooper.

I was blown away by the quality of this car - I'd only ever seen the inside in pictures on the internet, and thought it looked a bit cheap. How wrong could I be. It was really well put together inside and out, really good quality materials and very comfortable seats.

Had a good drive and threw it around some country lanes - it's like driving a go-kart! The Cooper wasn't as quick as I thought it might have been, but was really great to drive. I had a smile on my face the whole time.

2nd Drive - Civic 2.2 SE

I'd arranged this with my local Honda dealer in advance. Was met by the sales manager on arrival and shown to the car. It didn't have much fuel in it, so he took me to the petrol station whilst explaining the controls. I drove it back, dropped him off then he let me go off on my own in it. That was the only dealer today who let me drive the car alone.

I'm after an EX spec, but was quite impressed with the level of trim in the base model. Coming from an Accord Tourer 2.2 I had an idea of the performance to expect - how wrong could I be - it REALLY flew. The car only had 750 miles on the clock and it didn't feel as smooth as the Accord - but I put this down to the low mileage. The torque seemed to kick in at higher revs than in the Accord and seemed to behave more like a car with a traditional turbo diesel unit.

Having read some of the posts on here I didn't know what to expect with regards to the suspension - I thought it was great. It hung onto corners very well with little or no body roll - the ride did seem firm (especially at low speeds), but I really liked it.

The car didn't seem as well built as my Accord, but couldn't put my finger on why. Maybe it was the different level spec (I'm used to driving an executive accord with leather seats). Didn't like the rear visibility issues either

There was a rattle! It was coming from the trim around the internal light. I pointed this out to the dealer who thanked me and said he would have it sorted as "Hondas don't rattle!".

3rd drive of the day - Ford Focus

I could write a lot here but I won't. Car was awful - dealer was worse. Really flipping awful. I remembered why I stopped owning Fords a long time ago

4th drive of the day - Audi A3 2.0 TDI 170ps Quattro Sport

This car was an 07 plate with 10000 miles on the clock. It was beautifully made and looked like new inside. Amazingly it didn't seem an awful lot faster than the Civic, but the handling on twisty country lanes - and I guess this was thanks to the Quattro system - was brilliant. It felt really sure footed.

Dealer was very good - no pressure to buy and was invited back for anothe test drive.

So verdict then......

In reverse order - 4th - Ford Focus - Can't understand what people rave about. Diesel engine seems and sounds really rough - naff build quality and cheap plastics. Dealer rubbish.

Now it gets difficult.........

I'd probably put the Mini 3rd. Only in terms of practicality. Three doors and child seats don't go well. Although we have a Ford Galaxy as our family car, occasionally We would want to use my car. Little Miss mistuk is a wheelchair user and I just dont think it would be a car that I could keep very long.

2nd place......
That goes to the Civic - maybe if I'd seen an EX spec this would be different. There are a number of compromises with this vehicle, but it seems an exceptionally good car. It doesn't seem as refined or as well built as my Accord, but boy does it fly!

1st place....

The A3. My first time driving an Audi and I was very impressed. The cabin materials are of a high quality and the Quattro Drive system felt amazing. It was very quick, but not that much quicker than the Civic

The only thing that terrifies about owning the A3 is the servicing and repair costs should anything go wrong.

So I still haven't made up my mind which one to go for!

mistuk
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 18:44
 
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Well written review of your test drives. As you say, the Mini is not at all practical, that is where the Civic really scores.

All I can say now is.......GET THE CIVIC!!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 18:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistuk View Post
"Hondas don't rattle!".
Good reviews.

One or two people might disagree with that particular dealer.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 18:50
 
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Yes, mine likes to rattle quite loudly on occasion, other times its more quiet. Only on a smooth road though.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:02
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Prices ? ...

Have you checked out the prices for a Civic EX and a similar spec. A3 (with or without 'quattro') ? ...
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:17 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Derek Riddell View Post
Have you checked out the prices for a Civic EX and a similar spec. A3 (with or without 'quattro') ? ...
I'm waiting for a 'cost to change' from the Honda dealer tomorrow.

Cost wise the A3 and the Civic are going to be similar, but the A3 is a year old with 10000 mile on the clock, whereas the Civic would be new
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:18
 
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No contest then, get the new one!!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:19 Thread Starter
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No contest then, get the new one!!
Honda should pay you commission!!!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:20
 
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Well we're all going to be a bit biased toward the Civic on here!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistuk View Post
I'm waiting for a 'cost to change' from the Honda dealer tomorrow.

Cost wise the A3 and the Civic are going to be similar, but the A3 is a year old with 10,000 mile on the clock, whereas the Civic would be new
Aahhhh ... as I thought ... not a fair comparison at all ...

A 1 year old car versus a new car (and the A3 has less 'goodies' ?) ...

Check out prices for a 1 year old Civic EX ... and BUY IT ! ...
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:23
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Think that if you had driven an EX with leather you would have thought it more like the Accord.

I thought about getting an A3 instead of the RAV4 we had before our first Civic, but the cabin felt really small and cramped, and my husband hated it!! The RAV did us OK but both of us prefer the Civic.


Good luck for whatever you decide - hopefully the Civic!!!!!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:23
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Derek Riddell View Post
Aahhhh ... as I thought ... not a fair comparison at all ...

A 1 year old car versus a new car (and the A3 has less 'goodies' ?) ...

Check out prices for a 1 year old Civic EX ... and BUY IT ! ...
You've been well and truly told now by our resident baboon hater!

Better get the Civic, mistuk, you'll never hear the end of it otherwise!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:42
 
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I had the same deciision when I bought my Civic, brand new 2.2 iCtdi Sport Civic for just under 18K or a 12 month old 2.0TDI Quattro A3 with 11000 miles on £19K.

The Audi is a great car but boring compared to the Civic and the running costs plus it being a secondhand car but cost more made the decision for me. I haven't regretted it either and I've now had the Civic for 18 months and 26K miles

Last edited by cylon2007; 8th October 2008 at 21:21.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:47
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I think it may have been me who suggested a review and thanks for it.

I think you gave a fair review of all the cars and that is good. It's also good to see that the civic and the audi really remained neck and neck at the end.

The problem with a 'premium' brand is the after sales cost. I owned a BMW 5 Series and the service costs and so on were a little high for my liking.

At the end of the day you have to go for the car of your choice and maybe try and get a test drive in a EX version of the civic to see how it actually compares with the Audi.

I wish you luck in find your next car
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 8th October 2008, 19:50
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can i just say i thoroughly enjoyed reading your 4 test drives in one day reviews mistuk... good job.

but yes... buy the civic...
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