1.4 SE i-Shift Six Month Review - Civinfo
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 13:48 Thread Starter
 
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Exclamation 1.4 SE i-Shift Six Month Review

Well I've had the Civic a few days short of six months now, and covered 3300 miles, so its about time for a report on how its going.

Firstly, what I like about the Civic.

1.4 Engine:- Its not as slow as you may have been led to believe. (A controversial statement I know!) I have had much larger engined cars in the past, and I don't find it too slow at all. The i-Shift is well suited to the i-DSI engine, and gets the most out of it. I'm averaging between 45 - 48mpg to the gallon over a full tank, with plenty of town driving mixed in with longer runs. I can get more than 100 miles to a tank than I could in my last gen Civic, which had the same size fuel tank, and I always fill up with a gallon of petrol still in the tank. A pretty good result on economy!

Steering Wheel:
-
One of the best designs that I've come accross in any car, the remote controls for the computer and stereo are easy to use and in just the right place. The i-Shift paddles are also very well placed. Its a nice wheel to hold, and comfortable on long journeys, even without the leather trim that used to be on the last gen 1.4 SE. Its also nice and light, its easy for me to drive with just one hand, and there's a good range of reach and rake adjustment too. (I keep mine as low as possible)

i-Shift:- Utterly superb, I'm loving it! I use it mainly in the Auto mode with some paddle shifts as well. No problems with reverse or with the time the i-Shift makes up its mind to change gear. It is not at all hesitant, and changes very smoothly indeed. In fact, I cannot always tell when its decided to change gear, in this respect it feels like a fully automatic gearbox. The kickdown function works well too, the alternative is a quick flick on the '-' paddle, either way its very responsive. Its not caught me out yet, and even at roundabouts its fine, there's no hesitancy when you suddenly want more power. Overall, its a very easy system to use in either mode, the only thing for me that feels strange is using the shift lever in manual mode, I find the paddles more effective and somehow more natural and instinctive to operate.

Trip Computer:- This is very easy to use, again one of the best I've come across. It has a useful array of features, and displays the information clearly. There are a few oddities, like the range feature saying 'zero miles left', when I've still got a gallon in the tank! Still at least there's plenty of fuel in reserve, so I can't run dry. The speed warning feature is very useful too, especially when driving somewhere new, it just helps to make you a little more aware of your speed. I have the speeds set to '30' and '40', very handy when you've driven at 70mph on the motorway and are suddenly in a 30mph limit when you've turned off. Its also handy to be able to change the settings in the sub menu, you can tailor the display more to want you want to see.

Boot & Storage:- The boot is positively enormous! Who needs an estate when you have the magic seats too? The false floor in the boot is very useful, as is the storage under the driver's armrest. I haven't run out of space yet! The air-conditioned glovebox is another handy feature. There is much more space than you think possible, its a Tardis type interior, and better than alot of cars in the class above.

Standard Equipment:
- For the bottom end of the scale in the Civic range, the level of equipment is very good. Years ago you wouldn't have got half of what's on offer, even on top of the range cars.

Head Unit:- Very simple to use and the display is nice and clear. WMA/MP3 playback is a real plus, no need for piles of CD's in the car. The remote controls also work nicely too.

Styling:- In a word, amazing! I love the grill arrangement at the front, and this different styling has led to many people complimenting it. I do find the rear of the car a little fussy though, but the rear spoiler is useful for blocking glare from following car's headlights at night. Even though I have no alloys, only the cheap standard wheelcovers, the Civic turns heads wherever it goes. (Although I'm sure that new grill will turn stomachs instead!) Inside is even more amazing, its like no other car on the road. The rev counter display looks fantastic, and the whole dashboard is a very refreshing and bold design. Other car's interiors seem very old fashioned indeed.

Seats & Comfort:- I do struggle to get comfortable in a new car, but I'm now ok in the Civic. The seats are fine once you're used to them, and the driver's armrest is set at the right height for me too. Along with the steering wheel adjustment, its very easy to find a nice driving position, even though this can block the top of the rev counter from view.

Now the things I don't like.

Rattles:- Where on earth do I begin! I'm losing count of how many rattles I now have but its in double figures now. The dashboard, windscreen, doors, glovebox and other items all let you know they're there! It seems that the Civic cannot cope with anything other than a billiard table smooth road, without throwing a tantrum and rattling at every opportunity. I have had some rattles looked at by the dealer, but there is way more work to be done on this problem. If like me, you cannot stand a rattling car, you may find yourself going elsewhere. (Or playing the stereo loudly) Honda may feel that they can rest on their laurels with their reputation for quality, but its slipped big time on this generation of Civic.

Build Quality:- A massive disappointment, and a huge drop off from the last gen Civic. Panel fit is patchy, and rattles as mentioned above are much in evidence. My car will rattle when stationary and on tickover, it would not impress any potential customers, and really is not good enough in this day and age. My last gen Civic never once went back to the dealer with a fault, this Civic has had me back there five times so far. This car feels like it could have been built at the old Rover factory in Longbridge! Luckily however, the Civic is reliable.

Speakers:- A real letdown. Very poor bass quality and a very tinny sound. These must be some of the cheapest speakers known to man! Much worse than the previous Civic and something for Honda to improve.

Suspension:- Clonk! A real boneshaker! It may be fine for the sportier models, but why do Honda persist with rock solid suspension on the lesser models? The Civic finds bumps on smooth roads, much more so than the last generation. This has a large knock on effect with regard to the dashboard and general rattles. A case of try before you buy, luckily I can now cope with it, but I do wish it could be altered.

Paint Quality:- So has it been gone over in felt tip pen?!? This really does need to be improved. At least I have not gained too many more stone chips on the bonnet. Honda do need to up their game in this department or sales are bound to drop off.

Remote Locking:
- This seems to have developed an 'I'll work when I feel like it' attitude. My main keyfob is on its second battery and has now died again. I'm using the spare now, and even though the fob lights up, the car doesn't always open. I'm wondering if Honda have used some cheaper materials in the remote locking system, maybe that's to blame for the failures? Again, my previous gen Civic suffered no failures in this regard.

Now for the final reckoning.

Overall Verdict:- Its still a great car! Even with the faults, especially the rattles which I can't stand, I do enjoy driving the car. Its very easy to drive with my disabilities and I can go for long distances without getting tired. The style of the car creates a feelgood factor that other cars cannot match, or even come close too. There is however, work for Honda to do to avoid the niggles on the next gen Civic. I do feel that Honda have cut costs and let both material and build quality slip alarmingly, anyone who like me owned the last gen Civic will know what I mean. Honda cannot take their reputation for quality and reliability for granted, as Mercedes did in the mid 1990's, its something that's very hard to gain, and very easy to lose. 'Boring but bulletproof' is how I used to describe the last gen Civic, this one is 'Rattly but reliable'. I did buy the car knowing of the teething problems, so I can't compain too much, I just hope my next Civic in 2011 is a little more like my 2005 model in its construction. Anyway, I've got another two years before I order another new car, plenty of time for this one to improve. Who knows, maybe the rattles will disappear in time? The most important thing for me is the fact that the Civic is a car that I can drive for longer distances than the last one, I need to keep as mobile as possible, and to that end I think the Civic is a big improvement in many areas, even taking the faults into account. Its also costing me less to run which is always good news. Maybe its the Austin Allegro of its day? (The rear threequarter view does remind me a little of the old Allegro!) Whatever, the Civic is one of those cars that will not be easy to forget, especially if you end up back in some boring old eurobox!


Sorry to have detained you all for so long, safe driving and enjoy your spaceships!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 15:24
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I applaud you

He is right about the car, its amazing regardless of its faults, its unique look and kick ass screen and tachometer just make it brilliant

I was in the older generation Civic the other night and looked at the dash and went...this is really old looking!

VIVA LA SPACESHIP!
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 15:32
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Very informative and balanced review.

Seems to me that all the Honda build quality we long-time users experienced and so enjoyed in the past has gone into your i-Shift!

At least they haven't compromised on the quality of the engine...though I might not entirely share your enthusiasm for its performance.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 15:37
 
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Wheelchair, i would give the rattles some time to bed in
My 1.8 type-S also transformed from a quiet slick machine to a rattly noisy car but lately, a lot of those rattles have disappeared (bedded in i guess ) or its all just frozen together
A good write up once again for the rest, dont expect anything else from you
Allthough I find the speakers to be 'ok', do you have the speakers near the sidemirrors? Cause i think that makes a big difference.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 15:37 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honcho View Post
Very informative and balanced review.

Seems to me that all the Honda build quality we long-time users experienced and so enjoyed in the past has gone into your i-Shift!


At least they haven't compromised on the quality of the engine...though I might not entirely share your enthusiasm for its performance.
That's what I've tried to do. Rather than be blinkered in my view, I've tried to be impartial.

My i-Shift is probably the best one out there! Its a shame that the quality has dropped.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 15:39 Thread Starter
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A good write up once again for the rest, dont expect anything else from you
Allthough I find the speakers to be 'ok', do you have the speakers near the sidemirrors? Cause i think that makes a big difference.
Cheers, glad you enjoyed it.

No, the 1.4 SE doesn't come with the tweeters as standard.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 16:36
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Good review WC. I agree with all the good points in addition I have no rattles at all after 20 months and nor has the car. Suspension although harder than the norm does`nt worry me at all (well upholstered rear) the added bonus is the safe and superb handling in all road conditions. My I-shift is great and with the latest upgrade a joy to drive. The ES sound system is fine for me not that I use it that much and the paintwork and finish I have had no problems with at all nor any problems with the central locking and the alarm system.
P:S I wash it once a week so maybe that`s why it`s so good
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 17:48
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Well ... some get rattles and some don't ... some get stone chips and some don't ...

I have neither ! ... and that's after 14 months \ 10,000 miles ...

A 'private' mechanic that I once used, used to listen to and 'flex' the dashboard etc. where rattles \ squeaks \ etc. were coming from ... then he'd deliver 2 or 3 mighty whacks with the flat of his (rather large) hand, at what he thought were the appropriate places and - hey presto - the noises almost always disappeared ! ...
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 17:52 Thread Starter
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Well ... some get rattles and some don't ... some get stone chips and some don't ...

I have neither ! ... and that's after 14 months \ 10,000 miles ...

A 'private' mechanic that I once used, used to listen to and 'flex' the dashboard etc. where rattles \ squeaks \ etc. were coming from ... then he'd deliver 2 or 3 mighty whacks with the flat of his (rather large) hand, at what he thought were the appropriate places and - hey presto - the noises almost always disappeared ! ...
He came in handy then!

Glad your car is silent, I wish mine was!
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 18:08
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He came in handy then ! Glad your car is silent, I wish mine was !
The 'quirky' thing is, that - while he worked (day job) for a "BL" dealer - he himself only ever drove Hondas ! ... his 'evening job' was his extensive list of private customers ...

But - he was a real mechanic - he could diagnose 95% of the problems with any car, just by looking and listening and 'setting on hands' and 'fiddling' for 5 minutes ...

No diagnostic computers for him ! ... everything set by eye and ear ...
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 12th January 2009, 19:07 Thread Starter
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I wash it once a week so maybe that`s why it`s so good
No chance of me doing that!
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 13th January 2009, 10:25
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No chance of me doing that!
Hey, who wants to change history anyway
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 14th January 2009, 23:31 Thread Starter
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But - he was a real mechanic - he could diagnose 95% of the problems with any car, just by looking and listening and 'setting on hands' and 'fiddling' for 5 minutes ...

No diagnostic computers for him ! ... everything set by eye and ear ...
We could do with a few more of him!
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 10:48
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Wheelchair, how long did it take for the rattles to start appearing. Rattling drives me crazy and want to prepare myself in case my Type S starts.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 10:54 Thread Starter
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After about a week!

I've had the dealer look at a few, but they'd have to totally rebuild the car to get rid of them, so I'm using the stereo to drown them out.
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 10:57
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I have`nt got one rattle after 20 months and nor has the car and I wash my car once a week
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 11:02 Thread Starter
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I have`nt got one rattle after 20 months and nor has the car and I wash my car once a week
I KNEW you'd say that!
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 11:06
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I KNEW you'd say that!
I think you should swallow your pride and do the same and I bet your rattles go away
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 11:07 Thread Starter
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No chance!
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 15th January 2009, 11:24
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excellent report wheelchair,ref.to computer regarding speed warnings - I have the 06 1.8 es ishift, where and how do I set speed readings - other than individually on cruise control which I dont think you have on your model!
Please enlighten me .gmp.
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