Hungary to England - 1000 miles in the Civic - Civinfo
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 09:15 Thread Starter
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Hungary to England - 1000 miles in the Civic

For those of you interested in finding out how comfy the Civic is over long distances I set out on Friday night for England from Hungary (a total of 1715km or 1066 miles). Arrived in West Sussex on Sunday evening after spending a night in Linz, Austria and then one in Aachen on the German/Belgian border.

Firstly, for the whole trip in my 1.8 i-Vtec, I averaged 7.2 litres of fuel per 100km (which is approx 39.3 mpg). Not bad at all considering I have winter tyres fitted, it involved some spirited autobahn driving and, on a couple of occasions, we hit stretches of heavy, slow moving traffic.

Filling up with Shell V-Power initially (with an octane rating of 100) we encountered heavy fog straight out of Budapest. Indeed, it was pretty awful for the whole period up to the Austrian border. This gave me my first opportunity to use the front and rear fogs though which, bearing in mind how bad visibility was, get a big thumbs up The stalk logically toggles between the front fog setting, rear only, both on together and off. The front fogs also give a good spread of light across the road, with very little being reflected back at the driver.

Of course, getting into Austria requires you to be carrying snow chains during winter, along with two fluorescent safety vests. I bought the chains in Hungary before I went I set off for the equivalent of £19, only to find that yesterday (in a Sussex Halfords) they're selling them for £54!!!!!!!! You also need a motorway vignette (highway toll charge sticker) which lasts for 10 days. Uneventful all the way through, the fact that Austria only has a population of 8 million ensures that traffic congestion (Vienna aside) is rarely a problem. I have to say though that Austrian motorways aren't the best quality!!

Once in Germany things got altogether more interesting. Of course, with the 130km limit being the recommended/advised speed on autobahns (unless signed otherwise), there's a great temptation to see what the Civic can do. This is quickly tempered, however, by the fact that the outside lane of the highway is the natural habitat for BMWs, Audis, Porches and Mercedes (of which the vast majority effortlessly cruise along in excess of 200km/h). When accidents do happen though, the aftermath is often a grim and sombre lesson to rubber necking drivers. Our (only) hold up was no exception, with a 4 x 4 and trailer combo having overturned on the carriageway. Bad enough in itself, but on this occasion, the trailer had been carrying a brand new Range Rover which was now lying on its roof!

As far as the driving experience goes, certainly one thing I've noticed about the i-Vtec engine is that it gets quite boomy under acceleration at about 4000 rpm. This encourages you to change up, although, if you let the revs rise further, the engine note (at 4,500 rpm+) changes back to a much more pleasing (and smooth sounding) growl. Indeed, in fifth at 4,000 rpm the Civic's noise levels can become tiresome, but press on in the same gear and the car becomes quieter again with the boom gently fading away. No doubt, this is a characteristic of the economy/power mode of the i-Vtec. And it's certainly a relevation to find that by holding onto a gear at higher revs (and speeds) you actually experience a much quieter cabin than at the 4,000 rpm mark.

On the road, the great thing about Germany is that their motorway service stations actually have decent food! And, in addition to frequent fuelling opportunities, there are always plenty of designated rest stops to help combat tiredness. They also have spotlessly clean toliets (called Sanifair) which cost 50c to use, but are well-worth the money!! As for German drivers well, by and large, they're extremely well-disciplined and skilled. Moreover, although you'd think that higher motorway speeds would make a drive more stressful, the exact opposite was true. It was a real pleasure!!

En-route, the Civic offered a first-rate driving environment. Pop in a good CD, stick on the cruise control and really, it makes for a fantastic European tourer. Throughout, the auto sensing wipers worked well (it rained quite a bit) and, over a wide-variety of road surfaces, I really felt the road holding and feedback from the steering wheel to be very, very good. And, with the increased miles, my gear change (from 3rd-4th) has now loosened up nicely. No rattles anywhere in the cabin either, which is always nice

Through Belgium on Sunday morning it was absolutely chucking it down. Curiously, 90% of Belgian drivers were using their rear fog lamps in such conditions even though there was no fog (just water spray). So maybe Stef can enlighten me as to whether it's compulsory or just a bad habit? Certainly, I thought it a bit strange. Also, it never ceases to amaze me how much lighting there is on Belgian motorways. And, for sure, it must cost a fair amount to the Belgian taxpayer!

On my final fill up before Blightly I stopped off at a Texaco station and added about 30 litres of 98 octane Texaco fuel (went to 3 separate stations looking for a 100 octane option, but to no avail). On start up it immediately sounded gruff compared to the higher quality fuels I'd been using (Shell V-Power and Aral Ultimate). And, under acceleration, the car not only felt slower, but sounded positively rough!!! So, if you have the choice, I'd recommend a 99 or 100 octane rated fuel. Makes the i-Vtec sound sweet and offers better fuel consumption too!!

Arriving in the UK, I took the M20 from Dover before joining the M25 and then taking the M23 down to West Sussex. Having not seen a single Civic through the whole of Germany (I don't think people are being tempted away from their Golfs), I saw three of Swindon's finest in just a 20 mile stretch! I fear they're getting a bit common in the UK!!!

Also, the surface quallity on both the M20 and M25 legs was really, really appalling. I felt sea sick bumping around all the time. And, once on minor roads, I noticed the camber was significantly more noticeable in the UK than on European roads (nice to see cats eyes again though). My Civic doesn't pull to the left, but it did feel a bit more tiring to drive. And, along the M25, it was the first part of the journey that I'd actually describe as being strenuous. For such a small island, the UK has just too many cars!!! Still, it's good to see Corrie again

All told then, it was an absolute pleasure driving the Civic a thousand miles in just 2 days. I know on this forum that quite a few owners have suffered teething troubles but, with my car at least, it really feels like a quality product and one that lives up to Honda's deserved reputation!

My biggest gripe is that UK models have an option of converting the speedo into km/h, but European models can't do it from km/h to mph. Are they all Euro sceptics in Swindon? So currently, I have to remember not to go over 110 km/h or 50 km/h in town (although the Civic's speed warnings do help). Still, a bit of a chore really!!

And remember, if you lot see a silver left-hooker with an H underneath the EU emblem on the reg (and a CivInfo sticker on the boot) then give me a wave. I'm here until next Wednesday!

Last edited by jayt43; 21st November 2006 at 09:54.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 09:36
 
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Great write up, glad you enjoyed the the 1000 mile journey in your Civic. I hope you enjoy your stay here.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 09:56
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Beautifully written Jayt, hope you have a pleasant and uneventful stay in Blighty.

I am not planning any road trips just yet, but at least I know there is nothing to worry about!
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:00 Thread Starter
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Thanks RR. Yes, nothing to worry about. Even the fuel filler cap worked okay
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:20
 
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Thanks for the sharing and the beautiful essay...
I was surprised at the Belgian "convention" with the use of the rear fogs, very similar to ours (me not included!!) over here! Plus, the front fogs are also used by some in good weather too...
Stupid on part of those; the brightness of the rear fogs seem to increase the reaction time of the driver behind. Because the fogs are so bright, it takes more time to realize that the brake lamps have gone on; especially if they are not separate from the position (parking) lights.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:21
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Excellent jayt! Just so depressing to read about the state of our roads (both state of repair and congestion) but glad you had a fun trip. Now where shall I plug in to the satnav now.....?
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:39 Thread Starter
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Well Pottsy, when you live in the UK it's not something you really notice! But certainly, those particular stretches were quite bad (although the M23 is actually a decent road). All told, German tarmac is alot better, even on relatively old bits.

Still, German TV is a different matter entirely . On Saturday night they had a whole evening dedicated to Boney M!! An ill-judged fake beard and some seriously mad dancing from that bloke in the band helped remind me just how crazy the 70s were! Needless to say, upon arrival in Blightly I was relieved to find Ant & Dec on "I'm a Celebrity". Now that's class TV .
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:41
 
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Great little write-up.

My excursion to Europe last week only managed to add 210 miles to my car, but the car was great!

Regarding your observations of driving styles, I must say that the standard of driving on the motorway between Calais and Belgium along the coast (past Dunkirk) was apalling! The number of cars and HGVs straddling lanes and not leaving adequate clearance when pulling in/out was truly shocking. I felt very uneasy . And when we were parked in in Belgium, we witnessed a car get broken into in broad daylight on a busy road

On the way home on the M20, I noticed how poor the road surface was for a long stretch, it is some evil concrete slab of a road. That aside, I found our roads on par with the ones I encountered.

I am also confused as to why the continental version do not have the ability to switch between mph and kph, I found that really usefull.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, I will look out for you!
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 10:55 Thread Starter
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Bungle, I think it's always been part of a UK spec model to at least be able to see speed in km/h (for when drivers used to nip over to Calais at Xmas). Actually, I think Charles still does for a drop of French wine! Honda at Swindon seem to think, however, that no one comes over from mainland Europe to the UK with their Civics. Well I did and so did Maxbert! So it's a shame we can't change the set-up from km/h to mph Still, it's a great car to be in!

Last edited by jayt43; 21st November 2006 at 10:59.
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Bungle, I think it's always been part of a UK spec model to at least be able to see speed in km/h (for when drivers used to nip over to Calais at Xmas). Actually, I think Charles still does for a drop of French wine! Honda at Swindon seem to think, however, that no one comes over from mainland Europe to the UK with their Civics. Well I did and so did Maxbert! So it's a shame we can't change the set-up from km/h to mph Still, it's a great car to be in!
I wonder if RHD versions sold in the Irish Republic get the switch...certainly those living near the border with NI would find it useful now that they are in kmh but NI obviously still uses mph.

Of course, if the UK would just bite the (relatively small) bullet and make our roads metric as with almost every other element of everyday life it would solve the whole problem once and for all. Bring on the metric martyrs!
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No no no no no! I do not want to use kph, l/100km, or Euros! I am happy with the way it is now!
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The Irish RHD versions do indeed come with the mph/kph button.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 13:56
 
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No no no no no! I do not want to use kph, l/100km, or Euros! I am happy with the way it is now!
Knew I'd get someone's back up...

Anyone under the age of about 40 who was educated in the UK used cm, m, litres and kg in their maths lessons at school, and would be unlikely to know instantly how many yards in a mile etc.

I know the Civic has a traditionally geriatric appeal but...

(tin hat firmly on now)
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 14:00
 
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Just curious; which year did the UK shift to (or began to use) the metric system?
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 14:12
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Decimilisation (for our money) happened in 1971. I used to get half a Crown pocket money, and I feel I was robbed out of a few pennies by some nefarious rounding down by my parents.

The switch from gallons to litres happened a few years ago... I think I was out when it happened and returned to find all these funny markings on the petrol station signs... same with weights.

Luddites Unite!
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I was bought up with the metric system at school, but to the most part have learned and prefer the imperial system. Mony not included, I am completely cluless with old money!

I worked for a few years in a builder's merchant, and the total mess of systems is really obvious there. People would ask for wood with the dimensions in inches, and the length in metres. Or with the dimensions in mm, and the lenght in feet! Ply was similar, people asking for a sheet of 8X4 (feet) 12mm in thickness. It is just madness.

What a confused state we are in, fuel is sold by the litre, yet we work out economy by miles to the gallon. Most people don't even know how many litres there are to the gallon.

Weight is always measured in kilos or tons. Never ounces, pounds or tonnes. Unless I am talking about a person's weight. Then its stones.

I cannot visualise how far metres of kilometres are, 200km means nothing to me, unless I try to work it out. I know 60ish mph is 100kph, so I can work out that 200km is about 120 miles, or just over. The funny thing is I prefer inches to cm!

I have a headache now!
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 14:48
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I was educated in metric, but as an Engineer most things tend to be imperial, although a few contracting companies and consultants have tried to metricate everything, they ask for 25mm NB Sch40 pipe, when there is no such thing, you can have 1". Or they ask for a 100mm ANSI Flange, again no such thing, but you can have 4", or the other way is when we take a metric standard and try and imperialise it, you can't have a 4" DIN2527 flange, but you can have a 100mm.

I am not sure what I prefer in relation to roads etc. Probably miles, everything is nearer.
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I was bought up with the metric system at school, but to the most part have learned and prefer the imperial system. Mony not included, I am completely cluless with old money!

I worked for a few years in a builder's merchant, and the total mess of systems is really obvious there. People would ask for wood with the dimensions in inches, and the length in metres. Or with the dimensions in mm, and the lenght in feet! Ply was similar, people asking for a sheet of 8X4 (feet) 12mm in thickness. It is just madness.

What a confused state we are in, fuel is sold by the litre, yet we work out economy by miles to the gallon. Most people don't even know how many litres there are to the gallon.

Weight is always measured in kilos or tons. Never ounces, pounds or tonnes. Unless I am talking about a person's weight. Then its stones.

I cannot visualise how far metres of kilometres are, 200km means nothing to me, unless I try to work it out. I know 60ish mph is 100kph, so I can work out that 200km is about 120 miles, or just over. The funny thing is I prefer inches to cm!

I have a headache now!
And your headaches (and millions like them) would be a thing of the past if we all just accepted the metric system in all walks of life.

The fact that a litre of water is also a kg of water, and can be measured by creating a box 10cmx10cmx10cm, is reason enough to use the metric system for everything - it's all interlinked in a simple way and the units function in base 10...if we'd been born with 12 fingers, or 14, or 16, or 1760, or whatever, then maybe the old ways would make some sense. The current mix of the two systems that you identified in areas such as builders' yards, just goes to prove how Britain's half cocked approach to this is ridiculous.

But anyway, still nice to know I'll have the button to switch between them when the UK's roads do catch up with the rest of the world.
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I was educated in metric, but as an Engineer most things tend to be imperial, although a few contracting companies and consultants have tried to metricate everything, they ask for 25mm NB Sch40 pipe, when there is no such thing, you can have 1". Or they ask for a 100mm ANSI Flange, again no such thing, but you can have 4", or the other way is when we take a metric standard and try and imperialise it, you can't have a 4" DIN2527 flange, but you can have a 100mm.

I am not sure what I prefer in relation to roads etc. Probably miles, everything is nearer.
In Turkey, the plumbers developed a convention.. We have been in metric system throughout our whole lives, but when they define a pipe in inches, it means that the ends of the pipes are threaded. When they call it with a metric diameter, it means that the ends are plain! Simply nonsense but it is a way of communication among plumbers..

With miles, everything is "nearer" but takes the same time to travel!
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 21st November 2006, 15:10
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...and for ultimate carnage-inducing effect, we'll switch to driving on the right.


Well if Sweden can do it so can we
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