I never got to drive the 83hp 1.4 but I have the new 100hp and despite being too early for a proper review, it is however the perfect time for the first impressions.
Keeping it in perspective and judging it by it's attributes.
The looks (This applies to the whole "family") :
Space age. The Civic came form the future and it is here now. It was way ahead it's time in 2006, it is still ahead it's time now. The facelift/restyle has changed very little, made a few things better, ruined others, but that is my opinion and opinions change from person to person. We don't all like the same things do we?
I believe that in some 10 years, the looks will still be up to date. Everytime I look at it I can't help but smlie and think how spectacular it looks. I got that from other people's Civics too. There was always a wow everytime I saw one.
When you get inside it gets better! The civic doesn't look like something you drive, it looks like something you fly. The steering wheel has a good size and feels nice to the touch. The seats are a bit hard but are still confortable and you are in a near perfect position to drive. Every important button or system is well in reach and you don't need to look away from the road to look for anything. I can tell you for sure that the final decisive factor of what car to buy was won by the Civic exactly because of it's interior. I had equivalent options but when I got in I knew this was the place I wanted to be everyday I had to drive.
Little things I should have said and done:
...I just never took the time, so goes the song. So goes Honda. A flip key, a rear wiper, windows that close and rear view mirrors that retract automatically when you close the car are thing that should be there. Two fake exhausts aren't all that bad but there's no point for it either. A start button when there is a key it's also pointless. Still cool, but pointless nevertheless. The key could be the start button. The Civic is also Sir Beeps-a-lot.
I haven't tried it and I wish I will live my whole life without having to test it, but there are safety features everywhere. Traction control, vehicle stability, airbags, ABS, EBD, SRS, you name it. Good to know they are there if ever need them. Definitely a must have these days.
Show us the money!!:
Ok, enough bla, bla, bla. Let's focus on what a car is for; Driving!
Engine start, stable 1500rpm warming up. No noise, no trembling, smooth, just great. The clutch is light and you hardly need to put any pressure to use it. The throttle pedal starts early and is also very smooth. Rev it a bit and the quiet little engines shows you he can sing. This car reacts rapidly, sometimes too rapidly. It takes a bit of getting used to such rapid response of the wheel, but once you get it, you love it. The 1.4 is not a race car nor did it ever intended to be. It is an "honest" engine that let's you decide how you want to play it. People who like quietness, get good milage, very linear power distibution and driving is so easy a child could do it. But today you are in "F1 mode"; Ok, don't expect 0 to 60 in 5 seconds and 200 mph, because you won't get it even if you go out and push it with a Veyron, but you do get a fun car to drive with fairly good acceleration and that holds on to the road with everything it has. If you go too far and brake, it brakes! I must say that one of the things it impresses me the most is its braking. The downside is that it starts drinking fuel as if there was no tomorrow when you ask it to hum. But the sound above 3500 rpm...Priceless. Screw the ozone layer!
Honda should be sued (kidding) for making us want to be street racers. I can only imagine the 1.8...
The best thing since bread came sliced:
No. Surely there are better. I have driven a few that could have costed my life if I were irresponsible and I would have died very happy, but the Civic with this 1.4 engine is a good all round car for young and not so young, incredibly versatile and stuningly beautiful. A good choice anytime.
I am very happy with it (time may change my opinion, but I hope not)