Definitely NOT a spaceshipť - Civinfo
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 00:06 Thread Starter
 
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Definitely NOT a spaceship…

Note : After spending quite a while on this superb forum as a guest I want as a new member give you my impressions about living with the car during 80.000 km (approx. 50.000 miles). In an attempt to make this a lighter reading for the members I sometimes referred to a” song title”. It’s just for fun and not contagious…As English is not my native language, I apologize for errors.


I‘m very fond of this car. I can’t rephrase it any better as several members have already done before on this forum : “It puts a smile on my face, every day again.” (“Make Me Smile”-Steve Harley& Cockney Rebel). It’s unique mix of driving pleasure, power, compactness and practicality make it the perfect car for me. It reminds me strongly of the Lancia Beta Coupé with Volumex compressor in the beginning of the eighties : same power & driving pleasure but (luckily) far more practical and reliable (“Best Of Both Worlds”-Robert Palmer).

My Car : 2.2 diesel Sport , 06 , 5 door, Alabaster Silver Metallic, City Pack, Xenon, Spacesaver Spare. Bought new and done 80.000km (50.000 miles).


“Reasons to be cheerful “ (Ian Dury & The Blockheads)

-Concept :
I have to congratulate Honda for their courage to market a virtually unchanged concept car. It takes guts for a constructor to alter a car that profoundly exterior- and interiorwise in comparison with the previous model. Nice coupé look with the “hidden” rear door handles. Funny how some people can’t figure out how to enter it. Clever that the small rear doors open nearly 90 degrees. Very handy : electric folding mirrors. It’s a nice car although at the backside the designers seemed to have run a bit out of inspiration. About the five doors 2009 facelifted nose : Civ should sue its plastic surgeon for this nose job.
I can imagine that not everyone will find the ideal driving position behind the well designed and very effective blue-lit digital dash and multifunctional steering wheel, but for me, it works out fine. This car fits me like a glove (“Welcome To The Machine”-Pink Floyd). It’s a driver’s car : you really want to drive that thing! A perfectly placed practical board computer, addictive eco lights near the speedo counter, a comfy arm rest with much storage room underneath, a cooled glove box which can lodge an elephant but why a start button and a key? (“Start Me Up”-The Rolling Stones)
Honda made a compact car which is really practical. It beats the average boot capacity of its class by a stunning 100 liter! Last year, my wife and I went on holiday to France and returned through the Champaign region to collect the equivalent of Castrol 0W-30 for humans. We easily managed to get 11 boxes of champaign in the trunk with many luggage for 2 persons (we always think it’s gonna snow in summer in France (a few years ago, early september, it did !)). Even the coppers liked the car, why else they would take a pic ? (“Radar Love”- Golden Earring/ ” Milk Cow Blues”-The Kinks)
And then there’s the versatility of the rear magic seats : no problem to load that plasma screen….

-Brilliant ! diesel engine, torquey, smooth power delivery, rather quiet (a pity it’s not as quiet as in the Accord) . And it delivers, after a good running in, more than it promises. Thanks to Pottsy for the info about running in the car (it’s hard to find something worthwile about such an important topic)! You can even rev it high (for a diesel) and it keeps pulling (“Locomotive Breath”- Jethro Tull). The gentle turbo whine is never annoying. Bit of a turbo lag, but I will not whine about that. It’s an amazing piece of work from Honda and that for a first diesel engine ! Impressive how the engineers managed to tuck away this big lump under such a small bonnet.
About oil changes : my conclusion after a lot of reading inside and outside the forum :
I go for Castrol 0W-30 (no DPF) and let it always change together with the filter every 15.000 km (9.320 miles). By then, I sense that the car is a tiny bit less willing to go. Very moderate oil consumption in between (about 200 ml).

-Consumption :
Fairly economical. (Driving style : go with the flow and when there’s no flow, go!; nearly two thirds on motorways).
It went down gradually from 6.3 l/100 km (44.8 mpg) to 5.8 l/100 km (48.7 mpg) (“Long May You Run”- Stills-Young Band). And yes, it’s possible to drive more economically, but I don’t buy such a car for establishing eco drive records.
However, a dramatic increase in consumption occurred when changing the tyres (from Bridgestone to Good Year, see further on). From day one it went up to 6.4 l/100 km (44.1 mpg) , probably coinciding with the very cold (at least for our region, up to -10°) weather. After the temperatures did normalize and having checked the tyre pressure again it could just manage with 6.2 l/100 km (45.6mpg). Still amazed that another brand of tyres (I see no other possibility) can make that difference…

-Slick, accurate six gearbox

-Sharp steering with the well designed wheel. Perhaps a bit light at high speed but it keeps you alert. I like it.

-Brakes : just fine but not perfect. Could do with a bit more bite for my taste. Endurance is OK for daily use. Lots of brake dust.

-Road holding. In the beginning the car had a jittery ride in fast long bends (“Take It To The Limit”-The Eagles) : very annoying and not inspiring confidence nor driving pleasure. I could improve this by putting pebbles inside the spare wheel rim in the boot (“Take A Pebble”-Emmerson, Lake&Palmer). With this “salt on its tail” it goes like it is on rails, which is good for what it is : a dynamic family hatch, not a sports car. It feels definitely more composed now and corners like the best. This car can still amaze me from time to time. No noise from the pebbles once they’ve lodged themselves… Very important : be sure that the suspension geometry is perfect and the tyre pressure correct ! (see further on)
About the spare : no fuss with compressor and foam for me. If you damage the tyre side, you’re out of business (“The Needle And The Damage Done”-Neil Young). Changing a tyre costs me less time than using the foam and inflating the tyre with the compressor. Of course , I will then experience an inevitable fuss with the pebbles but this will be merely “therapeutic” at that moment : they’ll remember me of quiet, sunny beaches, where they came from…I’ll let you know if it works out when time comes…(“Late Again”- Stealers Wheel).

-Demo of a VSA system : February, a friday evening about 6.30 pm, the ring road around Brussels. Needless to say it’s pretty crowded on the four lanes. It’s wet, and the traffic (still) moves about 110 km/u (68 miles/h). I’m on the second lane. The car for me moves to the right lane. Before me there’s suddenly a gap of about 60 m (65 yards). Then, the truck on my right, perhaps annoyed by the move of the car now in front of him, “launches” itself without any warning into the gap (“Up Around The Bend”- Creedence Clearwater Revival) . Just in front of my already very short nosed car I see a huge fuel tank followed by a truck wheel. No time to brake (probably also not a brilliant idea regarding the fact that there’s an endless line of automobiles following and the trucks trailer is also coming up my way, both being not an ideal prospect for a long and healthy life). No time to see if there’s a car on the left lane but I sense in a split second there’s none and turn sharp to the left to avoid hitting the truck, immediately followed by a sharp turn to the right to avoid crashing into the barrier. The car does it without any overreaction and behaves “really cool”. Normally, I see it flashing, now I didn’t (no time), but I felt it was there : a good VSA….and a good car (“Breaking Your Fall”-Chris Whitley) that made me feel good too (the smile you know).

-Lights : the xenons do a very good job. A few members say the xenons are not that good in comparison with those of some other cars, but I can’t judge on that (first xenons, but definitely not my last!)(“Midnite Cruiser”-Steely Dan).

-Last but not least : No rattles ! (“Silence Is Golden”-The Tremeloes). Occasional cloink from underneath (otherwise it wouldn’t be a 8th gen Civ, would it?) but nothing to worry about.



“Flaws and all” (Beyonce)

-Ride and (lack of) comfort. No complaints on good road surfaces but …a harsh ride on poor roads and too much road noise penetrating into the cabin on coarse surfaces. During my extended test drive I found the comfort a bit too less and the noise a bit too much. And future tyre wear should certainly not improve things later on. Professional I drive quite a lot of km/miles on merely Belgian roads . Sometimes they’re more “Bagdad after the war” roads and then you better think twice. (“The Torture Never Stops”- Frank Zappa). Luckily the front seats are very good in partially alleviating the punches from underneath. But the quality of the rear seats in combination with the suspension make a ride in the back of the Civ something that could be used by a certain kind of people at Guantanamo Bay (I suppose the road surface over there isn’t that smooth). Every Civic driver should do the test and (once) take place in the back seat (“Ticket To Ride”-The Beatles) to experience what the rear passengers have to endure on very poor road surfaces.
Although the Sport version is standard delivered with the 17’’ wheels I made a deal to swap them for 16’’… Dealer said in the beginning that it wasn’t possible (“Making Plans For Nigel”- XTC) but I knew that on the official homologation form 17’’ and 16’’ wheels where allowed.
This is of course the easiest way to gain on comfort . With the self chosen Bridgestones Turanza ER 300 (very good overall rating in 2 (German) tyretests with one on a front drive car (Audi) the gain on comfort (harshness and noise) is perceptible. When I was later again in a standard “Sport” (courtesy car during maintenance) I instantly felt that I had made the right choice . Hey, don’t shoot me, that’s only my opinion ! (“For What It’s Worth”-Buffalo Springfield)
I would choose again these tyres, but impressed by the good comments of a few renowned members of this forum, I’ve changed them for the GoodYears GSD3 F1.Those offer indeed an impressive wet road performance. Downside :consumption went up from the day I’ve changed tyres. Too soon to judge about the longevity, which was excellent for the Bridgestones.
For me the other benefits over the 17 inch wheels are : virtually no tramlining, less risk in damaging the rims, a financial profit and we all know that torrential rains (yes, we’re also familiar with that here) and wide tyres don’t go well together. But the larger wheels will allways look better on the (a) car…
In “Auto Zeitung” (23/7/2008, I read for the first time a “Reifendimensionstest” testing one brand of tyre on rims with different inches instead of the common testing of different brands of tyres on the same rim. They tested on a VW Golf 18’’, 17’’ 16’’ and 15’’ rims with a Goodyear Excellence. Although 17’’ and 18’’ rims performed best on circuit the overall best performance on the road came from the 16’’ rims. Especially braking and handling was significantly better in the wet for the 16” wheels.
A while ago, there was a (great!) discussion on the forum about independent rear suspension versus rear beam. In the early nineties, I’ve driven a Citroen ZX with a “self steering” rear axle : it was the benchmark in its class for cornering. Like the ads promised it straightened out the bends…This car, without Citroëns hydropneumatic suspension nor independent rear suspension, was also a reference in its class combining a soft ride with an adequate damping and filtering. So, if PSA can do it…
The Civ’s suspension isn’t up to its task but I believe that with adapted shocks, it can do better. My next shocks will be the KONI FSH ones (thank you, Morris Minor, Juha and Gel !). (“The Best Is Yet To Come”-Novastar).

-No (not even optional) adjustable lumbar support (“Driver’s Seat” – Sniff’n The Tears); luckily I can cope with that but it should have been available on a car with premium aspirations (“You Can’t always Have What You Want” – The Rolling Stones).

-Visibility is ….not good.
It’s not the rear spoiler that annoys me most (although I must say it occasionally blinds the driver, checking his mirror, with reflections when sunrays are falling in at a specific angle (“Blinded By The Light”- Manfred Man’s Earth Band); on the other hand it reduces the glare of some backstabbers at night). No rear wiper is not really a problem as long as there’s “Rain X” (or similar stuff) , certainly if combined with heating the rear window.
The main problem are the thick C-pillars which block a lot of the sight. Luckily the Civ has big side mirrors which partially compensate for this. But also the A(&B) pillars sometimes hamper the sight at junctions, coming up a highway,... (“There Will Be No Next Time”-The Kids). By rain, it’s even more annoying as the wipers don’t cover about 5 cm (2 inches)… beside the A pillars “making them bigger”. (“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”-Bachman Turner Overdrive.)

-Restricted head room in the back if you’re taller than 180 cm (5.9 feet), but excellent leg room.

-Climate control with donkey aspirations : in the beginning sudden drop in temperature (much documented on the forum), now it remains stable (“Steamy Windows”- Tony Joe White).

-Rather poor heating : it will just do for the very rare “extreme” (in our region) temperatures of – 10° but I don’t understand how the members of the northern countries can cope with this. It must be adapted over there (“Permafrost”-Magazine).
It’s also not possible to warm both hands when they are both on the steering wheel due to the restricted mobility of the center air vent holes.

-Speakers : as some of our members have already pointed out : if Honda had just put some extra “Isolation”(-Joy Division) in the doors, the quality would already have been drastically better (and not only of the speakers !). And of course the Civ should have been equipped with an mp3 aux…(rectified with the 09 update).

-Cheap looking fuel cap cover but, most important, it did always open when it needed to !

-And yes the gas struts of the boot lid are very slow in opening but probably it is done on purpose for letting the rain drop off so you won’t get showered when opening it (“Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”-Monthy Python). In fact, when it gets colder, you have to lift it yourself (“First Men, then Machine”-Honda).

-Totally absence of any kind of standard body work protection, so you’re obliged to buy/negotiate a City Pack. I find this totally unacceptable, but it has become a habit over the years in (nearly) the whole car manufacturing industry. (“We’re Only In It For The Money” – Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention/”What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”-The Doobie Brothers).



“Trouble In Paradise” (Randy Newman) :

-Battery problem at 19.000 km (11.800 miles) (“Has My Fire Really Gone Out?”- Paul Weller). I felt it weakening for a few days but just managed to fire it up a last time (“You Never Failed Me Yet”- Sunzoo Manley) and drove it straight to the dealer who replaced the battery (under warranty of course). I just escaped an immobilisation. It’s a pity that so much Civs are affected: this will certainly harm Honda’s reliability index…and could have been foreseen.

-“Accidents will happen”(-Elvis Costello) at 20.000 km (12.400 miles). Although I’ve more than once lectured my sons about defensive driving, I just didn’t do that myself on a dual lane roundabout when overtaking a lorry on the second lane.The lorry gave indication to turn right, I took right, the lorry did’t and went straightforward, hitting me full on the right rear wheel (“Come Together”-The Beatles) and making me spun 250 degrees. It was a vast blow (there was a hole in the lorry’s bumper) and I was very lucky not to be thrown into the barrier separating the other side of the road. So far my BTCC (undoubtedly (in the past) the best racing in the world !) moment…
As my Civic concerns : no sign of debris on the road, not that much body work damage done and I could immediately restart but instantly felt that the car was hurt. The rear right wheel was not in a 90° angle with the rear axle. I limped back to the dealer. Entire replacement of rear axle, rear right wheel, shocks and some body and paint work. Dealer did a very good job and luckily it handles like before (yep, with the pebbles).
Dealer (he knows his clients) told me that there was also much attention paid to the (global) wheel geometry settings and said, with the result sheet in his hand, that the settings were better than when it left the factory…(“All Right Now”-The Free)

-Weak paint : When I bougt the car I asked the dealer if the perspex front grille was vulnerable to stone impact. He denied. He was rigth. It was the rest of te car that was. Last summer I “repaired” 54 stone chips (front wings, bumper and hood). Less than a month later, there were 6 new chips. Meanwhile there are many more stone chips and micro damages to the paint. I don’t count them anymore. It’s hopeless…(“My S**t’s F****d Up”- Warren Zevon). Instead of a touch up stick, Honda should’ve better delivered the car with an entire paintspray cabin. Never seen before on a car of mine but, apparantly, I’m not alone. Luckily, it’s not that visible on Alabaster Silver; on NHB or Milano Red instead… .
A friend drives a Seat Leon (2006, metallic paint, sport suspension). After 100.000 miles, it has a few chips, not more! Same story on the car parking at work with Audi, Volvo, Peugeot, Toyota, Mazda… The paint on my car is by far the worst damaged and there are some cars with twice as much km/miles as mine... At least, we now know why the Type R was restricted to 201 pk (198 bhp) : otherwise the paint would simply peel off at top speed…
And what does Honda do about this? They don’t even bother to send an inspector; for them it’s crystal clear : “damage due to natural ageing” and end of story (“Same old blues again”-J.J.Cale). (Are we lucky they’re not in the medical branche !) Excuse me but after all these years and cars I know when paint is crap and this one sure is ! My Honda lawn mower has better paint!
I can understand that such things can happen. What I won’t understand is that a constructor, worldwide renowned for its quality and reliability simply walks away from its responsibility (“Take The Money And Run”- Steve Miller Band). Needless to say this attitude will put many customers off . What is happening to Honda ? (“Such a shame”-Talk Talk).
When I bought my first Honda (halfway the eighties), this would have been unthinkable. But Honda was then bizzy building its reputation. I guess this is just the course of history : it goes on and the hunters of yesterday can become the preys of today. But Honda has always been a special case, at the same time capable of the best (the first ready to roll hydrogen car for the public) and the worst (the recent Formula 1 failure (“Dreams Of Power”)).

-Squeaking front windows : sometimes when opening the front windows, it’s just as if a pig is being killed! (“Pigs On The Wing”-Pink Floyd) . But this can easily be resolved : never take a pig on board and use silicone spray (once is not enough, buy a bottle!). The car sleeps always outside; perhaps this has something to do with it? Apparantly Honda has now provided a permanent fix for this. I’m gone find out…

-Door handles : becoming stiffer (on passengers side). Has been resolved by the dealer.

-Handbrake recall. Not a problem for me, I always park in gear.

I feel very sorry for some of our members with really horrifying stories about their Civs.(“19th Nervous Breakdown”-The Rolling Stones/ ”Careful With That Axe, Eugene”- Pink Floyd). This is my fourth Honda (amongst other cars), and I’ve never encountered serious problems (except the crappy paint). I’m also very satisfied with the competence of the dealer but I ‘m picky about them (“People Are Strange”-The Doors).



Days of future passed (The Moody Blues)

Quality of materials and built quality could be better so I’m concerned how it will age. (“I Keep A Close Watch”- John Cale).
-Weak paint, already mentioned
-Extremely scratch prone plastic dash panel: how on earth is this possible in a Honda ??? Luckily I was warned by the forum (“U Can’t Touch This!”-MC Hammer), so it’s still in a relative good state. Cross fingers that I don’t accidently sneeze on it…Honda has this rectified with the 09 update.
-Door handles : more styling than quality…
-Minor assembly faults : not 100 % correct aligned panels (unthinkable when “Made in Japan”( – Deep Purple)
-The interior front door and central armrest : which genius came up with the idea to cover those with that kind of cloth and was this before or after his/her brain surgery? There’s already a bold spot where my elbows touches it…(“Pretzel Logic”-Steely Dan)?

There was a time when accellerating hard in a Peugeot (309 GTI 16v) made the clock fell out of its dash. Those days are over but let’s hope that Honda has no intention to proceed on this “Dead End Street”(-The Kinks). I’ve been told that, back in time when founding father Soichiro Honda was still alive and kicking, being dissatisfied with the performance of his motor engineers, he would throw some tools at them (“Those where the days” - Mary Hopkin). I bet there are a few people at Honda who don’t regret that he is not around anymore (“Some Guys Have All The Luck”- Robert Palmer)


“The End” (The Doors) :

“Some may think I am severe in reviewing my Civ but “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”(-The Animals) : if I had to decide today for another car, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to make the same choice. This car is excellent value for money and a very rewarding drive (“Hallelujah”- Jeff Buckley). And for those who kick on badges : the Civic is the more exclusive car…” That’s what I would have said after one year of ownership. But if a constructor finds it normal that the paint is so badly damaged after two years then I would be very stupid not to investigate other options too.

The package of the Civic is unique. Honda was so close to make it the best car on the market in its class. If they take some of the remarks on this forum seriously and act according they’re own Mission Statement (“ Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction.”)they can succeed next time.

As I said in the introduction : I’m very fond of this “Mint Car”(-The Cure). It makes me feel 10 years younger, everyday again and that’s priceless (at my age). (“Midlife Crisis” – Faith No More). But it’s definitely NOT a spaceship. Spaceships don’t compose pothole symphonies…


ps : I can imagine that people who consider bying a Civic are interested in reading reviews. These give always the opinion of one person. To put everything a bit in perspective you should certainly read Wheelchair‘s contribution New to the forum and wondering whether to buy a Civic? Read this. which contains also some very interesting links.

Enjoy all your Civics !
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 00:17
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what a fantastic review!

VERY nicely done - especially the paint comments and your theory on why the R has only 198bhp - top job
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 00:36
 
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Great review — pleasure to read !
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 08:39
 
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Apart from the review (which is great!) your music knowlege is to be admired!
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 09:24
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The best car review I've read in years!
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 09:26
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Absolutely brilliant, honest and unbiased review. Having covered 57000miles in mine, I agree with every comment although fortunately haven't crashed mine, but have had 2 replacement clutches.
However, I took delivery of an 08 Accord GT last week and have been instantly impressed by the way it makes up for the shortcomings of the Civic. Quieter, more comfortable and roomier. I'll miss the Civic for all the things that made it a must buy in the first place, but not for the issues that convinced me to sell it.
The Civic is a brilliant car, but as an old school report of mine once said, "tries very hard, but could do better"
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 09:29
 
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Probably one of the weirdest things I've ever read

As for the CTR only having 198bhp to stop the paint coming off!? That ruins any credibility the review may have had.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 09:34
 
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Great review!!!
This is a very good sum up for future civic owners to know what they are getting in too, brilliant!!!

Last edited by Woette; 15th April 2009 at 09:44.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 09:38
 
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A well written review packed with information and contrasted with personal opinions, I enjoyed reading it! A+

(Can you tell I'm a teacher!)
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 10:13
 
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and the gearbox is slick...hmmm.... that's not what I think, however, the rest is okay. good job!
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 10:16
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Very, very amusing review. Hello fellow Belgian dude btw
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 10:19
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Great review and a thoroughly entertaining read.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 10:34
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A very well written review TRIAD.
By the song titles - A child of the 60's too, but as you can remember them - " you weren't there man".
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 10:55
 
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Jack the Lad .... Its all a purple haze man ...ON A STEEL HORSE I RIDE
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 11:03
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utecki View Post
and the gearbox is slick...hmmm.... that's not what I think, however, the rest is okay. good job!
utecki, the thread starter has the 2.2 which has an entirely different gearbox. You have the 1.8 which indeed can be quite a strange gearbox from time to time, i was the one starting the thread concerning this. As my car now has 23000 km the problem has become far far less frequent then before. When doing long runs the problem just isnt there anymore, i just play it down to driving with cold gearbox oil...
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 11:05
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I bet Phil Spector, regrets coming up with that "Wall Of Sound" hfb.
Looks like he will have 4 of them around him, for the rest of his life.
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 11:26
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Thanks for a wonderful and entertaining review
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 15th April 2009, 12:38
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I really enjoyed reading your review, thoroughly worthwhile read and laugh out loud funny in places.

I'd say you hit the nail on the head.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 17th April 2009, 17:51
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Exellent (p.s. its Free,not The Free)
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 17th April 2009, 17:54
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Very well written.
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