I have recently bought a 1.8 Civic EX 2006 and thought i'd write a review comparing it with my Ford Focus 2.0 2006 as they are similar family hatchbacks.
The looks of the Civic is what I initially fell in love with. It is unique, like no other and looks so futuristic (like a UFO it is commonly said). The focus is a mk2 which is understated but smart (the mk2.5 facelift looks a bit better and more aggressive). The Zetec Climate which I own does have sportier headlamps over the standard model.
The Civic though looks sleek, lines swoop and connect all around. The light clusters front & rear swoop round and the exhausts are metal triangles. The ford is too conservative in comparison.
Civic 1.8 vs Focus 2.0.
0-60mph - Civic 8.6secs vs Focus 9.2secs
BHP - Civic 138bhp vs Focus 143bhp
Tax - Civic £180 vs £205 per year
The Honda iVtec is more free revving than the Ford Durateq and is a little less torquey, however it accelerates smoothly and sounds great. The Focus' engine is also great and has great pull when you need it also. The Civic returns better MPG though, I get around 33mpg from the Focus and 38mpg from the Civic. I anticipate with longer trips/more frugal driving I could get into the 40's easy.
Handling & Comfort is a win for the Focus. It is better at soaking up bumps and potholes and inspires confidence as it holds onto any road brilliantly. Steering is electronically adjustable with sport, normal and comfort modes and seats are supportive and comfortable. The Civic shares these traits too but just not quite as good in my opinion (but not too much in it). The dash of both cars have their strengths, the Focus is easy and straightforward but the Civic looks brilliantly futuristic and is very driver centric. The EX comes with loads more equipment too more than the equivalent Ghia spec on the Focus.
The space in both cars is good but the Civic is much cleverer in it's use. The rear seats fold flat easily and the base raise for useful mid section storage. There is several useful cubby holes and a massive centre armrest storage section. Visibility is better in the Ford though as the Civics C pillars and spoiler make rear visibility tricky, however the wind mirrors are larger and do a great job.
I have thoroughly enjoyed owning the Focus but am so happy to have the Civic now. Both are great and have their strength and weaknesses. The Focus is cheaper to buy but the Civic cheaper to run. I am expecting the iVtec to go on and on and on as well!
I would recommend the EX to anyone and especially the 1.8 manual, check the forum & wiki for advice on what to look out for.