A Unique Perspective?
Just thought it time to post a few thoughts on my, sadly sold, civics...
First impressions: - The outside.
What can I say - having owned TWO civic 8gens (cdti and 1.8) they've never failed to impress me. When first released, people seemed to stop and stare, the unusual front end with the full width "glass" grille, almost insane edge styling all round, rocket-ship doorhandles at the front, and hidden (hello Alfa!) rears show true modern day design flair.
Only the rear and 3/4 rear view is somewhat marred by the quite large "rump" - still better than most cars, where the styling starts at the front, then gets lost midway (VW Jetta anyone?) - Swooping round to the back end (ooer!) shows a homage to Honda's of old, and indeed, does it pay respect to the original hardcore instigator - the mk2 CRX? I think so...
Now - Open the door... The inside:
What have we here? Some kind of alien craft, or has someone watched too much Star Trek? Neither, its a Honda, although you may be mistaken at first for thinking that such bonkers styling was the result of a citroen stylist getting in on the act... Well, Citroen used to have some design flair, but lost out in reliability stakes! - Sure there have been little niggles with the odd car here and there for Honda, but you know its going to all work even years along...
Settle into the seat... Nicely adjustable, but would prefer a dial tuning for the backrest, height adjustable too, to a degree.... adjust the wheel for reach and rake.. nice one... ah, now, for me, I can't quite see the top of the revcounter... ahh... not too much of a hardship. Everything is well placed and logical. Large central revcounter, with multidisplay (which you can tailor to your needs) - flanked with temp and fuel gauges... atop that, in the most sensible place of all - the speedo (which takes some getting used to its place).... In the middle, radio and a/c (or satnav in posher versions)... all very nicely done, and quite hardwearing... some of the switches feel a little brittle, but nothing broke in mine...
Gear lever and handbrake ideal for me, nicely weighted too - gerchange seemed a little clonky at first, but my car was pretty new....pedals (lovely drilled jobs) nicely placed, weighted.... ooh, a footrest too! And plenty of room for my size 13s!
Looking outward, there's little to see, as the bonnet sweeps away sharply, the mirrors are in a decent place, offering plenty of rearward vision - but the thick a-pillars could be a bind on tight junctions or twisty roads... also the c -pillar can be a pain for shorter or taller drivers, making certain tasks tricky.... that rear split also polarises opinion - thankfully, either I'm the 95th percentile, or just plain blessed, because nothing was a problem for me when driving!
Well, owning both "popular" versions of the civ, there are certain differences of course....
The petrol is a docile unit below 4k... fairly quiet up to that point, but lacking a bit of poke - drop a gear or two and "give it some beans" and it shows its true character. Its a nutter! In fact when I first did this, my wife thought I was actually attempting to kill the car!!! You do need to press on a bit to get a decent turn of speed - torque and bhp are right up in the upper reaches of the rev band... When you do this, noise (of course!) increases - not too bad for a short blast, but even motorway driving for me was a chore, as I was almost always up the 3500 to 4500 rev range in top... and economy, whilst not bad, wasn't what I hoped for... Maybe my car lacked decent sound deadening (it seems most civs lack a lot of this?)
The diesel - for me, a much more CIVilised motor... punchy, reasonably quiet, and downright miserly at the pumps. I do a lot of motorway travels (days out, holidays etc) and this was a blessing for me - not a car to really hammer down country roads, but a nice, steady cruiser... still had a slug of power, a lot lower down the rev range, due to massive torque... didn't trouble me on long runs, unlike the petrol - I never arrived where I was going to and not being able to hear people talk to me!
Both cars pretty comfortable - soaked up most ripples and bumps, but there is a tradeoff for nimble handling over very rough roads, sometimes it can rattle your fillings, but then that's most of the roads in the UK!
VSA and ABS are standard. Thank god for that, I've used them both HARD (without incident I may add) - the brakes are pretty strong (better in the petrol perhaps due to being lighter at the front) and the steering is, for those not used to it, razor sharp (in fact I forgot how good over most cars it is in a recent reunion)
The civic is a very practical car... plenty of "odds and sods" space around the car (I think the middle arm rest thing is a joke though) and the cooled glovebox saved a couple of cans and bars of choc in the summer! - the boot is pretty decent too, I think a certain time-travelling madman must have had a hand in that - never had any problems with luggage or loads... if something was too big - flip the back down! - And that's also easily done.... for more fragile loads - flip up the rear seat base and you can be amazed at what you'll get in there (mountain bikes according to Honda) - never carried bikes, but did carry a TV. If the seat base is down for normal use, you can still bung things under the seat. Clever.
Heres the thorny part... I had both petrol and diesel.. I know some (a lot) of diesel owners had problems (some really hellish) - I didn't but then, to be honest, I didn't have the car long enough (now I will sulk as I realised I was a prize prat for getting shut of it) - the petrol only had one fault - creaky rear suspension, which was apparently, shocks fitted upside down!
Other than that - not one peep out of them.... not one.
Would I recommend? Abolutely. Doesn't matter what engine is in it, doesn't matter if its R/S/GT or whatever... its a Honda... they're pretty darned reliable (once the bugs get ironed out) and pretty frugal (real world urban running in my petrol never lower than 43mpg and I don't hang about) - (diesel was around 47mpg)
I've owned various Hondas over the years and just love them - I like the company, what it stands for and the products it makes (well, not too keen on the Insight, but ya can't be perfect all the time!) and the dealers I deal with are spot on (my service manager and I go back to 1987 when my dad bought a car from the garage he worked at!!!)
Honda's family car, is a true gem - different to the sea of ever similar "euro-clone" drudge, ever so slightly bonkers inside and out, and just makes me smile - nothing looks like it, and I doubt, nothing ever will ever again.....