Review after 7 months with a 2.2iCDTi Type S GT - Civinfo
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12th February 2011, 22:14 Thread Starter
 
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Review after 7 months with a 2.2iCDTi Type S GT

I don't usually write reviews but I thought my experiences of owning my Civic after 7 months may be of interest to others.

First of all, the car is in Urban Titanium which, if I'd seen it in the brochure no way would I have bought it, but in the flesh I think it's very different and therefore matches the looks. Being an ex-demo it had (what I believe to be) a few extras:

1) 18 inch wheels in a graphite colour (sets off the colour great)
2) Front and rear spoiler/splitter, yet to see another Civic on the road with this.
3) Uprated stereo with the loudest speakers I've ever heard!
4) Full Type S decals and badges
5) Parrot hands free kit (very good!)
6) Parking sensors

So why the Civic? My Citroen C4 HDi VTS was all paid up and I fancied something different. Plus, as it was depreciating pretty quickly I thought I'd buy something before it became too little to be a deposit on my next car. The Civic ticked all the boxes. It looked great, was a diesel so 50mpg was on offer and it certainly has a sportier drive. The drawback of this is that at 70 mph it is louder than the C4 which had laminated glass all round, plus the ride is a tad hard but not outrageously so (you can't have great handling and a soft ride). On top of this the Honda reputation (compared to Citroen!) sealed the deal.

So... in early July I became the proud owner of a Civic, much to everyones amazement (I'd always had Citroen's beforehand, 7 in fact, a mixture of Saxo's, Xsara's, C2's and a C4). After 6 months I can sum up my thoughts of the car in one word 'Good'. So why not great?

Well, I think my expectation of how much a Honda would be better than a Citroen was simply unrealistic in hindsight which has therefore left me a little disappointed. In shear stylistic terms the outside of both cars is pretty wacky and modern, with the Civic definitely having the better overall design than the C4 coupe, which from some angles was a little out of proportion. However, I think Citroen's designers had the interior sorted out better but it's only after you've owned the car for a bit do you notice the small comparative annoyances.

For example, when the lights come on during the day on the Honda you have to turn the dash back lighting up to see the speedo etc. Then at night you have to turn it down. Not so on the Citroen, it adjusted the lighting of the digital displays to match the ambient light levels when the head lights were switched on. Plus the materials Citroen used, whilst are not better quality, are more scratch resistant and therefore more practical for a 3 door. Classic example being the black plastic on the door cards and pillars. Being a 3 doors it's inevitable that the seat belt will tap it/ rub against it, as will passengers scrape against it getting in/out. I have found I have to use a black shoe cream to hide the marks on the Civic but after 3 years the Citroen plastic was unmarked, just needed a little wipe to get any scuffs off.

Don't get me wrong, both rattle a bit, had roughly the same paint quality, do 50 mpg and the spec was about the same. But stupidly I was expecting no rattles, stone chip proof paint etc. And the first time I pushed the drivers seat forward and it didn't return back to the original position I was baffled. My 1999 Saxo 1.1 base model did this......

So the slight tinge of disappointed is really my fault. I've sorted the stone chip problem out by having a film put on the bonnet and wings, don't let anyone in the drivers side and am very careful with dusting the plastics etc so they don't scratch (Honda are going to look at the panel in front of the rev counter during the cars service as it's scratched even with using a clean microfibre cloth). Speaking of the service, I have the Honda Happiness pack, it's a bit pricey but I have no doubt the level of service will be better.

On the plus side, the engine is a fantastic. Quieter than the PSA engine with a more even spread of power, a lovely tone and despite being 200cc bigger is as fuel efficient. Plus the cars faster and handles great, in fact the best since my Saxo VTR (so better than the C4 and C2 VTS). My other favourite part is the panoramic roof, it really lightens the cabin up. The size of the boot amazes me too, in fact considering Civics relatively small dimensions, the size the cabin is very roomy, clearly having the fuel tank under the front seats is a good idea (once you get over being able to hear it slosh about a bit when it's about 3/4 full!).

In the future I also know it will hold more than the 35% of it's value the C4 did, so that is good news. So the key question is, would I buy another, particularly when the heavily updated model is launched. Well if I look to spend around 20,000 again then the answer is No. I simply don't think a thorough overhaul will be enough as I think the current Civic is on a par with its contemporaries but no more. For example, the new Focus looks good and is getting great reviews, the Alfa Giulietta is stunning and dare I say it, the Citroen DS4 looks to be amazing (I've tried out the new C4 which it will be based on and the quality is eye popping, but again as the C4 is based on the old model it's not getting great reviews, especially in terms of how much of a drivers car it is due to I believe the torsion bar rear suspension, a trait the Civic shares).

So like I said, I think the car is good but held back from being great by not offering the complete package in terms of design and quality that I'd really expect of a Honda. If I could turn the clock back would I have bought it still? Truthfully I'm not sure. It is a better overall car than the C4 was but we're talking such small margins that the Civic is only a touch better. However, and if I'm feeling completely vain, then other peoples perception of the brand (with comments such as 'what a great make, well done)! may mean I would buy it again. However, we're back to the central point of the matter, I'm just not sure that the 'Honda' brand really warrants this level of respect over the likes of Ford and Citroen. Question is, is Honda getting worse, or the likes of Citroen better, the answer could be quite crucial to the success of the new model when it arrives.

Darren

Last edited by DarrenG; 12th February 2011 at 22:34.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th February 2011, 08:37
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Great and Honest Review Darren. Thanks for this
I traded mine in last year.. Why?
1. The paint (Milano Red) was dreadful..200 stone chips
2. The suspension....crashy and tiring
3. Tailgate ...not lifting..no rear wiper was liveable with but annoying
4. Interior plastics..dash mainly..very very poor/delicate
5. Rattles...Got one fixed..another started
6. The lack of memory on the seats was annoying to me too
7. The clutch was showing signs of failing...worried me..after only 24000 miles!
8. The Dealer was rubbish!!
9. Thinking about getting another?..........Lack of an Auto option on the diesel
+ No incentives from Honda ie ....0% VAT...few discounts...THey just wernt interested in selling me another
Pros:
1. Design
2. Space in the rear
3. The Diesel Engine..smooth and fairly powerful for 140 hp
4. The Cruise control is better than VAG..much more immediate
5. Nice driving position
6. This Forum!!...but my other Forum (Briskoda)is very good too
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th February 2011, 10:20
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Great honest review, i've had my 2.2 for 1 year now and am too asking questions, found so many little things that annoy me and stand out... hope the new model will be improved!
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th February 2011, 10:50
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It's refreshing to read an honest and objective review that covers both the good and not so good with detail.

I found myself nodding most of the way through, especially with your points regarding the small things, like the display lighting and easily scuffed door panels. I've owned two current model Civics and, though I've never had any major gripe, I've had numerous little ones, and when it comes to retaining clients, the little things are important too.

I too went to Honda expecting near bullet-proof build quality, only to find that, in my experience, it ain't necessarily so.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th February 2011, 10:58
 
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cant dissagree with any of the above comments.

I do love mine and love the design, look and drive. The engine is very good, but again general build quality and paint lets it down big time.

Would I buy another unlikley . might look at the crz in a few years time depending on build quality.

cheers
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 14th February 2011, 21:26
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Great review, Darren, I completely agree.

The Civic seems a bit of a Honda weak spot in terms of materials and development, but I still love the space, styling and unique interior. And, as you say, it's a great engine and gearbox.

Not over impressed at the dealer either, but haven't been bowled over by Mercedes either (new to me in the last 12 months). Interestingly, when we had a Skoda Fabia in 2004 (robbo please note ) the dealership in Plymouth was great. I started to buy bits for my Audi there too - identical but cheaper!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd March 2011, 12:17 Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your comments.

The car has now had its services at Dutton Forshaw Bexleyheath. All done in an hour, excellent customer service. They seemed very interested in how the car has been and my thoughts on it. They did look at the scratched screen that covers the rev gauge and reckon it would cost 1000 to fix as it is one entire unit. Not entirely sure this is correct so am about to search on the site!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd March 2011, 14:49 Thread Starter
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I've found a few references to the Type R screen being more resistant and that the whole unit does have to be replaced. Does anyone know definitively whether these screens can simply be replaced?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd March 2011, 16:16
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Good review Darren & I can't argue with any of it. Mine is the same colour & age & i've just had my 12,500 service.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd March 2011, 18:27
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Citroen are definitely getting better - DS3 is funky and tempting. But...its still French and therefore the head gasket will go at exactly 80k miles as per all French cars.

Don't take my word for it, my dad owns a garage and has at least one a week.

In fact I was there yesterday as he was doing a 307, a relatively new model so not a good advert.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 3rd March 2011, 19:34 Thread Starter
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You're absolutely right about the DS3, my other half has one and it's a very nice, well built car. It has not been entirely fault free, took the dealer nearly two weeks to fix a water pump...... Having said that, a C3 courtesy car was provided free and they had cleaned the car when it was picked up.

Had a sit in the new C4 when over there. Very nice! Still thinking the Honda will give me less trouble though!
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 14th March 2011, 00:24
 
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Hi Darren....excellent review, I have been driving my car for nearly 3 years (3 years end of May) and i have to agree with everything you stated in your review. The biggest dissappointments have been the paint (thin) and the interior plastics (cheap) but the engine (i have the 1.8 petrol) and handling have been good and service from Dutton Forshaw, Bexleyheath...second to none. Overall i have enjkoyed driving the car but would i buy again, maybe.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12th June 2011, 12:05 Thread Starter
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A year ago at the end of this month I test drove the car and took delivery in very early July. Time flies past, so thought it was time for another update!

The car now has paint protection film on the front bumper. Have to say it really has removed this annoyance with the car and justifies the cost. Whether you should have to pay for it though just to have peace of mind is another debate!

I've found the engine, after 14,000 miles has bedded in very nicely and truly is the best feature of the car. During my daily commute which is mostly around town on busy-ish roads I average 47 mpg which I think is very reasonable. Motorway runs see 55mpg easily so am happy on that score! Also found it's a treat to listen to even with the windows down, can't be many diesels you can say that for.

Annoyances? The quality of the interior trim grates a little still. Very easy to scratch/mark the interior plastics, particularly those by the seat belt mounts and in the back. To make the quality seem even more dubious, the trim by the back passenger seat on the drivers side even 'popped out'. Pushed it back in, heard it 'click' back into place so hopefully that's it...... Am thinking maybe when the dealer uprated the speakers they had to remove and it didn't go back right/damaged some of the clips. OK for now but will keep an eye on it.

There seems to be an annoying rattle up by the interior light in the front which comes and goes. I have found that if I close the roof blind on hot days it doesn't make the noise, so am just thinking that the plastics are getting a bit hot in there on sunny days and when it cools they contract at different rates (very Citroen like, the Saxo's, C2, C4 were all the same, on a summers evening the dashboard used to creak like mad!).

I mentioned in my first post that the likes of the Citroen DS4 may tempt me back into a Citroen and from what I've seen it looks great. I'll certainly be visiting my local friendly dealer for a test drive (we still know them well as we bought our DS3 from them). However, the Civic has given me a chink in the armour of my excuses for buying another Citroen. Apart from the trim annoyances it has been utterly reliable. Not a warning light when there shouldn't be one, not any problems at all. Which to be honest is nice and kind of lets me forgive the other faults.

If I could just get those damned scratches off of the cover over the rev counter I'd be really happy........
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12th June 2011, 13:55
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th June 2011, 18:22 Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for the link! As you have a Type R you may be able to help.....

I phoned Bexleyheath Honda today, explained the problem and gave the web site a good plug! I gave them the part number for the Type R perspex cover, 78259-SMG-E21 but they say this is the same part number as my Type S GT and therefore would still have the film and could therefore scratch again. Am seriously tempted as the all in price wasn't bad but am I misunderstanding what the other thread says i.e. does the Type R perspex cover still have the film? If it does, does yours scratch easily or do I have one that perhaps wasn't finished right?

Thanks!
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th June 2011, 18:48
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Good review! I recently test drove a Jazz and a C3 Picasso - and bought the Citroen. Better quality, better ride, more space inside and a far better dealer. That hurts for me to say as I have owned 4 Honda's and I loved my previous model Jazz, but there is something 'special' that seams to be missing from Honda at the moment, almost as if they believe they can rest on a previously good reputation at the expense of quality and service. I would love to buy another Honda, but not with their present range. The likes of Kia and Hyundai are quickly catching up and offer far better customer support - where are 5 or 7 year warranties Honda etc?
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th June 2011, 22:25 Thread Starter
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The C3 Picasso is very nice, our dealer had the 'Cherry' special addition and it looked a bit like a mini A Team van. Seems brilliant value for money.

If anyone is reading this with a Type R I'd love to know if the perspex over your rev counter is covered in a film or not. I've googled Type R interiors and the result isn't conclusive!
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 13th June 2011, 23:22
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Its my fault as soon as a buy a car thats always in the JD power survery it drops out, I bought the civic 2 years ago cos it was 5th / 6th in the JD survey, and guess what its out of the top 10
Sorry Guys!!!, P.S AMG63 if i had the money or a Range Rover Vogue, so beware new owners
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 26th July 2011, 19:32 Thread Starter
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Well, I've had the car over a year! Positives first..... No problems at all with the car after over 10,000 miles, excellent work Honda! Recent motorway trip saw over 56 mpg average, the engine is brilliant.

The interior is holding up well enough, scuffs easilly but now I know how to either avoid them or hide them! On to the gripes......

Well paint still chips easilly anywhere the protection film isn't e.g. Sides. Am also finding the body work is well..... Thin! I guess it's to save weight but I have kept my local painless dent removal guy in business. I lent lightly on it once to reach across the roof and dented it! I was horrified! Even my old Saxo could cope with that. I also have a strange phenomenan happening with the section of the doors under the window. Some nasty person had opened their door onto mine and dented it. The PDR guy came, fixed it but when he shines his UV light on the car there were ripples in the bodywork who he thought were a bad previous repair. Couple of hours and 50 later all done. However, the other door now has them. I can only see them when the car is clean and very shiny. If anyone has seen an old aircraft like a Spitfire it's a bit like how their metal panels are, just on a lesser scale. You can't pick it up on a picture and you have to have the right Angle and lighting. V odd, wasn't there before! I've only ever had this once on the front wings of my C2 VTS. Independent report showed that it was due to flexing in the metal due to the stiff suspension. Not sure what this is?

On another night I had a ride out in a Type R. My god it was fast. Have also tried out a Citroen DS4. Found it hard to get comfortable but v nice. Much prettier than the C4, not sure if it's worth the extra cash though!

Would be interested to know if anyone has had the same body work issue. It's a tad annoying, albeit minor. There's a type r for sale near where I live, will look to see if it's the same!
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 11th September 2011, 14:14
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For example, when the lights come on during the day on the Honda you have to turn the dash back lighting up to see the speedo etc. Then at night you have to turn it down. Not so on the Citroen, it adjusted the lighting of the digital displays to match the ambient light levels when the head lights were switched on
But the Civic does this? When you turn the head lights on it dims the speedo and vice versa.
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