Autocar - Final report. - Civinfo
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 06:04 Thread Starter
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Autocar - Final report.

Autocar magazine have been running a Galaxy grey 2.2 ES for the last year. This is their final report before presumably selling it from their fleet.



Covnention is an effective killer of clever new things. "Oh no, we could never do that - it's far too unconventional", actually means "Oh no, we could never do that, we're far too afraid of it going wrong". Car companies are often a lot better than other big manufacturers at taking risks with new products - oddities such as the Mercedes CLS make our roads a much more interesting place to be - and this sort of adventurous spirit should be encouraged.
So I shouldn't be saying this, because it seems wrong to have a go at a really big company for trying to do something different. But if there is one thing really wrong with the Honda Civic, it's the bizarre interior. There is, in fact, more than one thing wrong with the Civic, but the interior is the most noticeable. Not only do bits of it not work very well (the speedo is obscured by the steering wheel and the stereo controls are curiosly offset from the driver, almost on the other side of the dash, which makes the hard to reach) but it will also date faster than an ironic mullet.
Still none of this seems to be putting people off buying Civics. In the last year they have multiplied and are now all over the place, which probably means I'm a picky sod and most people are worried by space, economy, build quality and value than by how something is going to look in 10 years. And most people who travelled in the Civic were amazed by the car's dash, especially at night, when it's illuminated by bright, clear blue and white dials that give it an impressive space-age feel.
But our car has done its job very well. It did the bulk of 25,000 miles we put on it in the hands of a staff photohrapher which meant a relentless schedule of pan-european drives and lots and lots of time on UK motorways. It didn't get washed very much, we serviced it once and it never broke down. In fact, apart from the service, the only time we had to take it back to the dealer (Chiswick Honda in London) was when the boot lock worked loose, meaning we couldn't shut the boot properly. The call to the service department went like this:

Me: "Hello, I've got a Civic and the boot lock has worked loose, so we can't shut the boot".

Them: "Fine, bring it in tomorrow morning and we'll sort it out".

Me: "Okay, see you tomorrow".

That worried me a bit. They didn't take my name or number or registration. So I turned up, fully expecting them to have precisely no knowledge of our conversation. But they did. And they fixed it in 30 minutes. And they were polite and helpful. It was the same when we had it serviced - quicky, efficient and on time. Just how a dealer should be.

So thats a good thing. Another good thing is the driving position and the steering. The seat goes low enough to let you get down on the floor of the car, the wheel adjusts to just the right place, and when you turn it, it's much more responsive than you expect. Diesel Civics have different steering from petrol ones - more feelsome and quicker reacting, if a bit keen to self centre too quickly.
Enough nice stuff for a bit. Here comes another serious moment, and this time its not just down to personal taste. The Civic has torsion beam rear suspension; that's essentially a large metal bar joining the rear wheels together. And it's noisy. I remember driving one at the launch of the Civic and thinking, "They're going to have to re-engineer the suspension because it's really noisy". But they didn't. So it knocks and thumps from the rear like something fundamental hasn't been done up properly. It cannot absorb the potholes and bumps and all the other stuff you have to drive over every day in the city. Yes, it means you get more boot space (the more sophisticated independent suspension employed by the Golf and Focus intrudes into the boot) but I had to hold my jaw shut every time I drove the Civic.
The noise and lack of dampening may not have been helped by the large glass roof, standard on ES models. It does a lot for the interior ambience, flooding the dark cabin with light, but cutting a hole that big in a five-door body shell can't be good for the cars rigidity.

But despite it sounding like the back axle was due to part company with the rest of the car, nothing fell off the Civic. It broke down once. Well more 'didn't start' than actually broke down. The engine cut out - a designed in feature that isolates the fuel and electricity in the event of a major crash or the car turning over. Odd, because the car hadn't been crashed or turned over. It had been sitting outside a colleagues house overnight. It's easy to reset - you just pull off a cover on the dash and press a button - and the manual actually tells you how to do it, instead of referring you to the nearest dealer, which seems to be the default setting for most handbooks. Which bring me back to the interior. All that silver plastic looks very Buck Rogers, but after 25,000 miles it was looking more like something my five-year-old Godson had made at school and then taken to the park for a kickabout. The silver paint had scratched badly on the door pulls, and the plastics around the bottom of the doors and on the seat backs were covered in scruffs scrapes where the surface of the material was scored, not just dirty.

We also couldn't get the Civic to manage anything like Honda's claimed 55.4MPG, averaging just 39.8MPG although this may not have been entirely the car's fault. It's first owner was a little heavy with his right foot and I suspect nine months of this seriously dented the car's economy. When he left it started to return around 42MPG, and I reckon longer in the hands of an easier going driver would have resulted in more improvements.

I have spent the last year trying to be convinced by the Civic. As a car for longer journeys it's great - punchy engine, admirable economy (if short of Honda's claims) and it's comfortable. It has never seriously broke down, needing only a couple of litres of oil and a pair of front tyres in 25,000 miles. And it's well though out; neat touches such as the hidden compartment in the boot floor which stops bags of shopping from falling over are very welcome. But as a car for a city dweller, and for someone who likes cars that ride well, the constant fidgeting from the rear suspension is enough to put me off. And I still don't like the interior.

Dan Stevens.




Figures:

Test economy: 39.8MPG

Expenses: 12,000 mile service (£175), two new tyres (£176), one litre of oil (£14.99)

Faults: Self-activating fuel cut-out switch, loose boot lock.

Price at new: £17,275 Current value (expected): £12,050

Last edited by czechplastik; 25th May 2007 at 06:11.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 06:11 Thread Starter
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So there you go, not overly positive, a few topics to discuss.

He mentions the steering is different with the diesel, compared the the petrol models. First I've heard of it. Obviously the diesel engine is heavier but I assumed the steering set up was broadly similar. Or is is purely the weight of the engine affecting the steering characteristics?

The fuel cut-out is mentioned, thats a few times i've read about it now, mystery problem, relatively common.

Good dealer service, I've read good things about Chiswick, an example of good service, even when they appear disorganised!

Interior dating? Not sure about this, but again not the first time I have heard that opinion, though curiously, always from journalists.

The Autocar fleet also consists of a Type R, will be interesting to track it's progress. The Civic features 6 times over the last year, presumably we will have updates on the R every 2 months.



And yes I did type it out by hand!
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 07:46
 
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I think this report is a little unfair. His main gripes are subjective and he gives me the impression he'd made up his mind that he wasn't going to like it.

How can he criticise that lovely dashboard?

Maybe he should stick to boring Golfs and Focuses if he can't open his mind!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 08:06
 
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I agree with the comments about the rear suspension. Its antique. But thats the price you pay, when its fashionable to have the "biggest boot" in the class.
IMHO the Focus suspension is superior and more sure footed on bumpy roads.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 08:33
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I must admit, my main concern going forward is the durability of the interior. It does seen a bit fragile!
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 08:42
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The Journalist make me laught...
Quote:
Not only do bits of it not work very well (the speedo is obscured by the steering wheel and the stereo controls are curiosly offset from the driver, almost on the other side of the dash, which makes the hard to reach) but it will also date faster than an ironic mullet.
I found this typical remark in all paper I read about the Civic... And by experience I know it's false. As written by C Vickgo it's subjective and this guy made is mind through previous article written on the car and just reproduce it for this part. Oh, did he notice that he has all the control he need for the stereo on the wheel ? Maybe he did not read the user manual and did not know that the seat can be adjusted ?

Same thing for the rear suspension, and I wonder if the problems he describe is coming from faulty rear shock absorber ?

I'm not sure that's good journalism...
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 09:07
 
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"The seat goes low enough to let you get down on the floor of the car, the wheel adjusts to just the right place, "

Me thinks he contradicts himself here slightly - if the wheel was in the right place he could see the speedo. I think he is just trying to controversial by disliking a great car!
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 09:10
 
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Some good points like the durability of the interior and the silver coming off door handles, personally I think if you want to make something look liked brushed metal, use brushed metal not plastic?!?! Don't get me wrong I love my car (probably a bit too much) but I dont look forward to seeing underneath that silver effect. As for the speedo, noel got it right... adjust the steering wheel, no?
Quote:
it will also date faster than an ironic mullet.
I really cant see this happening, I think quite the opposite. Civic's will shape the future for honda, I can see every Honda following suit(ish) in terms of design. Quite excited about how the new accord is going to look, apparently its a bigger more luxurious (if possible) version of the Civ.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 10:19
 
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i read this there are definatley some negative for out car but i still think its the best
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 10:26
 
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Very poor report for having this car 1 year and 25000 miles. Nothing more to say about the car?
We all know about the rigid rear suspension of the car. But the extra space fot the boot makes this inconvenience worth for many people. The concern about how would the whole interior look in 10 years is something that few people is actually concerned about. I know how the interior of a Golf looks now (not in ten years) and I still prefer my scratchy dashboard. About the comment that the steering wheel prevents you from seeing the speedo is simply that he's not able to adjust the seat and the steering wheel. At least from 170 to 190 cm there is no problem with this. It is the first case that I know of cutting injection failure.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 10:54
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechplastik View Post
"...the stereo controls are curiosly offset from the driver, almost on the other side of the dash, which makes the hard to reach..."
Rubbish! Does he complain about 99% cars where air con controls, sat nav controls + screen, 12V outlet, ashtray AND stereo is located on that area? Probably not.
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 11:02
 
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It's summed up by the journalist's name, 'C Vickgo'!

I don't believe his name and I don't believe the report.

He doesn't seem to like the Civic......and I don't seem to like C Vickgo or whoever he is!

"He's very much like Hitler, but without the charm!"

Charles H.

Last edited by Charles_Harding; 26th May 2007 at 10:39.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 11:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles_Harding View Post
It's summed up by the journalist's name, 'C Vickgo'!

I don't believe his name and I don't believe the report.

He doesn't seem to like the Civic......and I don't seem to like C Vickgo or however he is!
Er, Charles, I think the report is by Dan Stevens. Civic Go is a user here.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 11:55
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The comment about the steering wheel interests me. You might expect the seat height and steering wheel adjustments to be set for best driving position and comfort, but I seem to set both so as to be able to see the instrument panel fully. Find the same with other cars as well.

As for the suspension, I agree with the report. I was surprised to see that my daughter's Leon has the same type of torsion beam rear suspension but the ride couldn't be more different.

The interior, well it's plastic like all the others.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 12:13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pottsy View Post
Er, Charles, I think the report is by Dan Stevens. Civic Go is a user here.
Opps!

Sorry Mr Go!

No offence intended.

It seems as tho' my gripe is against a Mr Stevens!

Please remember, I'm an old man and there are so many different keys on this keyboard, and they are all over the place, not in any alphabetical order at all!

"Our only hope rests on the off chance that God does exist!"

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[quote=czechplastik;76417]

we serviced it once and it never broke down. In fact, apart from the service, the only time we had to take it back to the dealer (Chiswick Honda in London) was when the boot lock worked loose, meaning we couldn't shut the boot properly. The call to the service department went like this:

Me: "Hello, I've got a Civic and the boot lock has worked loose, so we can't shut the boot".

Them: "Fine, bring it in tomorrow morning and we'll sort it out".

Me: "Okay, see you tomorrow".


I honestly don't know what Chiswick Honda in London he's talking about, but it's clearly NOT the one I am used to! Maybe I should tell them I work for a car magazine?
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 13:05
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moocowuk View Post
[

I honestly don't know what Chiswick Honda in London he's talking about, but it's clearly NOT the one I am used to! Maybe I should tell them I work for a car magazine?
Tell 'em you work for Civinfo!

That'll brighten their day.

"There's one born-again every minute!"

Charles H.
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 14:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechplastik View Post
Enough nice stuff for a bit. Here comes another serious moment, and this time its not just down to personal taste. The Civic has torsion beam rear suspension; that's essentially a large metal bar joining the rear wheels together. And it's noisy. I remember driving one at the launch of the Civic and thinking, "They're going to have to re-engineer the suspension because it's really noisy". But they didn't. So it knocks and thumps from the rear like something fundamental hasn't been done up properly. It cannot absorb the potholes and bumps and all the other stuff you have to drive over every day in the city. Yes, it means you get more boot space (the more sophisticated independent suspension employed by the Golf and Focus intrudes into the boot) but I had to hold my jaw shut every time I drove the Civic.
I should really know the answer to this question, but I am having a Charles Harding moment .
I am sure that the French had worked out how to have independent rear suspension that didn't intrude to much into the load bay. I am sure that the Peugeot 305 estate had it, and it worked quite well.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 15:54
 
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Well I'm having a bit of a problem seeing the rev counter and other lights on the lower section. Seat is right on the floor, steering wheel is as high as possible, but i'm still looking down trying to see under the top rim of the wheel. Speedo is fine, just one of those things when you are 6'1 I suppose.
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 25th May 2007, 16:22
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles_Harding View Post
It's summed up by the journalist's name, 'C Vickgo'!

I don't believe his name and I don't believe the report.

He doesn't seem to like the Civic......and I don't seem to like C Vickgo or however he is!

"He's very much like Hitler, but without the charm!"

Charles H.
Oi! I thought I had come up with a punchy yet comical play on words for my user name. It took me hours!

I often chuckle to myself at how clever and witty I am.

Your cruel remarks sadly make it impossible for me to continue to enjoy any more of this simple pleasure.

Humble apology accepted by the way!
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