After having had my Civic for about 2,5 months and covered about 2500 kms (1500 miles), yesterday I had the opportunity for the first longer drive. Not a super-marathon-drive by any means (done some of those in other cars over the years) but still a much longer drive than anything else I have done in this car so far.
The trip was 2 x 300km (2 x 187 miles). Only a short bit of motorway, mostly A roads and some B roads (using UK road type naming). Due to this it took approx 2 x 3h 45min, so it was a good 7,5 hours in the car during one day.
Fuel consumption according to on board computer was 6,2 L / 100 km (46 mpg) with myself and a passenger in the car.
Driving was mainly calm, right on the allowed limit and a few v-tec red line up-shifts thrown in for fun.
Most of it was on cruise control.
So how was it for a drive like this?
Well, of course, it does not compare to a large Mercedes or BMW for this kind of driving, but then I did not expect it to.
But, for it´s size and price I am very happy with it.
I find there are 2 parts to this. Seats and noise.
The Civic seats are really good. Probably the best I have tried in such a small cheap car. Comparing to Vauxhall / Opel, VW, Toyota, Renault etc. I had no aches after the drive, no tired back or anything. Better that expected!
The noise is not too bad either. The only noise is from the wide tyres. But it is not too bad and I did not find it making my head tired.
ICE and Sat-Nav
An mp3 disc and standard audio served me well, though a upgrade of Infinites or something is still being planned.
The TA function jumped in a couple of times perfectly with clear traffic announcements, the RDS seeming to work well.
The sat-nav too worked fine. As usual though, if you really know your way around you can find a quicker route, which I did also on this trip. The level of detail on tiny gravel roads way out in the countyside is unbelieveable!
TMC info with roadworks etc also worked as I expected.
When setting off on a drive, starting in an area which is not "fully known" (or whatever the English term is) the satnav only shows direct distance to the destination (i.e. as the bird flies) and the direction with a blue dotted line. After about 1 km when I was back in known territory it started calculating and guiding. A bit strange I think as the roads were on the screen and it guided me to that place (although with a warning that it was not "fully known" area).
It rained for most of the drive.
I found myself chaning the sensitivity level between +1 and +2 now and then and also manually going to continous wipe now and then.
Also there is a relay-type clicking to the left (LHD car) which annoyed me when the ICE was turned down.
Power and gearbox
The little 1,8 had just about enough power to overtake. The long rev-range means you can keep accelerating without changing up longer than in many other cars.
As I have noted before however, I would like a taller gearing on 6th. The other 5 can remain the same however. I found myself changing from 2nd to 6th a couple of times and keeping it in 6th down to 55 km/h (35 mph). 110 km/h (70-ish) in 6th keeps it just below 3000 rpm and it pulls nicely from well below 2000 rpm in 6th. Not lightning acceleration of course, but smooth pulling when accelerating on the cruise button.
Most of the drive was on cruise control.
Of course cruise control is even more usable on a car with auto gearbox (this is my first manual car for a long time and my first with manual and cruise control). But it worked well. The buttons in the steering wheel work great, this is my favorite type of solution for this function.
It does not warn you however when it is not able to hold the speed on a steep down hill slope. Not many cars do - but it is a nice touch.
Overall I enjoyed the drive.
I had a 2 x 2 hours drive in a Saab 95 the other day - I would choose the Civic any day!
Responsive handling, good economy and very acceptable comfort.
If I did this type of driving all week long I would probably select a larger car, but for a few long drives per year there is no doubt that the Civic is very capable.
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