1996 Honda Civic LX 4 cylinder from North America

Summary:

Most cars should run as good as this

Faults:

All 4 power windows failed from 250,000 miles until the last one failed at 290,000 miles.

A/C developed some blockage, working only intermittently around 280,000 miles. Not pleasant when you couldn't get the windows down!

Stock radio volume control developed a mind of its own, either refusing to go up or down, or in some cases hurting your ears.

The parking brake button started receding into the handle after replacing rear brakes, requiring the use of a double "A" battery to release the parking brake!

Minor overheating problems around 270k miles.

General Comments:

One hell of a reliable vehicle, and if you can find a used one with low miles (ha!), grab it!

Our Civic was donated by a fellow employee in our non-profit for use as an office car for pickups and deliveries, which I mostly drove. After 320,000 miles, we were not able to get it smogged, and used a California buy back program to get rid of it before any significant mechanical problems happened. This thing drove my friends and I all over the state of California, and it wasn't until it reached 300k that noises in the transmission started to get worry some, although that might be because I never put any fluid in it!

Beyond normal wear and tear (brake pads, 1 alternator, 1 belt and 2 clutches) I can't recall any major problems with the mechanics. The dash kept its look, and the seats kept their firmness. Even with the advanced miles we put on it, the performance never changed at all. This thing ran pretty peppy, which was very crucial when I had to get places in emergencies. Gas mileage was excellent throughout its life.

I just wish the office would have had the money to perform the work on stuff like the windows and the A/C, but that's the breaks in the wild world of non-profits. But considering the other models that the office has used, mostly American models, this has been the most trouble free car and the Honda engineers should be very proud of their accomplishment.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2007

1996 Honda Civic LSi 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Reliable engine, but the marque is overrated

Faults:

Exhaust rattle

Rotten door

Worn suspension

General Comments:

I was given this Civic to be a cheap car to run, because Honda's are "really well made".

I think this is a bit of a myth in all honestly. This Civic, on which the Rover 400 is based, is hardly a great example of good build quality.

It is a low mileage car, and although it is ten years old, I know it had been suffering from the problems listed for many years.

Basically from what I have seen, the engine is fantastic. It would take a lot to kill it, but it is clear Honda have used very substandard parts elsewhere.

Bodywork. The door was going rotten from the bottom after about 5 years. This is appalling really, and I am told it is a combination of poor quality steel and poorly designed seals and drainage points.

Suspension also wore quickly. I have had Renaults with over 100,000 miles on their original suspension without any problems, so you would think a 60k mile Civic would be fine - WRONG! The bushes must also be substandard as they are worn.

Lastly the exhaust. Well actually the heat shield. The detailing is poor and the bolts rot away, leaving it hanging down and rattling again the exhaust.

Overall I think Honda's and all Japanese cars are overrated. The parts are much more expensive than european cars, and I can't see why anyone buys them. It is an ugly car, it isn't built that well, and costs a lot to insure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th November, 2007

1996 Honda Civic Hawaii 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Reliable, neat and practical package with a great engine

Faults:

Indicator stalk didn't automatically cancel.

Front wheel bearings wore out and needed replacing.

General Comments:

I purchased this car for £800 to serve as a run-around. Upon purchasing the vehicle, I carried out a timing belt change as a matter of precaution, and shortly afterwards I needed to put on a new set of tyres as the old ones had barely legal tread on them.

Although it's a small car, the Honda Civic (mine was the 2-door coupe) is able to transport 4 people adequately (5 is a bit of a push when 3 squeeze into the back). When transporting loads, with the back seats down and the rear parcel shelf removed, the amount of space that is created is quite surprising. I was able to shift furniture, an 8 foot Christmas tree and lots of building materials (not in one go, of course). Mine started first time, every time, and inspired confidence in me that it will not break down.

The gear changes are smooth and, although it's just a 1.4 litre engine, it's still nippy and fun to drive. The driving position is very low.

Fuel consumption is pretty good too. I drove from London to Paris on a full (40 litre) tank of fuel, with 4 people and loaded with luggage. There was still petrol left over when I got to my destination!

Few cars are without their faults, and there were two issues that I've had with this one. The indicator stalk didn't auto-cancel, but I didn't bother fixing it and just manually had to cancel it after each turn. Also the front wheel bearings began to show signs of wear as the car would hum loudly at motorway speeds. However this is to be expected after having covered some 100,000 miles.

Other than that, I can't fault it. The engine is superb and didn't miss a beat. The transmission was totally reliable.

In summary, the car cost me very little to purchase, very little in terms of maintenance and fuel, and did not fail me. It provided me with 12,000 miles worth of trouble-free motoring before it was unfortunately written off in a car crash. I'll always remember it with fondness as the best automotive investment I ever made!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2007

29th Feb 2008, 14:56

Good review, but I have problem with it, you can't remove the rear parcel shelf on a coupe because I've had a civic coupe sr and its fixed.