1996 Honda Civic LSi 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


Reliable engine, but the marque is overrated


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


Reliable, neat and practical package with a great engine


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.