2003 Honda Civic LX 1.6 NON-VTEC from North America


Reliable, spartan, and economic


Mechanically, nothing has gone wrong in the first year of ownership.

General Comments:

I purchased this car for economy and reliability a little over a year ago, thanks to the 167,000 miles on the vehicle I had at the time (a '96 Pontiac Grand Am), and the 1.9% financing they were offering on the new '03 Civics. I picked it over a new Toyota Corolla for the sole reason that the local Toyota dealerships didn't have any stick shifts with the right options available.

After driving my shiny new Honda for a week, and being almost scared of the handling of the car, I happened to check the tire pressure, and found that all four tires were at 42psi from the dealership. I dropped them all to the recommended 30psi and received a pretty radical improvement in handling. CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE OFTEN.

Compared to the 1996 4-cylinder Grand Am I traded in, this car is a total DOG, performance wise. It'll get you around and do what you need to do, but it won't excite you, either.

Little details: The driver's floor mat is intended to be held in place by little hooks that screw into the floor. They came loose within weeks of purchase, and have at this point become ridiculous. They don't stay in place, and your floor mat rides up to your clutch pedal in no time flat. Be prepared to constantly tuck it down where it belongs.

Little details #2: This car is the most badly-sealed vehicle I've ever owned... last winter I scraped the INSIDE of the windows as much as I did the outside. If it fogs up on the outside, it'll fog up on the inside.

With all that said, the car now has 25,500 miles on it, and the only repair of any kind that I've had to do was to patch the right rear tire when it picked up a screw and started leaking.

It has lived up to expectations, but at the same time has me missing the Grand Am. We'll talk again after I've had it FOUR years. :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th September, 2004

2003 Honda Civic LX 1.7L from North America


Just drive and forget your car worries


My alternator started producing to much voltage. Almost ruined the electrical systems.

General Comments:

My Honda is getting so so gas mileage for some reason yet I drive very carefully.

The interior is noisy, just watch what tires you put on, really makes a difference.

Engine seems underpowered when acceleration is needed, not enough torque.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st September, 2004

2003 Honda Civic EX 1.7 16v VTEC from Brazil


Reliability comes for free


The alarm control (Honda's original) stop deactivating the alarm. But the dealer has fixes.

General Comments:

This Civic is a really good reliable car. This is the top version here in Brazil. The VTEC engine is way much better than the regular 1.7 (LX - LXL). Those 130hp are good, but sometimes I feel that there's some lack of torch.

The interior denotes a high building quality, but some of the plastic in the dashboard looks cheap.

The leather seats are comfortable, and there's plenty of room in the interior. I really congratulate Honda for making a plane legroom space in the back. The luggage space is small.

The automatic transmission does take some of the engine power, but it is very confortable to use in the day to day traffic. The automatic air conditioner keeps the interior cooled whenever we feel like it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2004

2003 Honda Civic Type R 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Only recommended for track days


No major faults apart from paint and rattles.

General Comments:

I liked this car for a bit, but now I can't stand the thing, driving it is extremely wearisome, due to the ride and the engine.

I'm sick of constantly rowing through the gears trying to find the power band, especially on twisty roads, you are either screaming it to death or having absolutely no torque or power at all.

Is it quick? It sounds quick, but recently I had a guy in a 2.0 Carina E, giving me a run for my money (don't laugh they are actually a lot quicker than they look)

I think its lack of torque really is the problem with this car, it loses out on a many so-called slower cars in many areas, as for them being on a par with Subaru's, Mitsubishi Evo's etc... forget it, not a prayer of keeping anywhere near one.

Lots of paint problems, mine was silver, back to dealer several times, especially for blotchy paint on the bodykit areas.

The quality of the ride is appalling, I know its supposed to be a performance car, but even so I don't expect to get joggers nipple just driving it for an hour, the jarrs and bangs are simply dreadful, it also sounds like you are driving with a plastic bin wedged underneath due to lack of insulation.

Build quality is not good either, you close the door and it goes "ching", its built like a bean can.

The looks haven't grown on me either, looks a bit like a bread van I guess.

Interior build quality is also not good, my interior creaks and rattles a fair bit, not helped by the ride.

So all in all, I'm not impressed with the car or Honda UK, and yes I am selling it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th June, 2004

14th Jun 2005, 05:27

A clear case of having bought totally the wrong car, presumably without even bothering to test drive it first. Since a car is, for the vast majority, the second most expensive purchase any of us make, you have to wonder about the thought processes involved here (assuming any were).

The CTR does have a relatively narrow powerband, but any driver of the car having the slightest problem with an aggressively driven Toyota Carina clearly hasn't the faintest idea how to access it.

It's quite simple, really; change down, foot down, repeat.

3rd Jan 2006, 13:32

You are absolutely correct in one area, I bought the wrong car, no doubt about it. I prefer a torquey engine although I do see the fun in a screaming F1 type engine, unfortunately its not for me.

However I do not need advice on how to drive, I was just commenting on the fact that older cars that a lot of people dismiss on a whim are a lot quicker than people think. An old Carina E 2.0 has more torque and is quicker than almost any normally aspirated 2.0 saloon available today. Handling isn't the best though. I feel Honda could have made the Type R a hell of a lot better, I think research and development is sadly lacking in many areas.