Very good quality, sensible motoring choice
Nothing so far, only 2,500km covered.
The new Civic is very good quality for the money, and performs its task of being a primary car very well.
I bought the Civic after much deliberation, and weighing up the pros and cons of new cars in the $15k - $25k AUD range. The following qualities are of note:
Best in class build quality; I certainly couldn't find anything as good without spending over $30,000.
The fuel consumption of the engine is exceptional for what the engine can do (I will expand on this below).
The interior design is quite forward thinking, and I found very easy to use and pleasant place to be. I was a fan of the digital 'multimeter' setup from the first drive, and it makes traditional instrument arrangements seem quite old fashioned. The interior space is very well used, and the rear seats are extremely accommodating for adult sized passengers in a small/medium car.
The Honda ownership experience - I have never heard a bad word about a Honda, and if you look on this site there are very few unhappy owners. They are bullet proof in reliability, and have generally above average resale value.
The car drives quite well with reasonable communication of how the car is handling. While it is not as sharp or inspiring drive as say a Mazda 2 or 3, I found that the overall package made up for this.
The downsides of the car in my opinion are:
Fairly bland styling. Don't get me wrong, it certainly isn't unattractive, but it won't stir much passion walking up to it.
Some have commented on the high noise levels when driving over course chip roads, and I must say that it is fairly loud. however, I'm sure this partly comes down to tyre choice and is not the sought of problem that would detract from the overall ownership experience.
I just want to elaborate on the engine in this car, as it is quite a ingenious piece of kit, and certainly not understood by Honda sales staff. The engine is the R18A, and it is a new engine design launched with the Civic. The brochure says it delivers 2 litre power with 1.5 litre economy, which is actually true. The engine delivers 103kw @ 6200rpm and 174Nm @ 4200rpm. This compares very favourably with the Mazda 3's two litre engine, very favourably, with the difference only 4kw and 8Nm. However, the Civic engine has combined fuel figures as 6.9 litres per 100km (for the manual), whereas the Mazdas' two litre engine is 8.5 litres per 100km. As a comparison of how good that is, the Suzuki Swift 1.5 litre engine has fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km, which is only marginally better, and the Civic is a much more substantial car.
The way it does this is through use of i-VTEC. Most people would be familiar with VTEC in it ability to provide screaming top end power. However, in the R18A engine, it is used to create a frugal engine and a 'normal' performance engine. Basically, under 3500rpm at up to 75% throttle load the engine works on a slightly different cycle, which is far more efficient than a normal engine cycle. The use of this part of the rev and power range (where most normal driving occurs anyway) is the key to the Civic's exceptional fuel economy; highway cruising in the low 5 litres per 100km is not unusual.
At the same time, the Honda engineers designed the engine to provide greater torque availability across the rev range, so the car feels easy to drive in city settings. The result is very impressive considering the engine is only 1.8 litres.
Enough about the engine...
Overall, I found the Honda provided the most economical choice if you are in the market for a frugal yet practical everyday car, and would highly recommend to anyone in the small/medium car market AUD$15-25k.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th December, 2007