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Old 28th June 2011, 20:39   #1
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Default The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!


I had been driving my Ford Fiesta SXi 1.6 Duratec for 4.5 years. It clearly was showing its age in its internals. There had been major issues when I purchased the car and Ford & its dealers had been pretty lousy in dealing with me. There were issues cropping up now around the A/c cooling being ineffective & the speedo stopping/starting working when I went on bumps. It was still a joy to drive but I was getting sick & tired of interacting with MPL Ford & their pathetic service. The service had been good initially in 2006-7 but had been in a free-fall ever since. Also, the car didn't have safety features that had become standard in lower segments (airbags, ABS etc). This was also a key point in light of what I will mention below. Needless to say, given my Ford experience, reliability was a major driving factor.

In mid August 2010, I started looking around for options. This was the time when VolksWagen announced the launch of Vento and it coincided perfectly with my need for a new car.

My wife was initially reluctant and then became as equally excited as I was. She was instrumental in taking the entire process through. That's when I realized she was as big, if not bigger, a petrolhead than I was. This was good as my job requires traveling quite a bit and I tend to spend a lot of time working (at home and office).

I never considered buying pre-owned cars simply because I didn't know a resource like Team-BHP existed that would help me in making the right purchase decisions.

Pics are at the end of the post. Please forgive any mistakes in semantics/spelling/grammar as we wrote too much to control the text effectively. :-)

The Initial Chapters

Coming back to the story...

The first one to say no was my wife. I told her that I would not look at cars beyond 10 lakhs., she was somewhat convinced. Then it was my mother. Her argument was "Your current car is really good looking, performing well, no problems. Moreover, just keep this car to bring home your child, then you can buy a new car". Yup, my wife was expecting at that point in time. I told my mother that I had made my mind up to buy a new car due to safety reasons at a minimum and there was no going back on that and I would bring my first-born in the new car.

I checked the other cars in the 10 lakhs range and Vento, City, Maruti SX4 and Toyota Innova came up for our consideration. My wife suggested Tata Safari Dicor, but I was not happy with its reviews, so it never made to the final list. My wife was initially not happy with SX4, but said "Ok" later when I told her that it was a good choice. So, the main contenders were the Vento & the City with the SX4 & Innova being outsiders.

Volkswagen Vento being the first choice, my wife called a VolksWagen dealer in Chennai. they told us that Vento will be launched in Chennai on Sep 10, 2010. While waiting for Vento to be launched, I checked all possible websites and TV shows for the review of Vento. Unfortunately, even TDing the Vento was a long way away.

So, on 23 Aug 2010, my wife called Sundaram Honda and spoke to a salesman and we decided to go for a test drive on Saturday Aug 28, 2010.

We were looking for Maruti dealers close to home so that we could go to the showroom and also test drive, but we never called any Maruti dealer.

When it came to Innova, there were a hundred variants and I felt it was really not worth looking into the minor differences between any two variants. My wife was not happy with Innova either.

The Inspiration

On Aug 24, 2010, I woke up to the thought that there was no point in buying a car which was in the same range as Ford Fiesta and I had to buy something which was a grade higher than my current car. This was due to the fact that my purchase would be something I would have for at least 5 years. When I told my wife about my decision that I wanted something better, she readily agreed and asked my for my budget. I had 15 lakhs in mind. We spent a lot of time on working on our finances, mainly because we were expecting our first child in early 2011. My wife, being a CA, had a different approach to the budget and capped the EMI at INR 15,000.

Then it was time to look at cars which were within our new budget. Volkswagen Vento, Honda City and Maruti SX4 just fell off our consideration. The new choices were Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, Toyota Innova (did not stand much chance, but was still being considered) and Chevrolet Cruze. Again, time to look at reviews.

This time for Civic, Corolla Altis and Cruze. The websites were the primary source of information. Cruze looked amazing in all photos and the sunroof appealed to my wife a lot (so Cruze was her first choice initially, followed by Civic and third was Corolla Altis; Innova never made it).

On 28 August 2010, I took my wife and parents to Sundaram Honda showroom. We met the salesman (may be that was a mistake, we should have told them that we were now looking for Civic and not City, we might have got someone who knew Civic better) told them that we wanted to have a look at Civic. We saw a beautiful white 1.8 V AT in the showroom. It looked amazing - inside and outside!! I liked the idea of the dashboard slightly being tiled towards the driver - for easier access to adjust the air-conditioner, music system, etc. I wanted 1.8 S MT, which they did not have in display, but was available for test drive. The differences between S and V were leather seats, fog lamps, rear parking sensors and chrome in the handles and doors. I knew that I did not want leather seats ever again in my life. My Ford Fiesta had leather seats and it was a torture to drive it after being parked in the sun for while. Also, I felt the additional features in the variants just did not justify the difference in price. And, I wanted a MT because I felt an AT was not a necessity (Was I right? to be answered later).

It was after we came out of the showroom for a test drive that we realized how old my fiesta looked. It had always looked very good in our eyes in spite of its age. My mother too agreed that it did look old! We took a 3-year old 1.8 S MT civic for a test drive.

The Moment

I got really excited and started driving and all of a sudden, the security guard just lowered the bar of the gate and I instantly braked and the car stopped a fraction of a second later. Probably, that's when I started falling in love with Civic. We took it for about a kilometer-long drive and it was very smooth. We loved its smoothness of ride, the sheer power, the awesome dashboard and the drive-ability. We went back in to the showroom and started checking the prices and possible finance options.

Sundaram Honda said they would buy my Fiesta and called the valuer. Instead of waiting, we told him that we would go to the Chevrolet showroom (it was just in the same building). The appearance of the showroom was absolutely no good - cars were dusty and no one making any effort to sell. We saw a Cruze in display and it looked quite impressive from outside. Somehow we managed to get someone to open a Cruze so that we could look at the interiors. We were shocked by its interiors. It just did not look like a car that was more than INR 15 lakhs. My wife and I exchanged looks. She got a brochure from one of the salesmen and there was another shock - the price was way higher than what we had seen in Carwale. I had done some research on carwale and got a quote that was 2-3 lakhs lesser than the showroom price. I told her that even if I decide to buy a Cruze, it will not be the one with the sunroof and she immediately struck Cruze off our list. I would have anyway done the same but for different reasons. We went back to Honda showroom. Wow, now we noticed the difference between the two showrooms - particularly in appearance of the showroom and the interest of the sales force. Honda showroom was lively and inviting, while Chevrolet was absolutely not so.

We were given a brochure of the Civic. The colour we all wanted was the metallic purple, but we got to know that it was not being offered anymore. The available colors were black, white, polished metal metallic and red. I ruled red out because my ex-colleague had it and I did not my car to remind me of him. White was also ruled out because most cabs are white in color. My mother was against black (for sentimental reasons), so it was polished metal metallic.

Now, the price. It was 14.xx lakhs on road. But the salesman told us that if we were to buy the car in August 2010, we would be eligible for free insurance offer for INR 47,000. By "buying", he meant that the car had to be invoiced on or before 31 August 2010 and they did not have a 1.8 S MT. They had a 1.8 V, but I was not sure if I wanted to spend about INR 2,00,000 extra for an automatic car and between 28 and 31 August, I knew I did not have enough time to decide without looking at my other alternative of Corolla Altis. The salesman said that Honda might extend the offer for the next month also, but they cannot commit themselves about it.

By then, the valuer had a look at the Fiesta and said he would be willing to take it for INR 2,25,000. Reasons: it was a petrol version and only diesel was selling in used cars market. This was a big shock to me. We told them that we will need to think about the price they had offered for the Fiesta. We also told them that we were looking at Toyota Corolla Altis and we will need time to decide on whether it would be Civic or Corolla Altis. Then we inquired about the waiting time. Sundaram Honda had only one Civic and that was not the one which I wanted. They would get more cars by September 3rd week. I decided to check Corolla Altis before finalizing on Civic. So, I told the Sundaram Honda salesman to let us know about the free insurance offer and that in the meanwhile, I will try to get a better price for my Fiesta.

We came home and it was my wife's turn to call banks for car loan. She checked with HDFC Bank and we were offered a discount on the processing fee and on the interest rate as well. HDFC Bank promised to disburse the loan within 3 days of getting the documents from us. Someone from HDFC Bank came home and took the documents from us and said that they would get the approval for the loan amount and rate of interest which would be valid for the next 30 days and we can avail it within that time. If we do not avail it within that time, they would need to get the approval again. We told them to keep the loan amount as INR 8,00,000 and that we had not finalized on the car and dealer. The rate of interest promised was 9.5%.

During the next week, we decided to TD the Corolla Altis and my wife and I went to Lanson Toyota in Cenotaph Road. I looked at Innova and Corolla Altis. My wife wanted light blue color, which I consider to be an appalling color for any car. I test drove the Corolla Altis. It was a 4.5 year old car. I drove it for about 2 kilometres. The car felt well-built but when compared to the civic, it came second in all respects - drive-ability, interiors, exteriors.

We came back to the showroom. We asked them if they would take our Fiesta. The valuer came immediately, took the key from me and went out to the car. We were discussing on the price. The salesman offered free sunfilm and footmats. He also said that Corolla Altis is being given a lot of discounts. The difference between Civic and Corolla Altis now worked out to INR 1,50,000 which was a considerable amount. The valuer said he would take our Fiesta for INR 3,00,000. Wow!! I was ecstatic and the balance was now tilting more and more in favor of Corolla Altis, much to my wife's dismay.

We came back home and passed by the VolksWagen showroom on our way. We were discussing with my mother about Corolla Altis and how I liked its features and the test drive and the discounts offered and the price at which they were willing to take the Fiesta. My wife was complaining that she could feel all the bumps on the road and it can no way be compared to the smoothness of the Civic and the interiors were looking better in Civic (digital display, dashboard tilted slightly towards the driver, etc.) and she also said that I was actually compromising on quality by choosing Corolla Altis over Civic. I tried to reason with her that even if we assumed that we would get free insurance from Honda, Corolla Altis was better because they offered a higher price for Fiesta. She said she would check if they would take the Fiesta even if we did not buy anything from them. She called up and the valuer initially said they would buy the car but not at the same price. After a few minutes, the valuer called and informed us that they would take the Fiesta at INR 3,00,000 even if we did not buy anything from them. All we needed to do was send a copy of the RC and insurance to them the same day and they would take the car the next day after handing over the check for INR 3,00,000. She was thrilled. But I was still not convinced. She asked me "If price was not the issue, which car would you choose? Civic or Corolla Altis?" I said "Civic". My mother also said "Buy Civic, because if you buy Corolla Altis, then you will keep complaining about not having bought a Civic". There ended the matter and all of us chose Civic.

We wanted to check if the salesman was correct about the free insurance offer and also if any other dealer had a Civic for us to buy immediately. My wife called Capital Honda and spoke to Vignesh who also told us that the offer was valid only for August 2010 and that they had a dealer meet on Friday September 3, 2010 and in that meeting, they will get to know if the offer continues in September 2010 also or not. He asked her if we would like to test drive the Civic. When she told him that we have already decided on Civic but only waiting to know about the offer, he said he will keep us posted about the outcome of the meeting.

Death of the King

I registered on TSM's website for getting a quote for my Fiesta. No response for a couple of days and I almost wrote TSM off as a potential buyer. In the meanwhile, my wife kept checking checking with both the Honda dealers, but no information on the offer. On September 3, 2010, Capital Honda Vignesh called her and informed her that the offer continues in September 2010 also. Once I got to know this, I asked if Capital Honda had a 1.8 S MT Civic available readily. Yes, they did!! It was black. So, we decided to go to Capital Honda to check prices, financing, etc. Showroom looked great and Vignesh showed us the Civic that was on display. I was impressed with both the look of the showroom and the professionalism shown by Vignesh.

On the way back, I was trying to convince my wife about the black Civic, but she was bent upon polished metal metallic. I was trying to justify by saying that the offer was only for September 2010 and may not be extended to October 2010; if polished metal metallic does not come in the next batch of cars from the factory to the dealers, then we would end up paying INR 47,000 extra; if Fiesta is sold soon, then commuting to office and back would become a problem for me til the new car comes. Given these reasons, she became more amenable to the black color.

Since we contacted Sundaram Honda first and also did the test drive with them, we called them again to finally check if they have a car immediately available and the salesman said they had no cars except a 1.8 V AT. So, we called Capital Honda and asked them if they still had the black car. Vignesh said yes and we asked him how much we needed to pay to book the car. He said we can book it by paying INR 50,000. We told him that we would come there in the next one hour to book the car, but he said he would come home to collect the booking advance. He came home and took the cheque and asked us if we would like to go for a test drive because he came in the test drive civic. We did not feel the necessity for another test drive, so we did not.

We informed HDFC Bank about that it would be Honda Civic and the dealer would be Capital Honda. They said they would get in touch with the dealer to get the booking receipt, etc. On monday morning, a call from a T S Mahalingam salesman came as a surprise. He took our address and came to see the car and gave us a quote of INR 3,30,000. He took a copy of the RC and insurance policy with him. The next day, we got the cheque and said bye to the Fiesta. That was a deeply emotional moment for me as the fiesta had been with me through thick & thin. Though it has let me down a couple of times, its heart was in the right place.

HDFC Bank called up and said the rate has been revised to 10.25% because the rate of 9.5% was booked for August and it was September and new rates came into force. Some reason or the other! I did not want to go through the hassle of speaking to another bank for getting a loan, so I decided to stick to HDFC Bank, who sent another person to my house to collect some cheque leaves and get my signature in some documents. Later on, a month after purchasing the car, I kept getting randoms texts and calls asking me submit more documents. I couldn't figure out what as I had submitted everything and the bankers did not respond meaningfully, All in all, it was a horrible experience and I registered a complaint with them. Not that I think it will change anything with them. I briefly flirted with ICICI Bank and I was pleased with the experience even though both of us knew I wasn't going to follow through with them due to time constraints.

The Arrival of the Night Fury!

Date of registration was Thursday September 9, 2010. Capital Honda asked me to pick the car at 6 pm on the same day. My office being in Guindy, I decided to go to the showroom from office. My wife came to my office and we went to the showroom. Vignesh gave us the key along with a box of Cadbury's Celebration chocolates. He told us that RC would take about a month and the registration number would be known the next day. We got the insurance documents and original invoice from them. He told us that if any cop stops us on the way, the original invoice and the insurance document would be sufficient to convince them for not having a number plate. He explained a few important features like the button for opening the fuel tank cap and boot. He also gave a coupon which entitled us to complimentary fuel of 10 litres at a nearby fuel station. I had taken my Sony camera with me and shot a few pics. We also got tints thrown in for free.

After the ceremonial breaking of a coconut, I drove my dear Civic. First stop at the fuel station, then drove it in dense traffic and came home and parked it in our parking space by 7:30 pm. Brought my parents down to the parking lot and showed it to them. It was quite dark and the jet black colour of the car could not be appreciated much. The next morning, all of us took the car to the temple and crushed a lemon under each wheel. By 5 pm, I went to the showroom to get the number plates fixed.

I have been using it to drive between office and home in bumper to bumper traffic everyday. Driving is a pleasure - the civic is truly a worthy successor to the fiesta.

The Experience

I have been using it for 10 months now and have clocked only 3000 kms (mainly because I have been traveling out of India quite a bit).

During the initial days, I found it difficult to drive in low speeds and stalled multiple times. I am now quite used to it now and have learned to compensate. The handling is excellent and I have no complaints about the drive-ability. The suspension is a bit soft as many others have mentioned. Funnily, I dont have cribs with the GC as my Fiesta was equally good/bad in terms of scraping over speed breakers. I have scraped the civic only a couple of times in the time I have owned it. The noise levels inside the car are fantastically low and many of my passengers have commented on it. Another thing which has drawn oomphs from my colleagues have been the sheer power (especially when they see the speedometer digits running) &, of course, the excellent dashboard.

I do wish the boot space had been more given that my fiesta had comparable boot space while it was a foot shorter. Another thing that could be improved is the lights. On a related note, I find that I am more blinded by oncoming lights in the civic than the fiesta due to the lower seating. Setting the speed of the intermittent wipers would have been nice.

For a while, I regretted not buying the AT as the traffic in Chennai has become horrendous. I was also thinking I made a mistake in not buying a diesel car. But then I drove a few diesel cars and I found that the hype was unjustified. The noise/vibration levels plus the initial lag is far worse than my even my erstwhile fiesta. On a tangential note, on my last few visits to Italy, I have found that Italians favor German & Japanese engines to fiat ones. Also, I am happy that I did not go in for Skoda/Fiat/Chevrolet due to the bad service/reliability/resale value stigma.

The civic has gone for three services with Capital Honda. The service is pretty average - nothing bad but also nothing to scream about either. I find that in most case its the SAs who make a difference and this is true even with Cap H.

Knowing what I know now
  1. Would I buy a Civic again ? Definitely Yes.
  2. Would I gone with an AT? Maybe
  3. Would I go to Capital Honda again? Yes
  4. Would I go to Sundaram Honda again? Maybe
  5. Would I go to TSM again? Yes
  6. Would I go to HDFC Bank again? NO
  7. Would I have gone with ICICI Bank? Yes
And yes, our daughter was born in January and I have bought my wife & the little one in the civic.

The Team-BHP connection
A couple of months back I started frequenting Team BHP and I realized that there were multiple things that I could have done and many more things to learn. I was impressed with the site and to support it. I ordered Team-BHP stickers. The front number plate has the team bhp link and the back bumper has the red-lining sticker.

In January, I got a 6-sensor park assist installed in the civic through Cap H. I am not impressed with it and I think it was a waste of money. It cost me 8k and the verbal warnings get annoying really fast.

I am thinking of buying 3D Kagu mats and a Caska HU in the future.
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Last edited by hajaar : 30th June 2011 at 17:18.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:10   #2
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Congratulations on your new purchase. It is really an awesome car and its beauty is enhanced by the black colour. What was the price you paid? Do post some interior pics also and also have you planned any accessories to be installed?
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:23   #3
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

@hajaar,Congratulation on your excellent car.Very thoughtfully executed buy.

Only regret is it took you so long to let us savour her beauty

May the beauty with brains and heart bless you with many miles of hassle-free ownership.

More pictures of the interior please.

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Old 30th June 2011, 21:39   #4
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Many congratulations on your new Civvy!
Nice write-up and I munched every bit of it.

The pics don't do any justice to the beauty! Waiting for high quality pics and price break-up.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:43   #5
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Congratulations on getting the black beauty @hajaar.

One thing I am confused about are the alloys. Yours is the latest model of Civic but its still sporting those old model civic alloys. Why is it so ? Is there any specific reason for that ?
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Old 30th June 2011, 22:04   #6
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

A good write up! Shows your passion for cars ! A couple of interior pics would have added some extra glamour to your post!

Congrats on your buy and wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!

By the way any plans for performance mods? At least an FFE to improve the low end grunt?
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Old 30th June 2011, 22:15   #7
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Congrats on your new car. A very well written report. Wishing you many happy miles with her.
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Old 1st July 2011, 07:06   #8
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Congratulations hajaar. The car looks stunning in black. I have driven this car once and just loved the interiors. The digital odometer, lit with the blue led is what I loved the most in this car. Wish you miles of happiness and please do post some interior pics.
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Old 1st July 2011, 07:37   #9
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Thanks for the wishes, people!

The total on-road price is 1434350. This breaks down into
1239000 - ex-showroom & 195350 - life tax/regn. Free insurance through Honda Assure.

The first & second services had no charge. The third service cost me 1136 (oil, oil filter & washer)

I will come up with better pics later in the day.

@repsol - I purchased the car in sep 2010. I think there was a refresh in 2011 where the alloys were changed.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 1st July 2011 at 12:21.
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Old 1st July 2011, 07:55   #10
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Originally Posted by hajaar View Post
Would I buy a Civic again ? Definitely Yes.
Congratulations on the arrival of your two babies. Your experience was a wonderful read today morning. Wishing you thousands of miles of terrific experiences on the multiplex and the small wheel.

Civic is a one of a kind car and I can assure you that you will have a great time. Do drop by at the Civic long term ownership and maintenance thread, you might perhaps find a thing or two interesting and useful.

We too have been blessed with the Civic as a succssor to our Ikon and I tell you, Civic was the only car in the market which could make it. And how.

Looking forward eagerly on reading more of your experiences.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:23   #11
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Wow. They have de-chromified the S variant. No chrome side strips, no chrome door handles and no chrome rear garnish. Looks fantastic now.

Congrats on the car!
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:26   #12
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

hajaar congratulations and that s a very nice write up. The Civic is a lovely car. Did you manage to go on long drives yet? Could you let me know about the high speed stability of the car? Say above 120 kmph?

The black looks very nice on the civic. Yes, some interior pics would be great.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:31   #13
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Smile Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Congratulations on the Night fury, the colour looks fantastic on the car. need more pics of the interiors esp the meter console, I simply love the Civic meter console.

Happy mile crunching and drive safely.

Was sad to hear about your unhappy experience with HDFC bank, I thought they had the most professional approach to car loans. Any plans of modding the car?
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Old 1st July 2011, 14:03   #14
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Hearty congrats hajaar on your twin gifts. Your kid cant get a better gift in the world than the Civic (apart from you and your better half). The Civic in black looks stunning as usual. Wishing you miles and years of happy experiences in your new car.

These pictures dont do real justice to the actual beauty of this machine. Please do post more pictures of the exteriors and the interiors. Can't wait for them!
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Old 1st July 2011, 14:12   #15
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Default Re: The Night Fury is here - My Black Honda Civic!

Hearty congratulations for this Hondastic (Honda+Fantastic) purchase. I think it will give you best peace of mind service which most of Indians want.
Please do update about your upgrades. Mileage figure would be helpful with Tankful method.
Enjoy the Ride, Drive Safely.
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