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Old 29th March 2013, 10:40   #1
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Default Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!

As the thread-title says, it's been an unexpected turn of events, this past month.

I don't even like Honda (or didn't) in India. I always found them to be too badge-snooty, needlessly complicated and expensive, and potential white elephants. My earlier trysts with the first V-tec left me underwhelmed and unconvinced about their perceived superiority over say, an Esteem or Ikon (love that ROCAM engine).

This Civic, a moonbeam blue 07 S-MT with nearly 60,000 on the odo belonged to a close friend, and came into my life rather unexpectedly and abruptly when he decided to migrate to the US.

At first I was a little apprehensive about buying one, mainly because of her size and girth, and the fact that she'd been lying unused in a 1st floor garage for the last 3 months, but the fact that she had a full service history, belonged to a good friend, and the test drive, completely bowled me over.

Stuff I loved:
1) Thanks to the deep foot-well and rake+reach adjustable steering column, it's easy to find the perfect driving position even for a 5"11 tall bloke like me who loves an unconventional, laid-back, "long-legs, short-arms" posture.
2) That glorious engine just strains at the leash and propels the car toward the double-ton like a lesser car would rush towards 80. Frankly I was VERY surprised by the car's high-speed composure and performance. Unlike the earlier V-tecs, it does not lack much in low-end performance either. Under that achingly beautiful body lurks a very solid workhorse.
3) The super-slick gear shifter just invites you to change gears for the heck of it. The narrow gate and positive throw feels like the bolt action on an assault rifle.
4) Spacious interiors, ferociously powerful air-conditioning, electric-everything, solid build-quality make you feel good.
5) Refinement that shames cars in much higher price segments.
6) That brilliant, communicative, superbly-weighted hydraulic steering goes a long way in enhancing driver enjoyment. It is super light at parking speeds and weighs up as the speeds increase.

Stuff I didn't love:
1) The stock lights are highly inadequate for high-speed night-driving.
2) The heavy clutch and overall girth of the car make her a pain to drive in heavy traffic.
3) The best-rated Honda service station in Pune (Bafna Pimpri) could do a better job of stocking parts. Spares too, are expensive. A power steering fluid tube that needed replacement cost nearly 11,000 bucks including labor. A clutch master cylinder is 9k. General consumables seem cheap though.
4) The paint-job seems to be a dust-magnet.
5) Low speed ride is more jumpy and thrashy than a luxury segment car's should be, though it gets better on the right side of 80.
6) The engine is very sensitive to bad/old fuel. There was some low-speed lurching that disappeared as soon as I tanked up at my favorite Shell pump.

1) I wish the positions of the tacho and speedo could be interchanged. Having a Ducati Moto-GP style sweeping-bar tacho in place of the temp-gauge, digital speedo, and fuel-gauge would really be more apt for rev-hounds like me. The speedo could have been an analog-display unit in place of the current tacho.

Other Stuff:
All the alternatives that were considered, and why I zeroed in on this particular car: No alternative was considered. Like I said before I wasn't looking even for this class of car, leave alone this particular car.

Complete booking & delivery experience from the dealership: Bought the car from a friend. Traveled to Mumbai by Shivneri, drove the car back from his Napean-Sea Road residence.

My usage pattern: I have another car, an MPFI Zen which frankly was all the car that I needed (or so I thought). I plan to keep that one as the city runabout and use the Civic for longer, outstation trips.

Any particular likes: Love the interior. All the cupholders that pop out of the center armrest, the overhead grab-handles etc. are subtly damped and exude a high-quality feel. This too, in a 5 year old car!

Any particular dislikes: I suspect the fancy wipers are more of a gimmick but since I haven't had the opportunity to drive her in the rains, can't comment on that yet. I am not sure, but the engine seems to run a different ignition and fueling map for the first 2 gears. It is strange, but the acceleration in 3rd is more exciting than in first and second. I don't know if other Civic owners have experienced this.

Review on overall practicality: I think it is one of the most capable and stylish tourers we have in our country. Luggage room is more than adequate for me, ease of ingress and egress is not as good as in the tall-boys but the payoff is that the lower and fully-adjustable driving position is infinitely more comfortable and enjoyable atleast for me. Cubby holes abound.

Quality of after-sales service (if experienced): I've only needed to take the car to Deccan Honda (Bafna Auto Pimpri) for replacing the power-steering oil-tube, and it has been a bit of a mixed experience. The first time I went there, they changed an O-ring to check if that would stop the sweating, but it didn't and I had to take the car there again to get the pipe changed. Each time, I had to wait around in their customer lounge for nearly 5 to 6 hours. The staff is most courteous and the service engineers seem very knowledgeable. I just wish they'd work faster, LOL. And compared to Maruti, the not-frequently-required spares are pretty expensive.

More ranting to come soon. Overall am very happy with what basically was a reluctant buy.

As for some pics:
Attached Thumbnails
Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!-img2013041100657.jpg  

Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!-img2013041100658_small.jpg  

Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!-img2013041100659.jpg  

Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!-img2013041100660_small.jpg  

Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!-img2013041100661_small.jpg  

Last edited by vivekjayasheel : 12th April 2013 at 17:02. Reason: Added pics...
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Old 15th April 2013, 15:21   #2
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Default Re: Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th April 2013, 15:29   #3
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Default Re: Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!

You have just laid your hands on my favorite car! Man, its a beauty on road, has that aggressive look from the front, and there is a monster of an engine waiting to be unleashed under the hood.

Still, its a dream possessing one for me! Good luck to you.

BTW, how much did you pay for it?
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Old 15th April 2013, 18:18   #4
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Congratulations! It's a lovely car that you have got for yourself.
I think you forgot to mention the price. Would you mind?
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Old 15th April 2013, 19:28   #5
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Default Re: Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!

Congratulations on the Civic Vivek !!
You are a petrolhead in true sense !! Civic, Zen and The RD !! You have an enviable garage man
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Old 16th April 2013, 10:56   #6
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Default Re: Was saving up for a Thar. Bought a used Honda Civic instead!

You forgot the most sinister of them all NMS: The Husky!
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Old 17th April 2013, 13:59   #7
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Great buy, Congrats. Its a decision you will not regret. The smoothness of the engine, it's eagerness to reach 7200 rpms and the driving experience on smooth roads will make you smile like a lunatic. Drive safe!
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