The Car itself:
I know the Civic has stuck around for a long time and there are lots and lots of reviews here but let me tell you what I feel about our Civic. THE ENGINE:
She's 5 years old and has completed 41000 km but the engine still feels and sounds like it would, if I were to go to a showroom and start a brand new Civic today.
Silk smooth, free revving, quick response and a big heart. These are the words I would use to describe the engine. It is always eager to rev freely to 6000 RPM and then rubberband to 3k and then back to 5k RPM and still maintains enough composure without really ruffling any feathers or being perturbed by this. Performance doesn't shatter the earth or rock your world here, but just one word comes to mind while running through the gears, SWEET. The engine sounds sweet and when the vtec kicks in, the typical muted Japanese thrum gets converted to a full fledged growl from the engine. Would love to keep repeating that again, and again.
In comparison to my Fiesta 1.6S, this one feels more eager to jump to the upper rev range where most of the power lies. I can't compare the two much but the 1.6S was as free revving as this one, but had more torque lower down, which means I didn't need to rev the 1.6 as much (unless I wanted to have some fun
) THE TRANSMISSION:
The transmission is worth a special mention here. Guys, I always thought Honda makes the best auto trannies for their cars and this car cements this fact and HOW!!! I haven't owned an Auto and technically these are my first few hours driving an Auto but after test driving several Korean and European automatic tranned cars, this one comes as a breath of fresh air. Smooth, seamless shifts, always staying within (decent) reach of power and DOESN'T have a mind of it's own. If you are in the mood to hyper mile, you may pussy foot her around and she will shift up at the slightest instance. BUT, pin your foot down to the ground and go pedal to the metal, and you feel the car revving all the way to the redline, then shifting up and then revving to the redline again. It's all very smooth and transitions to and from higher gears are all achieved in a very refined manner without any drama. No jerks at all. The civic is known to have a slightly weak lower end and this shows a few times when you blip the throttle and have to wait for a few milliseconds before power builds up. It strikes you when you drive this car for the first few times, but when you get hang off how the tranny communicates with the engine, you start learning and eventually you know EXACTLY what is going to happen next. Overtaking is a breeze and shifting up in lower revs means the economy might not take a very big hit. THE SUSPENSION: RIDE and HANDLING:
The Civic does not come up trumps in either the ride or the handling stakes. The ride is slightly on the stiffer side and doesn't cushion you from large craters. The smaller pocks and pimples on the road are dismissed decently and the cabin is not a bad place to be in, if you are on slightly uneven roads. The Fiesta fares abysmally in this regard. Ride quality and road crater noise made the car a particularly poor candidate for just pottering around town at lower speeds.
Handling is neutral. Neither scary like the new Verna nor is she a crafty tap dancer like my earlier 1.6S. The car handles like a big sedan is supposed to handle. She does NOT grip the road menacingly like the Fiesta nor does it hug the corners as well. The steering doesn't have the feel of European cars (forget the 1.6S) and doesn't communicate much with the driver. This has to be attributed, in part to the poor tyres on the car. I think they are the same Bridgestones that came stock on the car. I want to change to better tyres as soon as I get the first chance. BRAKES:
The brakes bite well and since we have rear discs (my first car with rear discs) she stops well without much drama and bleeds speed quite commendably. Pedal feel is great and the brakes inspire more confidence as compared to my Fiesta S. EQUIPMENT LEVELS:
I am happy with the overall equipment levels of this car, though I do miss Fog lights as standard. I don't particularly like the windshield Wiper arm configuration and I ABHOR the fact that there is NO programmable interval duration for the Intermittent wiper setting. I am shocked. Even an Accent has it!!
I love the fact that there is an audible beep if you drive off with the handbrake on. Dad and I loved the feature and nodded in approval in unison.
The airconditioning is a chiller and climate control is very easy to use, due to it's big, well labelled backlit buttons and chunky knobs for temperature and blower speed. I can't figure out how to get the rear underseat vents to come on. Someone please tell me how.
The interiors of this car are one of the PRIMARY reasons why I went in for this car. They are possibly the BEST interiors I have ever seen in a car, this side of 15 lacs. Decent plastics, very cockpit like design and very very good legibility and visibility of the controls and dials. I like!
The rear seats are very very comfortable and three in a row is not too much of a problem. The floor is flat and the there is a lot of legroom for tall people to sit in reasonable comfort. The squab compound is slightly on the stiffer side, but it's not too bad. The Stanley leather seats add to the charm of the cabin in this car.
I miss having parking sensors and door sill scuff plates, and I hope to install those soon.
The audio system looks a million bucks and sounds like a few paise. I always thought it sounded bad and owning the car doesn't change that. It has a 6 CD changer in the dash and it's a keeper, though it's achieved antique status already. I shall fix it back when I am selling the car.
I am about to rock off to sleep.... I shall continue with my review on the car soon. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to ask me questions. This is turning out to be the MOST value and fun one can get in the used car market and I am very excited to have a great life with her. CNG conversion is on the cards and the car will be fitted with a sequential gas kit in the next week. I am sure there will be many people (including me) waiting with bated breath to read about how the car functions on CNG. Trust me, I am very anxious to find out. Will post more on that soon