Performance & Reliability are the two words that pop into one's mind when one hears the name Honda Civic. The Civic series has always been the mainstream crux for Honda. In 2004, Honda launched this version of Civic which brought a major change in the way it looked and performed.
Style & Looks
The striking front eagle eyes give it an evil and dashing look from the front. The back seems to be bit bulky but looks elegant nonetheless. Overall the car looks quite modern and contemporary or at least better than all of its rivals currently available in the market.
As I've always been a fan of black car interiors so this beige colored dashboard didn't appeal to me at first but as time passed it grew on me and I feel pretty okay with it now. The front dash is made mostly out of leather & a panel of brushed aluminum which makes it stylish. The side door panels are however made out of plastic and are certainly an issue ,as they start rattling as the car gets older.
This is definitely one of the car's high points since its handling is absolutely brilliant & the ride is quite nimble & firm. The rear independent suspension works best and gives you a lot of grip when turning corners. In fact, it gives you so much grip, its almost impossible to get the car to slide. Oh, but do keep in mind if you ever get mad and do get the back end to slide, you better be awake because once its out of control, you'll find your car rammed into a tree before you know it! While driving at high speed or during braking, you do feel the weight of car shifting and the car seems to be quite heavy at times.The ride's a bit firm from what you would expect out of a comfortable car. The steering feels quite alive and you can feel every bump you pass over,which makes it a superb grand tourer for long journeys & overtaking.In short, driving this sixth generation civic is nothing but pure joy.
The engine is by far the best part of this car.Producing around a 100 Horsepower, it really feels well built. Put your foot down and you immediately sense the torque going through your spine. The car's weight seems to be distributed evenly all over its body so it doesn't make much of a mess when delivering all the power it has. You can't call it fast but for normal city driving & overtaking bus lorries on the highway, its good enough. The looks of the car give it a bit of an edge because it seems to look much faster than it really is. When driving an automatic version, its normally better to press your throttle just slightly rather than stomping on it in order to get good acceleration & fuel economy. If you've got a manual one, you would love to rev it up to 5000 now & then. However, you'll be seriously agitated during heavy traffic because of the clutch but for shear driving pleasure the manual one is the one you should go for.
The brakes are four wheel discs, so they give you a very satisfying feeling and if you get the VTI model, you get ABS too, which helps when making emergency stops.
Although from the looks of it, the ride looks quite luxurious & comfy but in reality,I found the ride quite the opposite.The hard ride makes the handling better but you have to be careful on bumps & crests otherwise you might see a suspension repairing bill coming to you soon. The seats are well built and are not hard but not too soft either, and hence well suited for long journeys. The interior is pleasant enough and you get cup holders and an armrest for the driver & the backseats.
Economical Or not?
When it comes down to living with a car every day, one of the most important factors for a car are its maintenance cost & the mileage it can give you. Sadly its a bit on the higher edge for Civic. The one with the automatic gearbox would give you around 8-9km per liter and you can expect around 10-11 km per litre on average if you get the manual one. If you happen to be running your car on CNG, then you should be able to get around 100 km on average from a full cylinder but the good thing is the performance on CNG is quite better than what you get from most cars. Oil & filters cost around the same as other cars but other spare parts like brake pads or shocks are really quite expensive. Changing all the brake pads would cost you around 10k for instance. So you better be careful with the brakes and suspension if you don't want to spend all your money on the maintenance of the car.
There's a lot of headroom inside the car so comfort is not a problem. There's plenty of space in the backseats as well ,even with the front seats dragged all the way backwards. The boot is big enough for any kind of luggage and even with a CNG cylinder fitted in the back, you get a pretty decent amount of boot space.The ride height is nominal so I've never had problems with the bottom of the car hitting speed bumps.
The Good: Superb handling and brakes. The Engine is quite smooth and powerful.
The Bad: High maintenance cost & heavy weight of the car.
The Bottom Line: If performance, reliability and comfort are what your looking for and you dont mind a few bumps along the road then, Honda Civic is "The Car" for you.