2005 Honda Civic
|The Good: |
– Reliable and solidly built
– Low petrol consumption
– Nice interior materials
|The Bad: |
– Not very fast
– Top models are pricey
– Skinny tyres
Honda’s highly practical Civic rolled into 2004 with a slightly new look. Front and rear bumpers, hood, headlights and grille are all new on the sedan, emphasizing a resemblance to the larger Accord. The Civic sedan is among one of the Middle East’s best-selling compacts. Civics are notable for their excellent fuel economy and sporty handling. Front-seat comfort is superb by any measure. The Honda Civic line is composed of a family of diverse models. Up-level Civics come with powerful VTEC engines that provide brisk acceleration.
The Honda Civic four-door sedan comes with a variety of engines. All of them are 4-cylinder 16-valve units and can be had with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The engines and trims levels include a 1.5-liter 110 hp LXi and EXi and 1.7-liter 130 hp VTEC VTi.
The basic LXi comes standard with a 110 hp engine, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo system, power steering, digital clock and trunk lamp, and a manual gearbox. It also gets 14-inch wheels, cloth interior and full wheel caps. The EXi trim adds power windows, power door mirrors, power steering, new-for-2005 ABS and automatic gearbox. The VTi trim adds the more powerful 130 hp engine, cruise control, body colour side mouldings, keyless entry and front airbags, along with new-for-2005 standard leather. From 2004, all models got a standard CD player.
The Honda Civic sedan and coupe got subtle styling revisions for 2004 that give them a bolder look. Up front, the bumper, grille, engine hood, and headlights are all new. The opening under the grille has been re-shaped into a shark-like smile and now incorporates two downward-slashing struts. The headlights are still triangular, but stretch out more diagonally as they flow around the car’s front corners. These changes are small, really, but subtly suggestive of the total re-style received by big brother Accord. The Civic’s rear bumper is reshaped as well, a little crisper now than before. Unchanged is the Civic’s wedge-shaped profile, with a high tail and low front end. The hood sits amazingly low. The sedan remains conservative in appearance, but unique in design.
The Honda Civic is ergonomically excellent, making this an easy car to operate. From the driver’s seat, the Civic is a comfortable car. From the back seat, it is less so. As in most Hondas, the passenger compartment feels airy and open. Front-seat accommodations in the Civic are superb. The sedan’s front seats provide excellent support, thanks to a rigid structure with aggressive side bolsters. High seat cushions make entry and exit easy. Seat fabrics for the sedan were upgraded for the 2003 model year, and the quality of the new materials and trim is excellent. Visibility when driving or parking is excellent as the driver is surrounded by glass and looks over a very low hood line.
Rear-seat accommodations in all of the Civic models are not the best. They are neither roomy nor comfortable by class standards. The rear bench is low and hard and does not support the thighs well. The Toyota Corolla is better on this score than the Civic sedan. That said, the Civic’s flat floor lets rear-seat passengers spread their feet out, as there’s no centre tunnel to get in the way. Also, the outboard rear-seat head restraints are adjustable. But three in back is a crowd. In all Civics, the cockpit looks clean and efficient, with the instrument panel tucked beneath a barrel-shaped cowl. A sporty, four-spoke steering wheel provides a comfortable grip. Round analogue instruments include an oversized speedometer and tachometer in the centre, flanked by smaller fuel and coolant gauges. In the sedan, the gauge graphics are the traditional white-on-black. The Civic sedan’s trunk space is comparable to that of other compact sedans. The rear seat is split 60/40 and folds down for increased cargo space.
Honda Civics offer good handling. Ride quality, noise, vibration and harshness are not the best in the class, however. To address this, Honda added more sound-dampening insulation to the doors to the 2004 models. If you haven’t driven a Civic since the end of the last century, you’ll find that the current models feel more substantial, more upscale than the pre-2001 models. Though not the quietest cars in their class, the Civic is not as noisy as a Ford Focus. When driving at highway speed, riders may converse in a normal voice without distractions from mechanical racket or wind noise. All Civics are fun to drive, the VTi models are more so thanks to their brisk acceleration. All are environmentally friendly.
The Civic LXi and EXi models offer excellent fuel economy, but offer slow acceleration performance. This is most pronounced with the automatic transmission, where more time and space are needed to pass another vehicle. In other words, they are at their best with a manual transmission and in the hands of a driver who can wring power and efficiency from the engine. The VTi models deliver livelier acceleration because they are equipped with the more powerful VTEC engine. Driving a Honda Civic VTi sedan with the five-speed manual transmission is a sporty, satisfying experience. Throttle response is good at any speed because the engine extends its torque across a broad power band. The manual gearbox is smooth and precise, with notched stop points between gears. The four-speed automatic also works well, shifting quietly and smoothly.
Braking performance in the Honda Civic is good, but not up to the standards of the class. Braking is well controlled in Civic sedans, which come with front disc and rear drum brakes. The Type-R comes with disc brakes on all four wheels. Still, its stopping performance is only average for the class.
You can’t go wrong buying a Honda Civic, regardless of trim level. All are reliable, practical, and fuel efficient. Civics are fun to drive and all models offer excellent handling. All of them feature Honda’s durability and reliability.
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