Our cars: Honda Civic - October
Week ending October 26
Driven this week: 261 miles
Honda Civic review
As chief road tester, my role dictates that I spend a relatively brief period of time with a huge variety of cars. I rarely get to live with any particular model for more than a week, so I'm always fascinated to find out from my colleagues if my initial finding still tally with their long-term impressions.
It's fair to say that my original assessment of the Honda Civic wasn't exactly glowing. Chief among my gripes is the excruciating frustration of having to choose between a comfortable driving position or moving the steering wheel down on to my knees, so I can actually see the digital speedometer. This irritation is followed closely by the fact that I can't see a thing out of the rear window, especially when the lower half is covered in road grime.
That said, one thing I've always admired about every Honda I have ever driven is the way they feel like they are built to last a lifetime and a day.
That's very much the case with our long-termer, which I recently spent a few days with, and which still feels as tight as a drum, even after 13,500 hard-driven miles. While the incredibly close fit of the panel gaps always impresses me every time I approach the car, the precise action of the switches and controls, and the slick action of the gearshift in particular, leave me full of admiration for Honda’s exceptional production values.
Admirable qualities indeed; it's just a shame that I can't find it in my heart to gloss over the crashy low-speed ride, the numb steering, the amount of road and engine noise, the… Seems like something things never change with the passing of time. A bit like me.
Week ending October 19
Driven this week: 745 miles
I borrowed the Civic this week, and just five minutes into the journey home to Wiltshire I was convinced that its soft driver's seat would leave me with backache. I had lots of driving to do the next day, with a return trip to Cheshire, via London. I wasn't relishing it one bit.
By the end of the drive home I'd changed my mind, though, because I got out of the car ache-free. The following day it was the same story.
The Civic also impressed me with the kind of simple touches that Honda usually does so well. There's plenty of storage in the cabin and the clever packaging and large boot kept the gear-laden photographer in me happy. As did the power socket in the boot, which allowed me to keep my kit charged up for the next shoot.
The sound quality of the Civic's stereo is good, too, but the interface is a bit clunky and I gave up on the fiddly Bluetooth connection.
Most annoying, however, is the filler cap, which has a drain hole that fills the lower lip with a diesel puddle. No matter how careful you are, it always seems to dribble down the bodywork.
That said, I averaged well over 50mpg, so fuel stops were relatively few and far between. That's a big improvement over the 300-mile range of the Lexus CT200h I've been driving for the past year.
Overall, I'm looking forward to borrowing the Civic again.
Week ending October 12
Driven this week: 380 miles
The Civic has just had its initial 12,500-mile service. It was carried out by Thames Ditton Honda (020 8398 9588), which offers a handy (free) collection and delivery service.
The service itself was pricey, at £231.77, although Thames Ditton did throw in a comprehensive valet (normally £15.00) for free.
There was nothing untoward to report, but the mechanics could find no reason for the annoying whistle from the driver's side front window, so the car needs to be booked in again for further investigation.
By Leo Wilkinson
Week ending October 5
Driven this week: 461 miles
The Civic is getting perilously close to its first service, which is due at 12,500 miles.
Hopefully, this will include getting the annoying whistle from the driver's window fixed. I'd like to think that it'll also make everything that bit tighter and smoother.
It's expecting too much to hope that the service will do anything to make the Civic's engine quieter, sadly. There's a steady drone at motorway speed that becomes tiring after a while. Many of the Civic's rivals have quieter engines, which make them more relaxing on a long trip.
By Leo Wilkinson