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Reader Test: Honda Civic

2007-06-20 08:37

Diederick Terblanche

Honda Civic video clip

It has been 15 months since I drove my new Knight Hawk Black Honda Civic Sedan off the showroom floor and it has done some 22 000 km in that time. I would have to say the experience has been altogether rewarding.

It was not just a matter of waking up one morning and deciding, "You know what dear, today I'm going to buy myself a Honda!"

Pain in the bum

Oh no, this was a two-month endeavour of test driving cars and being a total pain in the butt at numerous car dealerships. The car was compared and scrutinised in every aspect against all its contenders. At the end of the day it was a two-horse race for me between the Honda Civic and the hatchback Ford Focus.

The Honda already had it won in the power department, and it just had that "X" factor I did not find in any of its competitors. Don't get me wrong, I never was a big Honda fan. I had always acknowledged them as good automobiles, but, to be frank, they just never grabbed my attention. I found them to be boring - at least until I got to know the 2006 Civic.

From its aggressive appearance at the front to its "dare to be different" interior, this car was anything but boring.

It has more than enough power to allow you to take the gaps when needed, and unlike its predecessor you do not have to get your revs past the 5 000 mark before you start accelerating. The power is very well distributed across the rev range, with a maximum kilowatt of 103 and torque coming in at an acceptable 174 Nm from its 1.8-litre V-Tec powerplant.

The instrument panel is well laid out, getting as close to the experience of a heads up display without being one, and the controls for the very effective air conditioner and radio/MP3 player are large and well situated.

Jab, jab, jab

The short handbrake lever can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance when sitting in the car with the handbrake up, it does tend to jab into your leg especially if you are blessed with rather large legs. The clutch action also takes some getting used to, but the gear change is smooth and precise.

The car comes with a five-year/100 000 km service plan, with service intervals being every 15000km. Its first service was a minor one and was completed without any troubles or hassles.

During my time with the Honda I have had only one complaint, namely, my driver side window going up about halfway, then stopping and going down again. I was told that this was a problem with the 2006 model Civics and was being rectified by the Japanese.

To summarise, the new Honda Civic is a great vehicle with legendary reliability and good performance and road manners. It's the perfect car if you want to stand out in a crowd and not just be another run of the mill German car owner, driving the same car as the next guy. It's a car for the individual.

Honda Civic video clip

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