WHEN I first get behind the wheel of a car I seek out the positive points and then, as time passes, I begin to become aware of the negatives – something akin to the creeping cynicism of the seven-year itch speeded up to about seven days.
I do not want to take back any of the praise I heaped upon the Civic at the beginning of September – it is still the best lower-medium car I’ve driven for a long time thanks to its comfort, handling, performance and spec. More of the positive points of the car have emerged in recent weeks and the 1,000 miles I have driven in it since my first review.
But there has also been the odd fly in the ointment. It was a huge disappointment, having been taken in by the looks of the Civic, to place my hand on the door handle and find the lock release handle is made of nasty black plastic, loose to the touch – and in a car with such excellent all-round build quality.
It has also been commented on by two colleagues whom I gave a lift to – and impressions like this are the sort that get passed on to colleagues and friends. The same applies to the rear spoiler.
It looks great from the outside, but vision out of the rear window is seriously impaired as it cuts across the window about a third of the way up. I’m not certain you could ever get used to this and prompts safety concerns in the same way visual obstruction by A-pillars in certain cars, a topic which has gained a fair amount of coverage recently on this website.
Honda could remove this item from the Civic and it would not really make that much difference to its visual appeal – but would be a huge step forward for driver peace of mind.
Positive points, however, continue to emerge with the Civic that outweigh the negative.
I made a return trip from Peterborough to Gaydon and found the sat-nav system (standard spec in the EX) faultless and highly intuitive – I didn’t need to refer to the instruction manual.
The graphics in the generous- sized centre console are of excellent quality and the turn-by-turn audio navigation faultless on my 200-mile journey.
I’m also impressed by the boot space. Not only is it large enough to carry my music equipment (speaker cabinet, amp head, pedal board, mic stand and one guitar), it also wide enough to fit the bulkiest items in without stubbed knuckles or scuffed gear, which helps keep the blood pressure down in the hurly-burly of pub gigging.
CO2 emissions (g/km): 140
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £48 per month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 53.3
Test mpg: 48.0
CAP Monitor RV: £6,575/37%
Contract hire rate: £379
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles