New car choice

Hello everyone, I’m in the market for a new car. I’ve been shopping around for quite some time, and I have been doing loads and loads of research. I want a nice little car (with all the amenities, gets good mileage, has reasonable power, and has good rear seat comfort) and I’ve narrowed my choice down to a civic ex-l. I like the fact that it has a 5-spd auto, will be reliable, all the knobs and switches feel refined, feels like a good solid car, and gets good reviews. Now, I’m a stickler for the little details. So, here are my questions: do you think that the “spaceship” dash and two tiered gauges are going to look really dated in the next few years? Also, another thing I’ve noticed are the two vents that are normally found over the radio that direct air towards the rear are more angled towards the driver and passenger (and they cannot be turned off or on), do you think that it is a more “form over function” type thing? And if anyone has any comments or little annoyances they have with this car, I’d really like to know what you think of it.

Thank you all,


A Civic is a good choice; it will serve you for a long time.

Forget about what will look dated; that’s in the eye of the beholder. I went to a car show and they had a Chrysler from the sixties with a similar see-through “spaceship” dashboard. It turned out to be a selling point.

Whatever you agonize about will not affect resale value, and a Toyota or Mazda will also have some quirky things to fret about.

Consumer Reports whined about the position of the steering wheel (too far out) on pre- 2009 Corollas. I love the position of that wheel.

Happy shopping!

I whined to the dealer about stuff on my last new car too, esp gate shifter that I hate and dash layout. Car has been super reliable and I learned to appreciat e the shifter. In a like manner, Honda puts a lot of thought in changes. Besides, the rest of the car’s benefits will make you forget about the spaceship. Next to other cars 8 years from now, it will seem quaint.
Good luck with your new car.

Whether anything looks passe in a few years is more a function of your changing tastes than the car. If your tastes don’t change quickly and you like it now, you should still like the dash board for years to come.

Thanks guys. You’re certainly right, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and honestly I kinda like the dashboard. Its unique. But what dagosa said about the look of the cars in the next 8 years, I’m worried that once I buy it, the redesign is going to blow everything out of the water and make me wish I waited an extra year. But I guess that’ll happen no matter what. It kinda stinks that technology is progressing so rapidly that in another couple years, whatever I purchase now will be completely out of date.

just make sure you know how to change from kilometers to miles just incase you accidentally switch from miles to kilometers

There’s always something new coming down the pike no matter when you pull the trigger and buy a new car. Look at the 2010 Mustang Vs. the 2011 Mustang. The base V6 model got 100 more horsepower and 4 or 5 better MPG. The GT model also got a brand new engine with 100 HP over the outgoing model and it too gets better mileage as well. Same thing happened when Toyota rolled out the new Tundra a few years ago.

My advice is to just find a car you like and be happy with it.

I’ve got a 2006 Civic EX 4 door w/ 5 speed manual, I bought it new and it now has 41,000 miles. The vents you mention don’t bother me a bit, but I seldom have people in the back seat. The two tiered dash has kind of grown on me, I don’t think about it a lot. The digital speedometer is actually kind of nice. Switching from miles to kilometers is kind of amusing, I’m just immature enough to enjoy driving past police cars with the speedometer showing 120 km/h (speed limit on Interstates is 75 mph in my state).

I would strongly suggest getting the optional windscreen over the sun roof, it makes the sunroof usable over a much wider range of weather and road conditions. Mudflaps will help keep the car clean, too. The trunk liner and the heavy rubber all-season floor mats also help keep things clean.

If you haven’t already made your final choice, the 4 door civic has a bigger trunk opening, a slightly bigger trunk, and more rear seat headroom than the two door. I believe the 2 door comes with a much nicer stereo, at least that was the case 4 years ago with my EX. I got the 4 door instead of the 2 door so I could get my bicycle into the back easily.

My only gripe is the way the handbrake lever hits my right leg when I’m driving, but I’ve learned to sit so that it supports my right leg so it’s no big deal.

The manual transmission gives much better acceleration and fuel economy on the highway than the automatic, in spite of what the official EPA numbers say. The clutch has very poor feel and stalls easily though, so it would be a poor choice for urban or stop and go driving.

The OEM tires on my car wore out very quickly, I think Honda cut a few corners here to keep the price down. The paint also seems to scratch easily.

My EX isn’t as lavishly equipped as the EX-L, but I’m very happy with it and I intend to keep it for a long, long time.

Thank you so much for your response. Its nice to get real world reviews from people. Sometimes the guys at test facilities (ie. Consumer Guide) seem really really nit picky and too precise. The current car that I drive is a manual, and honestly, I really don’t think that its right for me. I do a lot of city driving (commuting to work and school) and its not working out for me, so I’ll be going with the auto this round. I’m always concerned about the back seat. I seem to be a chauffeur among my friends and family, so I always have people in the back seat. I have definitely decided on the 4 door sedan because I feel it is far more practical in the long run, and I trust Honda that it will last forever. Thank you mark99, I appreciate your help. Now I’m just stuck deciding on the color of the car…

Every manufacturer cuts corners when it comes to tires. Look at what Subaru puts on their vehicles, Bridgestone Potenza RE-92, sophisticated AWD system, worthless tires.

To tell you the truth, If a car manufacturer had to cut corners to keep the price down initially (which they all do) I’d rather have them do it in the tires, rather than in something else integrated permanently into the car. At least you can replace tires with whatever you want later on.

Very true. I’m just glad I paid off the car before the tires wore out.

“The manual transmission gives much better acceleration and fuel economy on the highway than the automatic, in spite of what the official EPA numbers say.”

I’m curious. How do you know you get much better gas mileage than you would if you had an automatic transmission? It seems like the only way to know is to drive both the 1.8L 5-spd manual and auto a lot in the same circumstances to know that.

I’m basing my statement on various magazine and newspaper reviews of the Civic, which say fairly consistently that the Civic w/ automatic transmission gets right around 30 mpg in highway driving. I get 35-38 mpg in fairly hard highway driving (lots of hills, high altitude, traveling at 65-80 mph), and I’ve recorded 40-42 mpg in more restrained long distance travel. If you’ve got more extensive experience with the 1.8l/auto I’d be interested in knowing what your fuel consumption is like.

I think the estimated highway fuel economy for new Hondas with a manual transmission are a little lower than for automatics (unlike some other makes). The engine is the same and the manual transmission may be a little more efficient, but the gear ratios are different. Maybe the highway fuel economy for the automatic actually is a little better in this car?

The EPA estimates are low for my driving style too (no surprise there). I don’t know about magazines- they do not always adhere to the scientific method. Some might, and I still read the ones that don’t.

Well, I’m sure you are a somewhat frugal driver in your MT, as you foot the bill for the gas.

Automotive journalists, however, are “auto enthusiasts” who don’t have to pay for the gas…which means they generally drive the snot out of any car.

So it’s no surprise they get pretty lousy MPG figures while testing.

Mark, the EPA tests evaluate all vehicles in the same conditions. The highway mileage is not just on the highway, but is predominantly highway driving. The cars are tested in a lab on a dynamometer so that they can test every working day of the year without a change in conditions. That way you are assured that a car that was tested in the middle of winter will have results that can be compared to a car tested in summer.

You can reasonably expect to get slightly lower gas mileage with the auto than the manual, not the big difference you mention. I agree with meanjoe75fan about the reason for the mileage difference between lead foot auto journalists and your results, though you do seem to have two toes through the floor board on the highway.

Little cars aren’t worth it, get a Camry or a Taurus.

“I don’t know about magazines- they do not always adhere to the scientific method. Some might, and I still read the ones that don’t.”

They get their ya-yas out behind the wheel and just happen to tell you how much gas it used.