The new “whip” has arrived in my driveway. For the past couple of years, I had been eyeing Jettas and Mazda3s. My 9 year old Korean vehicle was starting to cost more in repairs (and downtime) than I preferred, so it was time to go shopping. Luckily, Honda had some aggressive plans up its sleeve, and they were dished up just in time.
They really changed the Civic for 2006. I’m not talking about a couple of body panels and a sprinkle more horsepower. With the introduction of the Honda Fit as the new entry-level car, it’s as if they want to keep the Civic targetted at the same people who bought one years ago. In other words, it also grew up. It has now become a refined, possibly even classy, sedan or sport coupe.
While I love the way it looks on the outside, the interior makes me giddy. Let me say now that I love technology, I love science fiction, and I love video games. The new Civic delivers! All of the smart technology is there, from full side airbags down to an audio input jack for your MP3 player. The Civic EX comes standard with ignition-killing transponder keys, which only allow the vehicle to start if a code is sent from your key to the car. This should slow down a casual thief, who you might even catch red-handed if you install LoJack like I did. That brings us to Science Fiction, which makes its entry with the voice controlled navigation system, which, once you use, you realize all cars should have. One can choose a male voice instead of the standard female voice for feedback and directions, but one would have to be insane (or maybe a girl.. heh).
And video games? This thing is fun, fun, fun to drive. From the rice-rocket-tight suspension with a smoothed out ride, to the digital dash readouts which you easily adjust to in about 10 minutes, to the slightly smaller steering wheel which does something for the sport-feel but I don’t really know what yet, I am enjoying every second in this vehicle.
The math also worked out with this car. It gets an EPA estimated 40 mpg highway, 30 mpg city, even though the new engine pumps out 140 horses. It qualifies as a ULEV vehicle (Ultra-Low Emissions), which rocks! I finally had to fill it up and calculated my first tank of gas at 30.11 mpg, which is pretty good for the beginning of the break-in period. I tested and bought the car with 20 miles on it, and I plan to drive nicely for at least the first 1000.
So far, the new 2006 Civic is a serious winner. Mine was built in Canada, and there have been a few reports of problems with Civics from that plant, but none have shown up on mine. I know ‘Navi’ Civics are not staying on dealer lots for more than a few days at a time, so this car is not very old, and they may have worked things out by now.
If you are planing to buy something nice yet fun in the $16k-$21k range, you need to go check out the new Civic. It’s a little smarter than the Mazda3 and a little less expensive than the fancy new Jetta. It might be just right for you too.