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Honda Civic 2005 and earlier



  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    The thing about the Focus interior that bugs me the most are the gauges. They just look so shiny and cheap. Even my 1980 Scirocco had much better gauges (VDO). Gauges should be crisp, readable, and matt black (silver and white are trendy and less readable).

    The rest of the interior is fine.

    The best thing about the Focus is that it has a roomy and practical wagon version. I wish Honda brought over a wagon. Civic or Accord. Or even a Corolla or Camry wagon would be nice. And no Matrix, Highlander et all are not wagons, even though Toyota claims they fill that role. They are too heavy, tall, clumsy and inefficient.

    Hopefully when the Civic goes upmarket they will offer a practical wagon version. I won't hold my breath though.
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    The Civic has nowhere to go BUT "upmarket". When competitors like the Elantra offer leather and the Mazda 3 offer xenon headlights, the Civic seems to be stuck in the 90s. Other than slightly better fuel economy and high brand loyalty, the Civic has absolutely nothing to offer in terms of features and performance. It's about 5 years behind the times. Yes it's a nice car, but the rest are even nicer.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    As individuals we all have such different "wants" and "needs" with respect to our vehicle purchase. While my 1994 Civic EX 5 speed isn't the most glamorous or exciting ride it has proven itself to be amazingly reliable and trouble free in the 10 years I have owned it. Even better everything still works, the paint is still lustrous despite spending its entire life outdoors and I can always count on it to get me where want without fuss.

    Thus, from my perspective, those attributes outweigh anything that a Ford Escort (or now, Focus) could/can offer. I could easily have bought a 1994 Escort for less (I even have relatives who work for the Ford Motor Co.), but I rarely see any early to mid-90s Escorts on the road; in fact, I rarely see any, period. Meanwhile there are dozens and dozens of similar Civics to mine in the college town I live in.

    The fact that Ford offers more amenities for a given price point only reflects Ford's need to compensate for poor/average reliability, unconscionable number of recalls and significant depreciation compared to Honda and Toyota. Of course, I buy and hold while others may trade-in every two-three years, which might mitigate the importance of reliability and depreciation.
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    "I rarely see any early to mid-90s Escorts on the road". You're not looking hard enough, I see plenty about.

    The difference between the best and worst reliable cars TODAY isn't that much. The Civic has had numerous recalls too and the Accord just announced another one a few days ago. No one is immune to recalls and when you make over 1 million Focuses sold worldwide, that's going to happen. The 05 Focus is light years ahead of the 05 Civic in terms of features and performance. Where's the stability control on the Civic? In fact, where's ABS on the Civic LX? It's not even offered at a time when the competition offers side curtain airbags - nowhere to be found on any Civic.
  • Why is "upmarket" better? Why are more "features" good?

    It's interesting to note that the most expensive home audio equipment has the fewest bells and whistles. It's the lower-class, mass-market department store nasty stuff that has all the flashing lights, buttons, and other nonsense that so fascinates proles.

    In other words, "upmarket" is a codeword for truly "downmarket."

    Honda knows exactly and precisely what it's doing. It's appealing to those in higher demographic, educational, and economic categories by making its Civic an extremely clean, sophisticated, and aesthetically-pleasing device.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    More features for the money = value. Value is good. Features like side air bags and ABS are much more than "flashing lights"--they are useful saftety features. Honda thinks so, too. Honda has already announced they will add side air bags, side curtains, and ABS to all Civics by 2006.

    As for "appealing to those in higher demographic, educational, and economic categories"--unless you can back that statement up with facts, it sounds like elitist prattle to me.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,515
    " It's the lower-class, mass-market department store nasty stuff that has all the flashing lights, buttons, and other nonsense that so fascinates proles." LOL

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Where do some of these folks come up with this stuff? Truly amusing to read the last few posts.
    I had a strong suspicion that Civics, Corollas, and other similar makes would have no choice but to add these so called "bells and whistles" as the buyimg public wants improved safety features. With the price of many new cars going up, it makes sense to offer more safety features so the increase in cost will be easier for the public to swallow.
    And who can really argue with better safety features.

    The Sandman :-)
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    What's a "prole" ?
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    "The difference between the best and worst reliable cars TODAY isn't that much. The Civic has had numerous recalls too and the Accord just announced another one a few days ago. No one is immune to recalls and when you make over 1 million Focuses sold worldwide, that's going to happen. The 05 Focus is light years ahead of the 05 Civic in terms of features and performance."

    Really?! My 1994 Civic has had exactly 0 (ZERO) recalls in 10 years of being on the road. So yes, some cars are immune to recalls. I have been a faithful subscriber to Consumer Reports for over 10 year and there hasn't been one year where the Focus has come anywhere close to the Civic or Corolla or even the Protege based on reliability. Yes, CR ranks the Focus fairly high overall based on a broad group of attributes. Why don't you look at what owners are saying about both cars on You'll note that the Civic ranks considerably higher and just like CR it's actual owners writing the reviews. In my city of 60K, I've counted maybe 10 Escorts while there are literally dozens and dozens of similar vintage Civics--and this is a Ford/Chevy area. They simply don't hold up well. It doesn't matter to me if you have all the features in the world if they break after a couple of seasons or work intermittently or I have to spend hour in service for the 7th or 8th recall because of poor engineering/manufacturing.

    Again I reiterate that buyers define "value" and "performance" differently. From my perspective you'd be much better off comparing the Focus to a Neon or Cavalier. Since you are espousing these views on a CIVIC chat group I can only conclude that you are deliberately attempting to provoke content Civic owners or justify your own purchase. I'm certain the majority of folks who come to this group do so to discuss Civics with the occasional reference to other similar models for comparison.

    Wouldn't you be more successful sharing your views by preaching to the choir in a Focus chat group? I'm happy that you think the Focus is a better value. Perhaps you can convince enough weak-minded folks, who might otherwise get a Civic, to see the light and get a Focus. If so, I might get a better deal the next time I buy a Civic since Honda infrequently offers cheap financing and never offers rebates.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The '92-'95 Civic was a great car--I almost bought a '95 EX 4-door but got a Mercury Mystake because of its traction control and nice ride/handling instead--should have gotten the Civic. Anyway, look at the data on the current-gen Civic and you'll see many recalls. Since you follow CR, you know that their reliability ratings on the current Civic were only Average for awhile, but recently have improved to Above Average. That's a departure for Honda; we're used to seeing their reliability ratings at Way Above Average, and that's one big reason why people pay more for a Civic and other Hondas than the competition. With Civic's reliability slipping a bit in recent years and the competition doing better, the gap is narrowing.

    The Civic is one of my favorite small cars, but IMO Honda needs to make major enhancements in the next generation to go back out front of the likes of Mazda/Ford and Hyundai/Kia, which today offer better cars or better values than the Civic.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732

    I agree with your contention that Honda needs to make some significant enhancements in the next generation.

    I consulted the April car issue of CR. On pg. 77 the bar graph lists the reliability for the 03 Civic at somewhere between 45-50% above avg. for small cars. It is followed closely by the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Echo. Interestingly, the Hyundai Accent and Dodge Neon also rank marginally above avg. (5-10%). The Ford Focus--which Mauto insists has narrowed the reliability gap--is 5-10% BELOW avg. It still falls within CR's avg. category, while the Civic is at the top of the heap. Statistically, this would suggest that the Civic has remained significantly above the Focus--in reliability. In light of this info. I'm not convinced the Focus has narrowed the gap unless one considers the fact that the 00, and 01 were below avg. while the 02/03 are avg.

    I'm not disputing your other claims and CR does like the Focus because it is "agile and fun to drive". They also say that reliability has improved (to avg.), which allows them to recommend it. Also on pg. 46 of the same issue CR notes that (based on consumer surveys) satisfaction is below avg. and depreciation is well below avg. Don't you think the advocates for the Focus on this TH chat group ought to note those shortcomings along with the better performance and amenities?

    Again, we all define "value" differently and that was the original point I tried to make in my earlier posts. By the way, sorry about the Mystake. I rented one once--big MISTAKE.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I'm no big fan of the Focus, but I recognize it has improved since a dismal start five years ago. I still wouldn't buy one, as I think there are alternatives that fit my needs better for less money. The cars I think Honda needs to focus on (no pun intended) with the next-Gen Civic are the Mazda3 and Golf/Jetta on the upper end and the Spectra and next-gen Elantra (due in '06) at the lower end. While keeping pace with Toyota on the reliability front. I'd like to see the next Civic be the great small car, top in its class, that it was back in the '80s and early '90s.
  • The facts are in "THE CLUSTERED WORLD: How We Live, What We Buy, and What It All Means About Who We Are," by Michael Weiss. But there are tons of other sources on demographics and buying habits. Studying who buys what is an industry all by itself.

    Hondas - not just Civics - appeal to younger, better educated, and more affluent consumers, and they milk that image for all it's worth, because it's a prized one in marketing terms!
  • It's a term used by Paul Fussell in his book "CLASS: A Guide Through the American Status System." In marketing terms it means a low-end consumer.
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    Actually, Hondas appeal to an ever aging group, particularly the Civic. Younger people are now moving to brands like Scion, Subaru and Mazda.

    In the early 90s, the Civic was the best small car, no argument there. But since then, Honda has stood still in producing innovative features for the Civic and has offered only a 2HP increase in its aging rubber timing belted engine since 1992. That's right, a 1992 Civic EX had 125HP and a 2005 Civic EX has a 127HP. Meanwhile, Mazda has come up with the "3", a car that makes the current Civic look positively old fashioned.

    By the way, I drive a 2002 Civic now. It's a good car, but not particularly better than the 1994 Civic.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    The Focus on the other hand feels very european and sturdy, and was a much quieter ride on the highway.

    Ha ha ha, "European" handling is what killed Caddilac Catera, Infinity G20, is one thing that most americans don't want -- feel the road. Although Focus is a decent car, it is no where near the "European" handling. Unless Ford changed a few things from 2002, Focus can not handle corners without getting tail happy, which is fun in itself IN HANDS OF A SKILLED DRIVER.

    You want to know what true "European Handling is like" drive a mid-90's BMW M3. The new BMW's destined for US have been "Americanized," although still better than other cars on the road.

    Please remeber that Honda is still one of the few "stand alone" manufacturers that have not become a conglomerate. Of course it is remarkable that a small guy Honda can threaten the huge corporations like Ford (Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Mazda, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Landrover...) GM (Chevy, Buick, Olds, GMC, Subaru, Daewoo, Opel/Saturn, Caddilac, Holden, Saab...) and VW (VW, Audi, Porsche, Bently, Bugatti, Seat, Skoda...)
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    " It's the lower-class, mass-market department store nasty stuff that has all the flashing lights, buttons, and other nonsense that so fascinates proles." LOL

    Lesson in socioeconomics, as I see it.

    Laugh all you want, but it is true. The more flashing lights you add the more interested certain segment of the population becomes. There are people who know true value and people who think they know true value. Call it profiling or what not, but it works. Otherwise you would not have more gold jewlery displayed in certain parts of town than others. I swear there are more people wearing gold north of 125th street in NYC than midtown. You could drive by the PJ's and you will see not one but a few a Escalades with 24 inch gold plated rims, but you would be hard pressed to find one in Greenwich, CT (Although there is one or two). True value is to buy a house in Greenwich, CT. Perceived value is to live in the PJ's and drive a Caddilac with 24 inch gold plated rims.

    When was the last time you saw a Wall street guy with a cellphone that has a flashing antenna light and fancy music? I haven't, but there are poeple in certain parts of town, who can not live without it.

    How often do you see a person in nice car (Mercedes 500-600, BMW 7 series, Audi A8) blasting his radio to the point that car alarms go off? Not often, but the same Escalade with 24 inch rims, or a beat up 1980's econobox has that set up.

    All of those describe true value and perceived value, you decide which is which.

    Some people, similarly, place leather seats over resale. Leather seats have no appeal to me, sitting on a dead cow's hind is not something I dream about every day. Especially after having a car with leather, I would never come back to one. Too much work to keep your hind in the seat when driving "enthusiastically"

    ABS, although is a safety item, can be had on a Civic. Adding ABS to LX would add $800 more to the sticker (if it were optional), and bring it closer to EX, so a person who truely values safety would get the EX ($1000 to $1500 over LX) bacause it has ABS.

    I can go on, but it will probably get me banned from Edmunds.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,515
    "few "stand alone" manufacturers that have not become a conglomerate"

    I see Hondas (Civics, Accord, Odyssey, Pilot), Acuras, Honda lawn mowers, Honda motorcyles, Honda home generators, and what else with the Honda name. What's your definition of a conflomerate?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Or if a person values safety, they'll wait another year or so and get even the low-end Civic, or the Honda Fit, with standard ABS, SABs, and SACs. Or they can buy another car now that offers ABS, SABs, and SACs even on their lowest-priced trim levels.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    "Laugh all you want, but it is true. The more flashing lights you add the more interested certain segment of the population becomes."

    blueidgod's point is illustrated beautifully in the mid-80s movie, Ruthless People. Anyone remember Judge Reinhold's stereo salesman character and his sales pitch to the glassy-eyed young male customers? I have absolutely no doubt that the marketing staffs for many the car manufacturers try hard to find the glitzy stuff that will sell to a certain segment (MP3 and satellite radio come to mind). This glitz only becomes a problem when it is used deliberately to obfuscate deficiencies in design or engineering or to pad the selling price with minimal--or no-- value to the consumer. Caveat emptor!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    You mean, like the satellite radio that Honda has made standard on the Honda Accord Hybrid? Must be those low-income people going for the "glitz" who will buy that car, while the upper-income folks go for the Civic. ;-)
  • Read the book that I referenced earlier, or Google on demographics and car buying habits.

    The poor are insecure for obvious reasons. They scrounge around for Fords and Hyundais that offer them the little comforts that make them feel as if they're special in a world that, in general, doesn't treat them as if they're at all special. Leather seats or oversized wheels and tires or other treats are compensation for jobs they hate and would never do if they didn't get paid to do them. Sort of like the oversized portions chain restaurants feed them.

    This is the market that Ford is targeting for the Mazda 3 and the Focus. It's a large market, in more ways than one. Think of it as the Walmart audience.

    Middle class folks are also insecure for obvious reasons and need their special treats, but they have more money - or at least credit! - to toss around, so they love their satellite radio, their leather seats, their iDrive, their safety features, and all the (unnecessary) power that they can get.

    The wealthy are certainly more secure, but plenty of them aren't so secure psychologically, especially if they weren't always rich, and so they tool around in $60,000+ automobiles.

    But as the book I referenced talks about, a large chunk of the wealthy has gotten beyond cars, and realizes that, in the grand scheme of things, cars aren't important.

    Someone here a long time ago mentioned that they live in a super-high-end neighborhood in Toronto, and everybody there seems to drive a Honda Civic. Exactly.

    I remember talking to the CEO of a tech company a few years ago. She could have driven anything she wanted to drive, but she drove a Volkswagen Golf. She probably did so because she had a life beyond leather seats and fat tires. She didn't need those things, inexplicably, because she wasn't a wage slave, because she didn't have credit card debt, and because she actually did have money.

    "The Millionaire Next Door" is another book that talks about the car buying habits of the quiet wealthy. The quiet wealthy are not "into" cars.

    The super-high-end Golf or Civic driver is someone who has gotten beyond cars, probably because she or he more interesting things to do.

    I guess if you can show who you really are by what you do, you don't have to show who you are by what car you drive.
  • dgsdgs Posts: 20
    Oh boy, this thread has gone from bad to stupid very quickly. So now the new argument is that only the "smart people" see the value in an under-performing featureles car? And now niceties like 6-disc CD players, side airbags, ABS, and heated leather seats are considered frivolous bells and whistles? Wow, I don't know how some of you people make this argument with a straight face.

    Be happy with your underperforming, featureless, expenisive Civic, but please don't kid yourself that you have some higher intelligence because you spent more money for less car (actually most people would consider that stupid, but what do they know). Gee, I guess all the people who spend many thousands of dollars for the luxury equipment found in a BMW or Mercedes are stupid too. Damn, if only they had realized they could have purchased a Honda Civic and been associated with the "smart crowd!"

    I showed this thread to my wife when she was drinking OJ and she laughed so hard it about came out of here nose. You people are too much.
  • This is not an argument, or a debate, or about personal opinions. It's facts. It's what people in different circumstances actually buy, and it's about why they buy it.

    I didn't know who bought what, or why, until I read the aforementioned books. I was shocked.

    But those are the facts!

    I can tell you clearly and unambiguously, I drive a Civic but I want - want! - a BMW 3 Series (or something close).

    I was quite surprised that the wealthy want Buicks that have, at the most, good heaters, or else, at the other extreme, Civics with really narrow tires............
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    No, it's not an argument--it's a comedy monologue! And a great one, too. My sides are splitting. The humor is fantastic, stuff like it's a fact because someone wrote it down in a book! Or the assertion that if a rich person doesn't care about cars, they would obviously choose a Civic. Look around. They are buying Priuses, and paying thousands over list for them. (Maybe they buy Civics for their kids, but that's another thing.) The statement about the Mazda3 being a "Wal-mart" car was a classic, too. The Cavalier might be a "Wal-mart" car, if there is such a thing. The Mazda3? No.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,515
    the Michael Weiss book says that Civics are the cars to buy because "rich" people buy them. Is this correct?

     And Foci are for the Walmart crowd who are seeking relief from insecurity?

    And this is presented as being credible!!!

    I just checked for the Michael Weiss book in our library. They have a book published by him in 1988 in storage from lack of use. Apparently they didn't feel anything newer was in demand enough to buy.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    "few "stand alone" manufacturers that have not become a conglomerate"

    I see Hondas (Civics, Accord, Odyssey, Pilot), Acuras, Honda lawn mowers, Honda motorcyles, Honda home generators, and what else with the Honda name. What's your definition of a conflomerate?

    You are confusing models with brands. Honda has Honda and Acura brands (only in US), the rest fo the world still gets Honda Civic and Honda Integra, Honda Accord instead fo Acura TSX, and Honda Legend instead of Acura RL. Civics, Accords, and Pilots are models, just like RSX, TSX, TL, RL... Yes, when you buy a Jaguar X-type you are buying a glorified Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique just like when you buy Acura RSX you are buying a glorified Civic. But Ford has it as a brand all over the world, just like Saab is a brand, not a model of Chevy, although it shares alot of components with GM sibling. Honda is a small guy compared to the Ford, GM, and Hyundai's of the world.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    We are s'posed to be discussing the Civic here. These side conversations about who buys what for what reason aren't on topic.

    Thanks for your cooperation.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    "Be happy with your underperforming, featureless, expensive Civic..."

    I am happy with my Civic. I'm also amused that you continue to bemoan what you consider the shortcomings of the Civic. Why do you care? This is a CIVIC group after all! Be happy with your choice

    I would say that the Civic could be seen as a bland driving experience, but that's OK since obviously many, many Civic owners find it an acceptable aspect of the car. I wouldn't, however, consider it featureless even though it lacks leather seats/seat warmers etc. I do feel that Honda should include the most up-to-date safety gear and charge accordingly.

    Expensive? Sure it may cost a little more to begin with, but what about the total cost of ownership? I compared my 94 Civic to a 94 Escort with the same mileage (112K) and condition and Edmunds private sale price was $2885 for my Civic EX and $1259 for the Escort. A 2000 Civic EX private sale was listed at $9906 vs. $6867 for a Focus ZTS. So, clearly the Civics don't depreciate as much. Furthermore, I've spent about $100/year for 10 years outside of scheduled maintenance. So I ask, in the short and long run is it really more expensive?

    Under performing? I guess by that you mean lack of torque or 0-60 times?? Who buys a Civic for that? If I want some performance I'd rather drive my 92 Toyota MR2 than any 04 small sedan any day.
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