Every day that I drive to work and back, no matter how shitty the traffic, one aspect of the drive brings me consistent happiness:
I am in love with my car.
My new-ish (I bought it in early February, but have already put over 15,000 miles on it) car—my 2007 black, four-door Honda Civic EX, that is. It fucking rules. And since some form of “2007 Honda Civic” consistently ranks as the top search engine query leading people to my blog, I am going to expound on the ways in which it rules.
Let me say right now that in this review I will discuss why I did not choose other cars in the Civic’s class. If you own one of these cars that I dismissed, I’m sorry, but please don’t take offense to my reasons why. This is my own personal taste. You like your car better than a Civic, I assume, and I like my Civic better than these other cars. Let’s just keep it at that.
The main issues that brought me to the Civic when searching for a new car to replace my 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (aka the gas guzzla–21 mpg on the highway–GAH!) were (in order of importance):
- Better gas mileage
- Reliability (read: I was NOT going to buy another American-made car)
- Cost (I didn’t want to even THINK about a car that would be over $20,000)
- Style (it had to look good–not too sporty, not to grandma)
- Size (compact was preferred, though not subcompact. I am 5’8″ and Ian is 6’2″)
I immediately decided I would not consider the Toyota Corolla nor the Nissan Sentra because while their larger cars are well-rated and look nice, I did not find anything I liked about the looks of either of these two, and their quality ratings weren’t high enough to excuse the sense of cheapness I felt when looking inside of them.
And there was no way in HELL I was going to buy a Volkswagen. Yeah, I know, every debutante/Vandy grad drives a Jetta and every trendy yuppy drives a Bug and they’re both totally cute, but seriously, my second reason for finding a new car was reliability. And let’s face it: Anyone who needs their vehicle to work consistently—and last for more than just a few years—does not buy a Volkswagen.
So I eventually narrowed my choices down to three cars: the Civic, the MINI Cooper and the Mazda 3. And then down to one.
I quickly crossed the MINI off my list because it wasn’t very practical, as it was just too goddamn tiny. And I’m just not that preppy. (I feel like in order to drive one, I’d have to start smoking Virginia Slims or drinking after-work Appletinis and complain about how the last time I went skiing in Vail, the lodge totally fucked me by not offering mimosas in the mornings, which I really needed because my husband’s stock portfolio was in the shitter but I couldn’t show my worry around little Pembroke and Hegemony for fear of causing another episode where they pull all of their eyelashes out like they did when they just didn’t “get” second grade algebra.)
Anywaaay, the MINIs are so cute, but I just couldn’t see myself actually buying one on purpose. I mean, there’s no way I could name my future kid Pembroke. Plus, the MINI doesn’t get as good of gas mileage as the Civic.
I almost as quickly crossed the Mazda 3 off my list because I didn’t read any reviews anywhere saying the Mazda beat the Civic in anything except 0 to 60 rating (and even then I think it just beat it by one or two seconds.) And also not helping Mazda’s case was this douche that I used to work with who drives one. (You know, the guy who wears the big glass earring trying to pretend it’s a diamond and talks about how all the chicks love the Mazda?) Yeah, even if I could get past all that, the Civic still had more of the qualities I was looking for in a car to love.
Since I have had the Civic, I have averaged 35-37 mpg each week. The lowest I have gotten was 33 mpg (and that was just once), and the highest was 42 mpg (also just once).
I drive at least 74 miles every Monday through Friday; my commute is 37 miles to work and 37 miles home. Sometimes I go out for lunch or run errands after work, but for the most part I am on the interstate. However, not all of my time on the interstate is spent driving at interstate speeds, as anyone who’s ever driven in Nashville rush-hour traffic knows that much of your time within Metro is spent creeping along cussing out the asshole who keeps weaving in and out of traffic, causing you to have to either slam on your brakes or inch up and almost smash the person in front of you just to avoid being rear-ended.
ANYWAY… I would say that about 65 percent of my driving could be considered true interstate driving, and 35 percent would be considered city driving. Also, I drive fast whenever possible, so this cuts down on my gas mileage considerably. I think I remember hearing that for every mile per hour over 60 you lose a certain amount of gas mileage. Well, let’s just say that my average speed is 80 mph, though it is not uncommon for me to reach speeds of over 85 mph to pass someone.
For a compact, 4-cylinder car, the Civic can get up and go when it needs to. It’s not going to race a Corvette or anything, but I still can overtake just about any vehicle I am trying to on the interstate, and I rarely have any trouble beating anyone off the line at a stop light (Not that I try to race people in a damn Civic, but most of my time is spent trying to get to the freaking interstate ahead of the snails that will make my commute a living hell if I don’t pass them asap.)
The ride is smooth, even and always comfortable. The shocks on this thing must be really good, because I have gone over some nasty potholes and other bumps and didn’t feel like I left part of my car behind.
The fact that Ian, who is 6’2″, can fit comfortably in the back seat (without requiring the person in the front move their seat up so they are licking their own knees) says a lot for how much the Civic has progressed. From what I’ve read and seen, this new Civic redesign brought it to the size of the old Accords.
The seats are comfortable, which also was important to me because almost all of my trips in this vehicle last at least an hour. I drove it up to Chicago to see my family (a 9-hour trip one-way), and was quite comfy. My ass did not hurt nearly as bad as it used to in my Pontiac, but maybe I’ve added some of my own cushioning? Let’s hope not.
Also, for those of you who do drive a lot, the steering wheel on this Civic is so cool. I don’t know what material it’s made out of, but it feels like some kind of microfiber/leather hybrid. It’s not really squishy, but it’s soft, and feels really good in my hands. I was afraid after having my hands all over it for thousands of miles it would harden, but so far it’s retained its original feel. It sounds odd, but that’s probably one of my favorite little things about the car that I didn’t realize it had before I bought it.
I know most car reviews offer their own take on the style of the car, but I’m not going to sit here and relist sizes and specs of shit. Just go to honda.com and look it up yourself if you really need to know what size wheels I have and how long the nose of the car is (not long at all, actually—I think it looks good this way, too!)
I will say that I would not have bought a Civic if not for the redesign (originally done in 2006). I know, I know, I said style was the second-to-last concern on my list, but I really think this recent redesign has matured the car into an adult’s car, not a college or high school kid’s deal. Before, when I would see dudes driving down the road in their little 2004 Civic I would kind of chuckle. Now I see both men and women driving this current model and it looks more natural.
Plus, in black my Civic looks freaking bad-ass.
I don’t really know what to call this section, but these are the things that I didn’t necessarily need in a car, but I was willing to pay the extra $1,000 or whatever to upgrade to the EX (well, actually, it was the better brakes–rear disc–that caught my attention). With the upgrade to the EX, you get:
- Moonroof (WTF is the difference between moonroof and sunroof??) that’s operable with only one button. It’s smooth.
- Rear disc brakes
- The key-fob thing with a trunk-release and a panic alarm
- The better steering wheel
- Radio and cruise controls on steering wheel
- Front and rear cup holders
- Fold-down part of the back seat for trunk access
- Two power outlets
- Auxiliary plug for my iPod! (Though I hear that was made available in later LX models, too)
There are some other differences, too, but I can’t remember them and honestly I think they were just dimensions or something.
Oh, and some other neat things: The Civ tells me the outside temperature (temp. gauge is at top of front windshield), antenna is on the back windshield (nothing to remove when going through car wash), the auxiliary jack (I love just being able to plug in my iPod and listen to it through the stereo), two digital tripometers, and the oil life is measured in percentages–starts at 100 percent and when it gets down to 15 percent a little light comes on and I know to go get it changed. And there’s lots of storage space. And the spedometer fucking rules. Have you seen it? Oh, and it measures your speed even when you’re driving backward. Hell ya.
I see on the new ’08 models they’ve added the EX-L trim, which comes with leather seats, and at first I was kind of bummed. But after the ass-sticking-to-your-seat kind of hot summer we had, I don’t really care that much now. Plus, it’s still just a Civic. Do you really need leather??
Overall, I am really, really happy with my car, and hope that I’ll still be driving it around 10 years from now. It’s my little Yoshi (because it’s compact and Japanese, just like Yoshi from the Super Mario Bros. series, haha, yeah I’m a Nintendo nerd so shut it), and I love it.
If I had to come up with a con, I would probably say it doesn’t have the most pick-up of the cars out there, but I honestly don’t find it too slow or sluggish for my needs at all. I had a 3.4L V6 in my 1999 Pontiac Grand Am SE2 with 170hp before, and the Civic’s 140hp seems to match up pretty evenly, as far as I can tell. I never feel like I’m going to get run over when I’m trying to merge on the interstate, at least, and I have no problem speeding. :) You’ve got to give up something for that unmatched (at least in a non-hybrid) gas mileage.
If you are reading this review because you’re considering the Civic for your next vehicle and have any other questions or want me to take a picture of a certain part of the car, please just drop me an e-mail or leave a note in the comments here. I’d be happy to help out any way that I can.
Tags: 2007 Civic, Honda Civic EX