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Car reviews - Honda - Civic - GL sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Style, quality, economy, driver appeal, longevity of design, upmarket image, comfort
Room for improvement
Intrusive engine and road noise, low equipment levels, high parts and servicing prices

Honda logo18 Jun 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

HONDA introduced the fifth generation Civic to Australia in November, 1991, with an increase in overall size - the wheelbase was 120mm longer than the previous model.

Overall, quality and finish inside and out were good and it was well equipped.

But the Civic's new price was significantly higher than that of its Australian-built rivals - the Corolla, Pulsar and Laser.

The Civic was available with two levels of equipment, GL and Si.

The 1.5-litre carburettor-powered GL has power steering, electric windows and mirrors, central locking and a two-speaker radio/cassette as standard equipment.

The Si has a 1.6-litre, fuel-injected engine and disc brakes on the rear wheels. Air-conditioning was a dealer fitted option on both models.

The Civic remained on sale with minor changes until September, 1993.

The four-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine has a single overhead camshaft, 16-valve cylinder head and twin carburettors. The cylinder head and block are aluminium alloy to reduce weight. The power output is a healthy 74kW.

The standard transmission is a five-speed manual. The optional automatic transmission has four speeds and a lock-up torque converter.

The Civic suspension has double wishbones, coil springs and dampers on each wheel. Anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear.

The suspension provides very competent, predictable handling with minimal understeer. The ride is good on smooth roads but there is some noise transmission to the interior on coarse surfaces.

The engine is a strong and willing performer but is noisy at the upper end of the rev range. Around town fuel consumption will range between 7.0L/100km to 8.5l/100km and 6.0/100km to 7.0l/100km on the highway.

Excellent Honda build quality has virtually eliminated manufacturing defects.

Reliability and long life are guaranteed if the car is serviced regularly.

Look for a full dealer-stamped service history. Cars that travel short annual distances should have had service intervals based on time rather than distance.

These precautions prevent expensive repairs later on caused by failure of components such as camshaft drive belts and corrosion damage to aluminium engine components.

The Civic GL sedan is a cut above its competition in the style stakes. It looks good, drives well and has all the attributes of a quality Japanese car. But it is more expensive than the class average. The 1.6-litre powered cars are the better option.

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