New Civic 1st impressions

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I just went to see the new Civic.
The last time I saw it was at one of these “events” organized by Honda, a few weeks ago. And I really loved what I saw there.

This time the dealer only had an LX sedan. The most popular model.

The 1st thing I noticed, was how cheap the plastics were. And hard! Everywhere I touched, I could feel cheap, hard plastic. The kind car magazines have been critisizing US car makers for years.
In all the magazines reviews I read, the cheapness of the interior is never mentioned.

That much exposed metal inside doesn’t impress anyone looking to spend almost $18000 .

The material covering the seats is OK. But the sides are covered in this super cheap and ugly shiny material.
And even thought it’s only on the sides, you can always see it!
It makes the whole seat looks , again, cheap…
Another awfull detail: the glove compartment just drops when you open it. No damping whatsoever.

I was very dissapointed. It is better than the previous one, but that’s not saying much.
The dash design is great, but the low quality of the plastics are a big distraction to me.
The Mazda 3 is much, much better. Even thought the interior is more conservative.

Looks like if the new Civic interior was put into a Focus or Cobalt, we’d never hear the end of it from the automotive press.
But because it’s a Honda, they give it a break!
Well, I won’t I don’t care who makes the cars or where they come from. When it’s time to spend my hard earned cash (and $18000 is quite a bit), I don’t want to commute in something that looks that cheap.

But I’ll give it another chance. I’ll go and drive an EX Coupe. My favorite combination.

Has anyone of you seen the car yet. What do you think?
Am I crazy???

Conversation 14 comments

  1. Oh my gosh when could you just stop complaining, Vince. You just complain too much. The hard plastic is sometimes needed for durability, the exposed metal is found in many other cars like the Saturn Ion, the sides of the seats have to be covered in plastic to hold the seats in. The Mazda 3 also has alot of plastic in it, you test drive one and you’ll see.

  2. Sat in a Civic EX sedan yesterday and its interior is pretty nice, IMO.

    Didn’t notice the shiny material on the side of the seats in that car, but did notice the same stuff in a rented Dodge Charger, so there must be some reason why more than one auto company puts that weird material on the sides of the seat cushions.

    I thought the new Civic’s seating position was very good and the car has plenty of head room with a sunroof and the seat elevated. Back seat room is spacious, too.

    I didn’t think the plastic interior parts were too bad–certainly not beautiful, but everything fit tightly. The dashboard is an interesting design, too.

    If I were in the market for a small sedan, I’d give the new Civic a close look and would probably end up buying one (I have an ’04 Accord now, so have some bias toward Hondas).

  3. I’m picky because I care.
    Car magazines don’t care. All they care about is how much power BMW can squeeze into a 3 series…
    And how many free trips they get from car makers.

    I’ve been inside the Mazda3 and it is much nicer than the new Civic LX. Every single car interior on the market is made with plastics. Some look and feel better than others, that’s all.
    Why can’t Honda use good stuff anymore?

  4. I would agree with you 100% Vince! The new Civic has been completely underwhelming for me so far. The exterior of the sedan looks like a 1992 Dodge Intrepid! Well, that and a few other cars. 🙁 The interior is average at best. Weird for sure. Go look at a VW for a well done interior. The new Civic pales in comparison.

    I’ve owned 2 Honda’s, but am not tempted whatsoever by their recent offerings…and with the 2006 Civic, that trend continues. Bummer. There’s always next year!

  5. You’re right Vince. Honda is beginning not caring much about its cars interior anymore. The Civic and the Ridgeline is a perfect example. Furthermore their exteriors are getting weirder and weirder.

  6. Vince, I back you up too! The Civic’s entire design looks like they borrowed some futuristic concept car from about 15 years ago, it does have an eery resemblance to that GM EV1. Not to mention the dash is cluttered. This new Civic looks old already! I used to be a pro-Honda guy, but the last 5 years, Honda has been awfully disappointing!

  7. Hey Vince,
    I agree with you about the plastics.. the glove box did just drop.. I sat in an EX sedan.. no shiny seats, but they were beige/ivory maybe that hid it from my eyes? And you’re exactly right, if it was GM/Ford the media would be screaming at them.. But it’s like Honda could turn out anything terrible and the media would just repond “oh that’s the best thing out there”.. biased? just a bit!

    The Scion tC was nice inside, the materials were a softer material (but don’t push too hard on the a-pillars.. lol).. After seeing the tC the Civic seemed like my friends old Ford Aspire.. when you begin to compare things to an Aspire.. that’s just insane when an Aspire has better accomdations/quality? hahaha

  8. Yo Vince I didn’t like the expanse of dash from the leading edge to the window… The maxima is about the biggest I can handle and at least they have a nice border near the window..same thing with the VW bug too much dash

  9. Over at Edmunds, Honda fans are still supporting the new Civic. Hell, I wanted to support it too (owned 3 in my time). But when I went to see it, I asked myself – is this an Intrepid (exterior design) – where did all the interior room go?

    And as for the interior, if you can get past the Jetsons’ design influence, you do have to deal with the cheap looking finishes as you noted. What happened to catching up to, and exceeding, the VW Jetta/Golf standard?

    Your review is the most honest review I have seen. I know you love cars – I see it in the way you write. It’s too bad Honda has so badly missed an opportunity to hit the ball out of the park.

  10. saw the EX sedan yesterday. I drive a’94 civic LX sedan, so that’s “3-generation-ago” Civic.

    Gotta give honda credit for the futuristic dash; awesome steering wheel – very sporty feel – like something I would expect in a Mini.
    The interior is quite a bit bigger (compared to the ’94 version) which is a plus. However, the interior material is a piece of $*#&. Must agree with Vince. Honda needs to be held to same standards as Furd or Chevy. Plastic is plastic, don’t matter who uses it, it’s $#$%. At just over $20K for the EX (including Destination charges), damn that’s a chunk of change. The Nissan Ultima is a much much better value!

  11. Well, they all are made of plastic. But some plastics are better than others.

    You can now get into a Camry, Accord, Altima, Sonata for well under $19000.
    You get a roomier car , and in either case, a much better finished one. With a much higher quality interior.
    And the Camry and Altima are new next year. So they’ll both be even better…

  12. I, on the other hand, love the way the new civic look inside and out and I think Honda really did an excellent job redesigning this vehicle. Think about it guys. It gets 40 mpg and has 140 HP engine. It’s bigger inside than the Mazda 3 or the Corolla and the ride quality is great. Its exterior look is beautiful and its interior is wonderfully daring. All the side airbags and the Antilock brakes are there (standard on the LX) to protect you and your occupants just in case. After the test drive I can’t wait for the Coupe to reach the showroom.

  13. Just took a look at the 06 Civic, and have to disagree. I found the quality of materials and fit and finish to be superior to just about anything on the market with the exception possible of VW/Audi. I found plenty of soft-touch (not squishy soft, but soft enough) materials. However, when you consider that a Jetta equipped to match a Civic EX will run about $3-4,000 more, it shouldn’t be a surprise, and as much as I like the Jetta, I can’t say I’m impressed with 22/30MPG, when a Civic gets 30/40. I would probably have preferred a conventional guage cluster – but it’s entertaining. Yes the glove box thunks when you open it – but this is still a $14-20,000 car – not entry level, but still an economy car at heart. I love the Mazda 3 – especially the interior, which reminds me of something you’d expect from Alfa-Romeo. However, the materials and fit and finish is no better, it’s a tighter fit, and the mileage is much lower. Buy the 3 if you want a BMW 3 series or Acura TSX but can’t afford either. Buy the Civic if you have a small family (1-2 small children), or just want dependable, efficient transportation.

  14. the difference between chevy and honda’s cheap plastics is that HOnda makes it work for them. While it might be cheap, at least it looks nice and it all fits together nicely. Also, I think they use the hard stuff on the dash so it’s less prone to cracking in a few years…my 03 accord’s dash is all hard stuff, except for the pieces around the center console. It *looks* far from cheap and makes a solid thud when I knock on it.
    What they forget to tell you is that on european cars is that the rubbery coating on the nice rubberized plastic parts rub off after constant use.

    However, I do agree with you on the exposed metal, on the other hand but how often do you stare at that stuff?

    the mazda 3’s interior is definitely a class above it in terms of layout and tactile quality, though the civic’s audio controls are a bit better placed imo. The gauges on the mazda3 definitely win me over, because the digital speedo is just..weird.

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