Our Cars : Keith’s Honda Civic – 1000 miles on

Well, this one’s been easy. Back in August, I picked up this tidy British-built Honda Civic Type R from long-time AROnline reader, Russell Gowers. My intention was to lightly use it in between the road test cars I use for work, thus being able to keep my own car insurance active, but also to keep my hand in the world of modern classics.

And so far, this little Honda has been brilliant, delivering exactly what has been asked of it, and never missing a beat along the way. I’ve used it on an off since I bought it and, although there’s a small list of things to do to make it perfect, I haven’t actually done any of them yet.

So, what have I found out about the Civic in the months since I bought it? Firstly, they are well-built. The guys at Swindon really know how to screw together a car – and mine, with almost 130,000 miles on the clock, doesn’t have a single rattle or squeak, while everything works absolutely perfectly.

How does it drive?

It has a ride quality that’s set in concrete – except that I don’t really notice it until I’m carrying a passenger, and I hear the wind being knocked out of them every time I go over a bump or hit a pothole. It steers sweetly, handles sharply and has a great engine note that simply eggs you on to drive faster at every opportunity. Not that I do, of course…

Things I’d criticise it for are few and far between. The clutch bites right at the bottom of its travel and, although I’ve acclimatised to it as Russell said I would, it still makes changing gear a rather ponderous affair compared with how it should be. Looking around on the internet, it’s a relatively simple adjustment, which I really must get around to doing as soon as I can.

Other than that, I’m struggling to criticise this car. It’s quick enough, but doesn’t feel as fast as it sounds, if that makes sense. One of my passengers said it was all noise and no go – that’s interesting considering it’s capable of 140mph+ and 0-60mph in less than seven seconds…

Will it last?

I think so, yes. Given my terrible habit of selling cars when there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s a dangerous thing go say. I suffer from CHPD (Compulsive Heap Purchasing Disorder), and it’s a cyclical behaviour trait of mine that’s hard to escape from.

It goes something like this:

  • I decide I want a car
  • I buy a car
  • I decide I love said car
  • I get guilty that I’m not driving it enough
  • I start finding ways of picking faults in it
  • I think of a reason why I need to sell it
  • I sell it for less than I should
  • I decide I want (another) car
  • Repeat ad nauseam

However, one good sign is this: the Civic needs a set of tyres. In the past, that would have been enough to have me deciding I need to sell the car. Right now, I am ordering a set of tyres – has the destructive cycle of behaviour outlined above been broken?

We’ll see…

Keith Adams


  1. Only just noticed this article. Glad the Civic is serving you well. The red paint looks fantastic in the photos with no sign of fade. Has it had a professional polish job recently?

    Impressive that a relatively affordable car with a highly tuned N/A engine (100bhp per litre) is still totally reliable at 130,000 miles.

  2. The Civic, after the dull 2001-05 model, really is a space age looking car and deserves to sell better. Unlike the Focus, which people still think is made in Britain( it’s German), the Civic is a British built car and just as good to drive. Also, unlike the Ford, it doesn’t have dealers whose customer care is non existent and doesn’t have the hit or miss quality you get with Fords.

    • It may have been dull, but in my view the “EP” shape 2001-05 Civic was the best that Honda made.

      Good value base models with a strong and economical engine, incredibly spacious 5 door cars for family buyers, not to mention the best Civic Type R they ever made. All of the Civics that followed were overstyled, overweight and overpriced.

  3. Actually Glenn, I’m now on my fourth Focus from the same dealer and haven’t any real complaints about the cars or the Sales and service staff at said Ford dealership. Probably that’s why I bought them all, though admittedly other people will have different experience.

    That said, my family and I have had various Hondas over the years and I’ve liked them all too! I’m not too keen on the latest 2018 Civics though – look a bit plump.

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