The 2008 Honda Civic is a departure from its usual Civic styling, the most radical being the interior.
The split dashboard with the digital speedo and the conventional tacho down below may not appeal to all but you get used to it in a few hours of driving.
It may seem a gimmick but actually helps with reducing the time taken to check the speed. In comparison to the previous Civic, this model is endowed with a little more athleticism.
That’s not to say that it is a sports car, far from it, but it does have tidy handling and reasonable amount of grip with a nicely weighted electric steering, though not very communicative, it is at least sharp.
The limitations come to light at freeway speeds where the steering feels nervous in minor corrections and darty at times. Not a reassuring feeling (especially in cross winds) but you learn to live with it. After the initial feeling of sporty handling settles in, you start to realise that this Civic has a rather fidgety ride that never really settles with increasing speed.
Long distance travelling can get exhausting. You are also given a running commentary of the road below with the less than impressive noise insulation (of say a similar size Corolla).
But at least it has a rather commodious interior that can seat 4 adults in reasonable comfort.
The 1.8L four-cylinder engine is nothing to get excited about either. It has adequate power but nothing much to win traffic light drag races, but will keep you moving as long as you are prepared to row the 5 speed manual box. Typical of Honda the engine lacks low down torque and needs a fair bit of revs before it starts to sing, or is that shout? As the revs rise you get a sporty exhaust bark but not the bite that would normally be expected.
At least it has a redeeming quality being that the fuel consumption is very respectable. We averaged 7.8L/100km in 50% city and 50% freeway driving (with the A/C on all the time).
All in all it is a nice runabout with no particular outstanding quality but a well put together package that will meet most of your daily commuting needs.
The way I see it is that it is a nice cookie, if a little half baked among its peers (read Mazda 3).