The brief was to find a cheap, reliable, good looking car for a 20 year old which would last about 5 years before I considered spending over $30,000 for a big boy car like a WRX ST-I.
The choices I had were the Mazda 6, Subaru Impreza & Lancer VRX. I ended up making my choice after being in all three of these vehicles which were owned by mates of mine and deciding the Honda Civic Hatch was the way to go.
It’s proven to be an excellent all round car with a decent history and reputation for being a smooth, quiet, speedy ride and with all the technology you need for a car the price under my budget. The main feature I want to talk about is the Econ Mode, as a student where literally every dollar counts, I am averaging 1 refill a fortnight in comparison to my buddies who refill on at least a weekly basis. The reliability of Honda mixed with clever engineering means no space is wasted on the car, for example, the boot is so spacious and rugged, it is bigger than the Lancer VRX even including the subwoofer. Being a smaller car (not really its quite fat for a hatch) it is docile but manoeuvreable around town with nicely weighted steering and superb handling expected from a hatch.
Of course when you are shopping for a car with a budget, there are always downsides in respect to any car you buy. With the Civic Hatch, my major disappointment is with the sport pedals, it is nowhere near as 'playable' as semi-auto in comparison with the Impreza Sports Hatch, and it is a disappointment as a Hatch, semi-automatic is ideal for a smaller car.
So, overall impressions with the Civic Hatch, the interior for the drivers side is an absolute beaut, with the passenger side a bit null. The handling of the car is superb, even in comparison to other hatches. It is extremely driveable for everyday use and occasional late night quiet roads. It's 104kw is a bit of a letdown considering it has potential for more power, but driving in the streets in Sydney, you don't really need anything more than that with the amount of traffic.
What you're buying when you buy the Honda Civic Sports Hatch, you are buying the history behind the brand which is the reliability, faster than expected speed, and superior handling to all cars in its price range. The Sports Pack comes highly recommended, as it truly differentiates your car. Overall I am happy with my purchase, the drive is excellent, fuel consumption is amazing and speakers are crisp for a price under $30,000.