Honda Civic 2.0S Sport 2008 Review

Honda Civic 2-0S Sport fq

The Honda Civic came into being during the fuel crisis of the early 1970s. It was a small, frugal car that enjoyed instant success in many countries around the world including the US and Australia. Over time though, the Civic has come to be viewed as a bit of a ‘Nanna’s’ car.

With the new Civic it seems Honda is diverging away from the bland vanilla flavour of the previous Civic styling and trying to attract a younger audience. Sure there were some hot Type-R versions of the older models that were bought by young people, but the fact that the base models were such a great combination of comfort, efficiency, driveability and reliability meant that the Civic was really only appreciated by the blue rinse set.

The car we drove was the new Honda Civic Sport 2.0S which came with leather, paddle shift auto (SportShift) and optional Bluetooth connectivity.

The new Civic looks very fresh and futuristic. The sharper styling is definitely a leap forward from the previous shape being more distinctive and recognisable. The front and rear ends look great and appeal to a much wider audience.

The waistline seems high from the outside but once inside there is plenty of light in the cabin and it feels very airy and bright but also very safe. Interestingly the A pillar is very large and incorporates a small, non-opening window; something Nanna might recognise from the 60s – 70s as a ‘quarter vent’.

Visibility all round is very good except that the sloping bonnet and high dash conspire to limit frontal vision which makes it very difficult to judge where the front of the car is when parking.

The leather seats are very comfortable and have decent support which coupled with the adjustable steering wheel creates a good driving position. The steering wheel itself is beautifully crafted, well-sized, very comfortable and strangely ergonomic while not looking like a chewed dog’s toy. In fact the wheel is reminiscent of the elegant older ‘spoke and rim’ designs used in early Hondas .

The dash is very different from anything else on the market with a central analogue tacho taking the traditional place of the speedo which on the Civic is digital and set up and back from the other instruments. Honda’s goal in this design seems to have been to incorporate the speedo in the line of sight of the driver so he or she wouldn’t need to look down and away from the road. Maybe it’s just me, but having the speedo close to the bottom of the screen made me ignore it, rather than notice it as part of what is happening on the road.

The major controls are easy to use and feel like decent quality items, as do the heating and stereo controls.

While the styling might be quite different compared to older models, the driving experience hasn’t changed all that much. The 2.0 litre i-VTEC engine revs cleanly, produces a decent amount of power and sounds sporty in the upper rev range.

The paddle shift 5-speed auto is smooth but shift times are not ‘Ferrari-fast’. In auto mode the transmission is intuitive enough and selects the right gear in almost every circumstance.

The firm suspension is smooth enough for bumpy roads but taut and well connected to what is happening at the road which gives you confidence that the car will respond cleanly to your inputs.

The longer wheel-base of the new Civic does make for a more comfortable ride and better interior space, but has also pushed the once small Civic more toward a mid-size state. Room in the boot is more than you would expect being quite tall and deep, a definite bonus in a small-mid car like the Civic.

The only annoyance in our car was a distracting noise emanating from the driver’s side air vent on the highway and was something that I couldn’t trace the origin of, and something that the dealer would likely fix if in warranty

The interior is probably the high point for us being very comfortable, airy and generally a very nice place to be. The driving experience is not all that inspiring but is more than competent on the suburban roads that most Civics will probably end up on.

All in all the Honda Civic Sport 2.0S is a nice car that looks a lot better than previous models and will definitely appeal to young and old alike.

Price: from $36,000. The test car was fitted with the optional $450 Bluetooth phone kit

What we like

  • Spacious, airy, comfortable interior
  • Good rear and side visibility
  • Futuristic dash
  • Great styling

What we don’t like

  • Limited front visibility for parking
1.8 litre, 16 valve SOHC i-VTEC engine 2.0 litre, 16 valve DOHC i-VTEC engine
Maximum Power (kW@rpm) 103 @ 6300 114 @ 6200
Maximum Torque (Nm@rpm) 174 @ 4300 188 @ 4200
5-speed manual transmission
5-speed automatic transmission with Gear Logic, Sport mode and +/- paddle operated SportShift.
1.8 litre, 16 valve SOHC i-VTEC engine 2.0 litre, 16 valve DOHC i-VTEC engine
Suspension system MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link Double Wishbone rear suspension with front and rear stabiliser bars MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link Double Wishbone rear suspension with front and rear stabiliser bars
Steering turns to lock (revolutions) 2.7 2.7
Turning circle (metres) 10.6 10.8
Front brakes 282mm ventilated discs 282mm ventilated discs
Rear brakes 260mm solid discs 260mm solid discs
ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)
Wheel size 16 x 6.5JJ 16 x 6.5JJ
Tyre size 205/55 R16 205/55 R16
Compact spare wheel
Wheels 16″ 5-spoke
Alloy wheels
16″ 10-spoke
Alloy wheels
1.8 litre, 16 valve SOHC i-VTEC engine 2.0 litre, 16 valve DOHC i-VTEC engine
Length (mm) 4540 4540
Width (mm) 1750 1750
Height (mm) 1435 1435
Wheel base (mm) 2700 2700
Track front/rear (mm) 1500/1520 1500/1520
Luggage capacity (litres, VDA) 450 450
Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock 2.7 2.7
Turning circle (metres) 10.6 10.8
Weight (kg) 1194 (Man)
1221 (Auto)
1204 (Sport Man)
1231 (Sport Auto)
1241 (Auto)
1251 (Sport Auto)
Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg) 1200 (Man)
1000 (Auto)
1000
1.8 litre, 16 valve SOHC i-VTEC engine 2.0 litre, 16 valve DOHC i-VTEC engine
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 50 50
Recommended fuel 91-octane regular unleaded 91-octane regular unleaded
ADR Combined Consumption 6.9L/100km Manual
7.2L/100km Auto
8.0L/100km Auto
Optimal NZ Drive Test 5.2L/100km Manual
5.64L/100km Auto
6.1L/100km Auto
EnergyWise Rally ’06 6.23L/100km Manual
6.06L/100km Auto
6.72L/100km Auto
Fuel Saver Infomation
Make and Model: Honda Civic 1.8 Sedan Manual
Star Rating: 4½ stars out of 6
Yearly Cost : $1,790
Mileage : 6.9 Litres per 100 km Reference: 3600
Note: 2008(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $1.85 and an average distance of 14000 km
Make and Model: Honda Civic 1.8 Sedan Auto
Star Rating: 4½ stars out of 6
Yearly Cost : $1,860
Mileage : 7.2 Litres per 100 km Reference: 3601
Note: 2008(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $1.85 and an average distance of 14000 km
Make and Model: Honda Civic 2.0 Sedan Auto
Star Rating: 4 stars out of 6
Yearly Cost : $2,070
Mileage : 8.0 Litres per 100 km Reference: 3602
Note: 2008(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $1.85 and an average distance of 14000 km

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

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