Pros: - Starts every time I turn the key - It says Honda
Cons: Getting good service is like winning the lottery Terrible brakes Transmission needs service often
I have owned this car since it was new (October 1999) I can not believe I haven't written a review yet. Well here we go...
My particular Civic is a 1999 Taffeta white 4 door automatic, sports car it is not. Dependable transportation it is ALMOST you'll soon see why I say almost.
Price and Impression: When I went out looking at cars, I drove past all the big guys Mazda, Nissan, Chevy, and Ford and headed straight to Honda. At the time of purchase I was driving a 1986 Buick Regal and recently got a job that required a commute, the Buick served me well but she had 101,000 miles and I just wanted something I knew would last with out weekend shade tree mechanic knowledge :)
When I first got to the dealer I was instantly mobbed by a receptionist? Who went and got a sales person who kept trying to sell me cars I wasn't interested in. Then they showed me this "left over" 1999 Civic and told me it was on special for 21,000 ROFLMAO after walking out several times 4 sodas and my own credit union financing me I got the car for 15,500 =)
Drivability: The car is very easy to drive, and maneuver, if you can drive a go cart and not flip it you are well qualified to drive this car. When driving this car you have to understand it was built for daily driving an economy, not racing. When going out into traffic you really better have a heavy foot or wait until the road is pretty clear because this car only has 100 horse power and 90 pound feet of torque, to which it doesnt start making until around 6,500 RPM (so there goes economy right out the window) Handling has always been really good with this car, it is pretty low to the ground (stock I dont know why anyone would lower a civic) steering although power is very tight and has always been that way sense new, Honda tells me its because its speed sensitive steering which dont make sense to me, at highway speeds it is really loose and you constantly have to drive this car or you will be in someone elses lane. Also with the mention of highway the whole meaning of my title, I feel like my life is in danger when I try to merge with this car on the highway, you just put your foot to the floor and prey that someone will slow down enough you will not get killed trying to get on the freeway.
Reliability: Ah my whole reason for buying this car, well in 1999 I live in South Florida we had a small hurricane come through I had to work. So my car is all of 2 days old and I got sent home during the eye of the storm passing. I didnt go through any puddles that I didnt think the car could handle. The next day I go to get in my brand new car Splash what the?!? There was standing water in my car! I go immediately to Honda and they tell me so sorry you will need to file an insurance claim. I told the dealer the car is barely 48 hours old and at the time under Florida law I could rip the contract up and hand them the car back. So they agreed to fix it. They said they took over 2.5 gallons of water out if the car and were not sure what could of happened unless I drove it into a lake! Which I didn't, so they replaced the door seals also.
From there I developed major transmission problems in 2001, sometimes it would get stuck in low, sometimes it would shift from first to second so hard that I thought I would be wearing the engine and or picking it up off the ground. I go to the same dealer and they tell me that they can not duplicate it! So from then forward I found a new dealer. This second dealer went to take off for a test drive and immediately turned it around and gave me a loaner for my hassle from the other place. They said they had to replace shift valve and rebuilt the transmission.
2003 More problems and out of warranty 69.000 miles once car shifted into final gear it would shake uncontrollably, also it sounded like my engine was attached with rubber bands I could physically hear it move around way further then it was designed to go. So I pulled over and had it towed to the dealer that fixed the transmission (POMPANO HONDA) in the first place. They precede to tall me that all three motor mounts have failed and will cost me $600 dollars to replace. Well I was pretty much stuck the tow cost me $75 and I wasnt going to tow it anywhere else. They told me it will take a few days to get the mounts and install, also they said your close to the limit we recommend for a timing belt, so with that they include new belts and a water pump, thats another thing anyway my water pump had started leaking a few weeks prior to this. So that was another 600, then they said that something was wrong with the linkage to the fuel injector and the throttle wasn't closing all the way and that could be hazardous. All in all that entire trip cost me around $1800
It gets better 2 days later after I get my car back; it develops this loud screech like the belts are loose, I take a day off work bring it in. They say they fixed it, 2 days go by, screech returns. I go back to the dealer and Im pretty ticked off so they give me a loaner as I told them I am about to loose my job for taking off work so much to bring this in. They call me a couple hours later and tell me Sir I am not sure what we can do for you, at this point you may want to consider trading the car in, it is getting old and very high in mileage (69,000 miles mind you) I was floored by this as the car didnt have that screech when I went in there. I do some searching and find the president of the dealer after numerous voice mails a manager calls me and says Im sorry you were told all that...we found the problem was our mistake please come down return the loaner and get your car. Ah Ha I got smart this time I picked it up I drove a block down the street parked it in parking lot I let it warm up I revved it up a bit (not high or anything to damage my motor) Its back, the screech that is people all over the parking lot are glaring at me, I get at red lights people roll up there windows and give me a dirty look LOL So I pull back in to the sales lot this time and I was like hey buy a Honda and get it serviced here and this is what it will sound like O and they will tell you when its only 4.5 years old its time for a new car!! Well the manager there didnt like that one bit he took my car to service bay ripped the key off the peg for the loaner said HERE take the loaner I will have my best men on the car till its fixed.
2 days later I get a call, we found the problem the tech that installed the water pump FORGOT to add water pump lubricant to the radiator fluid. I thought he was trying to blow smoke up my rear so I said really, can I have the part number and what is the tech bulletin for this (in utter shock that I knew dealers work off tech bulletins) he scrambled a bit and gave it to me. The part in reference is real, but the bulletin didnt apply at all to my model year car it was for 1997. So who knows if I even have the right pump in my car? Also 2 days later the check engine light comes on they wouldnt even look at it with out a diagnose fee of $200 so I asked what normally goes wrong on these model year cars with this mileage, (I know they arent magicians but they work on these cars day in and day out and they pretty much know were to start), so I was advised they think it is the O2 sensor. I go to my local auto supply shop and the 02 sensor was only $70 so I put it in my self and the light has gone off and staid off.
Current: The transmission is worse then ever it shakes when it goes to final again; the engine slams when it shifts from first to second. I have done a tune up on the car for a ruff idle (I replaced the wires with OEM ones from the dealer and put in Bosch platinum plugs) still idling ruff. Also the car is on it third set of brake rotors, for some reason, and I never had a problem with any other car doing this the rotors warp and cause a vibration in the peddle and the car to shake as it is stopping. Also I am on my 5th brake job the first one was at 9,000 miles LOL
MPG: I am getting around 19MPG as of right now with a mix of highway and city driving
Fit and Finish: The interior of the car is definitely not up to Honda standards, There is a plastic cover that covers the fuse box sense day one keeps falling off on my leg as I drive...so I threw in the trunk Honda couldn't fix it the 15 times i asked. There is a plastic piece that covers the steering column, the screws fall out constantly causing it to come off. One day going to open my drivers door, it got stuck I pushed it and the little lever that guides it and hold it open so it doesn't come back at you broke. The car has developed squeaks and rattles in drivers rear, passenger front and somewhere in the dash. Screw that hold the center console together rattled out and caused the center console to come loose, I found the screws and put back in.
Body: I have developed some rust on the inside area of the trunk around the area of the weather stripping, also devolved some rust small spots of rust on the roof. The paid still looks good as I try to keep up on washing and waxing.
Comfort: This is a compact car, not a luxury car, and this car reminds you of it every time you drive it. The seats are fairly comfortable, but when you shut the door the door is almost against you, your leg pushs against the center console, and the seating position in the car is really low, not as bad as a corvette per se but the seats are low, so it makes getting out of the car hard sometimes.