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Fata Morgana
2007-10-11 13:40
car, yet again
advice, car
So I'm finally buying a new (to me) car. I'm looking at Honda Civics from 2000-2002 with manual transmission (most are 1.7L engines). They are supposed to get good mileage (over 30, up to 40 for some) and are supposed to last a long time. Prices seem to be in the $5000-7000 range (e.g. this, this).

I've mostly owned Toyotas before but their mileage isn't as good as the Civic and it's harder to find ones with manual transmissions. (I'm willing to consider automatics but would prefer a manual, and there seem to plenty on the market, so why compromise?) Fords and GMs are right out.

The intrawebs tells me that in addition to the usual used-car checklist, I should make sure to check the front shock absorbers for leaks and the timing belt for wear since those are two known problems with Civics.

Anyone have anything particularly good or bad to say about Civics? Do you think I should be considering other kinds of cars? Any other thoughts?
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Beatrice M
2007-10-11 22:56 (UTC)
(no subject)
I like Hondas and think they're great cars. If they're well maintained, they can run for a very long time!
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2007-10-11 23:53 (UTC)
(no subject)
My friend Owen drove us 15,000 miles in a month and a half with a Honda Civic which had over 200,000 miles on it. I'm not sure of the year, but he has had a couple of these and had the same "luck". He was sure they were going to completely break down on him, but the only thing that stopped them was people running into him. I was incredibly impressed. He didn't even take particularly good care of them...

Then only problems he really had on this last one was the spark plugs kept going out once we got back, and we kept having to add oil every 300 miles (again, he didn't really take to good of care of them anyways- so that may be the blame for these.

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2007-10-12 04:26 (UTC)
Yay Civics!
Our 2000 Honda Civic still seems to be going strong. It's always struck me as a good-natured, reliable sort of car, and I'm quite fond of it. Something went wrong with the air conditioner a couple years ago and had to be fixed, but I think that's the only flaw it's exhibited so far.
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2007-10-12 05:44 (UTC)
(no subject)
Don't know about the Civic, but I like my Accord :). Although I did have to replace the transmission :(, but it was 10 years old.
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Daniel Eisenbud
2007-10-12 07:51 (UTC)
(no subject)
I loved my '98 Honda Civic. I got it new and put 70k miles on it in 5.5 years with absolutely no mechanical problems. Sadly, then it got stolen and stripped for parts. It was the CX hatchback with a manual transmission, which was the one model that had no power anything, including steering (it did have power brakes, happily.) But it was a small enough car that the lack of power steering was only a minor annoyance when parallel parking.

It was zippy enough, and fun to drive -- definitely a good car. The one downside, which was its downfall, is the high theft rate of Civics.
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2007-10-12 15:36 (UTC)
(no subject)
Hondas are lovely. Haven't driven a Civic, though.
I have experience with timing belt issues. Apparently you can't actually see the thing without several hours of a mechanic's labor, so they just assume it should be replaced around 100k to 120k miles, and they put a sticker where it's visible to say when it was replaced. If it blows, it's likely to total the car.
I advise going to an expensive-but-perfectionist type mechanic for it. We had ours replaced by a cheap-and-dirty type mechanic. It cost us twice the price of having the job done by our good mechanic, because apparently it's a delicate job and they broke tons of other stuff doing it.
Happy hunting!
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2007-10-12 18:04 (UTC)
(no subject)
How interesting: when I was looking for a used car, I got a Corolla, with a manual transmission, from the year 2000.

I think I found it through cars.com, but I don't really remember. My girlfriend helped me search online, and pointed me to a listing; I called, and here we are.

I've never been a Honda person, as all of my and my family cars were Toyotas (with the exception of a Subaru and a Buick - man, did that car last!) - so I can't help you with Honda advice. But if you find a stickshift Toyota, know than I get on the average 32-33 MPGs (I measure during every fueling), with the lows of 28 and the high of 37. It just makes me happy to be over 30; but I know other cars are consistently more efficient.

And definitely get a manual car. ^_^ I have one, and I've been happy with driving ever since. I like it on freeways, on red lights, and in traffic. The only times I don't like it are when I'm going up a steep hill. Going to see Lombard street on a busy Sunday afternoon scared the heck out of me.

And let us know what you get!
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Fata Morgana
2007-10-12 20:52 (UTC)
(no subject)
First test-drive had bad bearings and smelled of mildew.:~/ On to others ...

General goals:
* small to medium car
* manual transmission (OR hybrid, maybe)
* good gas mileage
* budget: target $5k-7k, absolute max. $10k
* currently targeting 2001-2003, but flexible

Features wanted:
* cruise control
* air conditioning
* working radio
* remote keyless entry (really optional, but would be nice)
* four-door -- generally preferred, but two is possible (especially if it's a hatchback)

Possibilities (in order of preference):
* Honda Civic manual 2001-2003 (28/35, ULEV)
** Sedan preferred, coupe possible
** 2003 has a hybrid model
* Toyota Corolla manual 2001-2003 (28/37, LEV)
* Toyota Echo manual 2001-2003 (29/37, LEV)
* Toyota Prius automatic 2000-2003 (42/41, SULEV)
* Honda Insight manual 2001-2003 -- two-seater only, though (48/60, ULEV)
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Fata Morgana
2007-10-12 21:38 (UTC)
(no subject)
Also ... blue book value for (perfect condition) 2002 ...
Civic: $9000
Corolla: $7500
Echo: $7300
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Fata Morgana
2007-10-12 21:51 (UTC)
(no subject)
An awesome tool: http://www.kbb.com/KBB/PerfectCarFinder
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2007-11-11 01:41 (UTC)
A little behind the gun

I'm a little behind the gun (as it appears you've already purchased), but have to say that I've really enjoyed my Civic for the past two years since getting rid of my truck (and you know how much I loved my truck). It has traveled up to 50 mpg (traveling an average of 75mph with the AC running full blast) running on Washington and Oregon state gas and regularly gets about 40 mpg on Cali gas. Since 1992, Honda has utilized "V-Tec" technologies with variable valve timing, which I have heard mentioned at Bioneers a few years ago is one of the key attributes of the "dream car" of today (an auto designed with existing technologies utliizing technologies across design disciplines and patent lines and which is projected to get approximately 200 mpg). It's a very well built motor and regularly found Civics with over 300,000 miles running very well for sale when I was looking for mine. As with many vehicles in this class, though, little things tend to go, but that is to be expected.

Anyhow, it looks like you went with Toyota. A wise decision design-wise, for longevity and quality engineering and which seems to make the most sense for American workers.


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