June 4, 2014
2014 Honda Civic Coupe. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Mark Stevenson
As I left the world of college in the rear-view mirror, one of my first stops in adult life was at a local Honda dealer. It was there I learned some of the many deceptive dealer tactics while purchasing my second ever car, a 2000 Honda Civic Coupe in Si trim (not to be confused with the B-series powered SiR). It ferried me to and from work while doing double duty as a pizza delivery car in the evenings as I struggled to make ends meet.
Equipped with a five-speed manual, sunroof and electric windows (but no A/C) my little Si worked brilliantly, and while not fast, it was still a fun little car. That is until I ran it low on oil during a trip to Ontario. The inevitable engine swap and other associated repairs would become a money drain, eventually causing me to sell the silver two-door for a fraction of what it was worth.
However, I wish I still had that car. It was my own damn fault for neglecting it. The Civ’ put up with tons of abuse during my two years of ownership. And due to that it owed me nothing.
There was something magic about that little coupe. Maybe since it was my first time with a decent set of wheels, I felt as if I had earned its friendship. We clicked right from the start, and I truly miss that car.
It was with this feeling of nostalgia I climbed into the newest iteration of Honda’s compact two-door. This time I wouldn’t be rewarded with the duty of swapping cogs for myself as the test unit came equipped with the continuously variable transmission that’s all the rage these days.
Before I even set off, one issue became readily apparent.
I’m a tall guy, but not tall. Standing just over six feet, I’ve yet to find a car I didn’t fit inside in some fashion. Even the Mazda MX-5 affords me decent headroom with the top up. My old Civic Coupe of yore certainly gave me leg and headroom rivaling much larger sedans.
But the refreshed Civic Coupe didn’t. At least not with the included sunroof in EX trim.
As I sat in the driver’s seat with the height adjuster as far down as possible, my cranium made constant contact with the headliner, leaving me only one way I could drive this car. It wasn’t pretty.
Gangsta lean, engage!
Uncomfortable, and in a slightly bad mood about it, this week was not my favourite. If there’s one thing that drives me crazy, it’s being forced into a position that feels unnatural while driving. However, it does give an explanation as to why so many young male Civic drivers choose this pose.
Driving position aside, all other ergonomics are fairly spot-on. And the seat, even though it can’t be adjusted correctly, at least offers a degree of comfort I can live with.
2014 Honda Civic Coupe engine bay & 2014 Honda Civic Coupe dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Under the hood, the Civic’s four-pot has grown since I last owned one. The 1.8-litre SOHC i-VTEC motor isn’t as rev happy as the old D-series mill, but still produces decent motivation with 143 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. With the CVT transmission in S-mode in the gear selector, it can even provide a little bit of run around town or on your daily commute while using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. It’s no rocket, but it’s no Corolla either.
The CVT doesn’t even deliver the best fuel economy, considering that’s its main reason for existence. During the one-week test, I averaged 8.9 L/100 km in mostly city driving with spurts of highway cruising. Sorry, but I expected much better, or at least a figure below the mid-8s returned by my Mazda3 long-term tester in winter driving (and it has a somewhat traditional six-speed automatic to work with).