For those of you who read our 2000 Economy Sedan Comparison Test, you already know that last year's best-selling economy sedan (according to the January 8, 2001 issue of Automotive News), the Honda Civic, placed eighth out of nine vehicles. We were surprised -- to say the least -- as we're sure were many Civic loyalists. But were the test results blasphemous? Not at all. The 2000 Civic wasn't a bad car; it just needed to keep up with the times. To be specific, Nissan and Ford, among others, had caught Honda dozing.
Enter the all-new redesigned 2001 Honda Civic, complete with two new body styles and a promotion from subcompact to compact car status. The enthusiast-oriented Civic Si and the hatchback model have been axed for 2001; the Civic is available now only as a sedan and a coupe. The Sedan is available in base DX, popular LX, luxo EX or natural gas-powered GX trim, the latter equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Coupe can be had as a DX, LX, EX or an HX, which features Honda's high-efficiency VTEC-E Lean Burn engine (CVT is available as an option on the HX Coupe). Our two test specimens were a Civic LX Sedan and the more aggressively styled, generously appointed EX Coupe. Take a deep breath; it's time to hop behind the wheel and determine whether the new Civic deserves to hold on to its best-selling status.
A redesign wouldn't be complete without engine improvements, although in the case of the 2001 Civic, those changes are relatively minor. Displacement is up only slightly (from 1.6 to 1.7 liters) in both engines. The VTEC engine is up on torque from the previous generation, making 114 foot-pounds of grunt at 4,800 rpm (up 7 from last year), while the base engine makes 110 ft.-lbs. of twist at 4,500 rpm (up from last year's 103). Our EX coupe tester came standard with the VTEC (Honda's acronym for Variable Valve Timing and Lift-Electronic Control) engine, while the LX sedan came with the base 1.7-liter. Pony power from the VTEC engine remains 127 as in the previous generation, while the base engine goes from 106 to 115 horsepower.
During track testing, the LX Sedan scooted from 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds, while the EX Coupe hustled to 60 in an impressive 7.9 seconds. The Sedan swallowed the quarter mile in 16.5 seconds, while the Coupe gulped it down in 16.2. Both models' times were markedly better than those posted by the 2000 LX Sedan we drove in last year's comparison test. In real world driving, the horsepower increase in each engine wasn't readily apparent; both models built up and maintained speed without complaint and passing power was never lacking, just as in last year's Civic. One of our drivers was cognizant, however, of the increase in mid-range torque, which he found delightful.
But the most notable engine improvements have more to do with refinement and environmental consideration than with brute power. Both engines are now certified with Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) status in all 50 states -- making the new Civic as clean as Honda's own gas-electric hybrid, the Insight -- and the EPA fuel economy rating is now up to 32 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the VTEC engine. The base 1.7-liter engine has a slightly higher highway rating of 39 mpg. A more rigid crankshaft and redesigned pistons were utilized to reduce engine noise and vibration, and they seem to have worked; noise from both engines was adequately suppressed, although the VTEC engine in the EX Coupe was noticeably buzzier at highway speeds, probably due to its transmission's lower (higher numerically) final drive ratio.
We found the Civic's most impressive drivetrain improvements to be in the transmission. Both the EX coupe and the LX sedan we tested were equipped with a five-speed manual tranny. For 2001, Honda revised the gearbox to afford a "click stop" shifting feel for sportier responsiveness. Increased synchro capacity also contributes to a more fluid shifting feel, while a flexible flywheel cuts down on engine vibration. These revisions were indeed evident in both of our test vehicles -- the clutch and shifter worked together with a buttery precision usually reserved for more expensive vehicles, and clutch take-up was exceptionally smooth. While the Civic's manual tranny was already in the top percentage of its class, 2001's revisions are enough to keep the Civic's competitive edge in this respect. For instance, when compared to our very competent and fun-to-drive long-term Focus, shifting action in the new Civic is undeniably more seamless.
Much ado has been made about Civic's redesigned suspension, with some detractors claiming that Honda had "sold out" by replacing the sophisticated double-wishbone front suspension with the more inexpensive MacPherson strut configuration. We spoke to one of Honda's PR representatives about the matter, and he asserted that the new suspension was rather like a hybrid of a double-wishbone and a MacPherson strut configuration. He maintained that the relocated, high-mounted steering gearbox provides better toe control (the amount that the tires point in toward each other), thereby reducing bump steer and keeping the tires in contact with the road. There's no denying that the redesigned suspension is tuned more for ride comfort than for performance, but it really isn't noticeable under most driving conditions. We have heard, however, that struts make it harder to lower a vehicle. But unless you're a street-racer who plans to make that kind of modification to your Civic, we don't see what the big whoop is.
Both front and rear spring rates were reduced for 2001, and the front suspension still utilizes gas-filled shock absorbers to make for a smoother ride in the new Civic. Indeed, the Honda does a nice job of absorbing harsh road irregularities, while at the same time keeping body roll in check. Over undulating pavement, however, the vehicle floated a little more than we would've liked. Then again, the movement was far from wallowy, and most people will find it perfectly acceptable for your average economy car.
Honda also revamped the Civic's steering for 2001 -- a quicker ratio makes for immediate responsiveness and the power-assisted system is now variable effort, offering more power assist at low speeds and less assist as speed increases. We had virtually no complaints with the new steering system, which we found to be nimble and well weighted. The front disc brakes have been beefed up slightly, as well; the rotors are larger in diameter (from 9.5 to 10.3 inches) on DX and LX models and remain at 10.3 inches on the EX. Pedal feel was progressive on the Sedan, and deceleration from 60 to 0 was covered in 146 feet. The ABS engaged unobtrusively on the EX Coupe (60 to 0 was accomplished in a much more confidence-inspiring 124 feet). While stopping action was far from atrocious in the Sedan, our test driver asserted that the confidence of ABS is worth the extra investment. Too bad antilock brakes are still only available with EX or GX trim.
With this year's redesign, Honda made absolutely sure that the new Civic was distinguishable from the previous generation. Furthermore, designers wanted to establish separate personalities for the Sedan and Coupe (the Sedan was designed in Japan, the Coupe in the U.S.). We deemed both vehicles attractive and cleanly styled. The Coupe's design is sportier and slightly more daring than that of the Sedan, so Honda seems to have accomplished its goal -- its roofline is 1.6 inches lower than that of the Sedan, which is evident in its comparatively scant headroom. Tighter gap tolerances between body panels (most notably on the front and rear bumpers) contribute to the seamless, solidly screwed together look of both body styles, and the Coupe receives additional structural reinforcements to enhance its sporty-intentioned ride and handling characteristics. Nevertheless, we did notice more road noise making its way into the cabin in the Coupe than in the Sedan.
While there are those who would denigrate Honda for changing the Civic's front suspension design, no one can deny that the redesign pays off in terms of interior room. The MacPherson strut set-up takes up less room than the double-wishbone, thereby allowing the Civic's overall length to be decreased by 2 inches, while interior room has actually increased. Meanwhile, the more compact double-wishbone rear suspension allowed engineers to move the exhaust pre-chamber farther back, creating a flat floor for the interior. Now your buddies/kids will bloody fewer noses in the battle over who must sit in the middle seat.
Interior accommodations notably improved in the 2001 Civic. Front seat shoulder and hip room are a little more generous this year, and rear seat leg-, shoulder- and hip room have all been slightly increased in both body styles. We found the front seats to be comfortable, with decent lumbar support and side bolstering. The EX Coupe driver seat has a seat height adjustor and fold-down armrest, whereas the LX Sedan did not. Visibility in both vehicles is exceptional, thanks to narrow B- and C-pillars.
The backseat isn't as commodious -- while one 5-foot-7-inch editor found legroom to be sufficient, she was unimpressed with the minimal amount of foot room and inadequate thigh support. Fortunately, the backs of the front seats are soft, so taller passengers won't have to worry about bruising their knees. Backseat storage is pathetic, with nothing more than a single seatback pocket. All three rear seating positions get three-point seatbelts. In the Coupe, a slide bar on the front seatbelts thoughtfully facilitates ingress/egress of backseat riders.
Some of us were more impressed with the interior design of both models than others. One editor raved that she loved the center stack design, which is for the most part unchanged from that of the previous generation, placing climate control dials vertically down the driver side of the center stack -- a design which is both distinctive and utilitarian. The stereo controls, however, are odd in that they're angled slightly up and away from the driver. One critic griped that the stereo buttons were too small and the unit itself should have utilized more space in the dash. While the cloth and plastic interior is strictly no-frills, we admire Honda's ability to make it look so slick. We especially liked the muted bronze-colored trim around the shifter.
The EX Coupe we tested came with a black interior, which complemented its slightly edgier exterior design. All Coupes are distinguished on the inside by silver highlighted gauges and amber nighttime illumination. EX trim graced our tester with a single-CD player, but no cassette deck (LX trim offers a tape player only). It also included a nifty enclosed CD compartment (which holds three jewel cases) underneath the head unit. Other goodies that came standard with EX trim were a power tilt/slide moonroof, one rear cupholder (both trim levels get two up front), a cargo net and 15-inch tires (our LX Sedan was shod with 14-inchers). In addition to bigger wheels and tires, EX models come with a rear antisway bar, whereas LX models do not; consequently, we noticed less body roll in the Coupe than in the Sedan.
We discovered a few build quality issues atypical of Honda in both of our test vehicles, which we hope will be limited to early production models. The seat track cover behind the driver seat came off in the LX Sedan, and we found the passenger door trim surrounding the window switch to be loose and the hood and grille to be misaligned on the Coupe.
On the whole, we're pleased with the Civic's redesign. While it likely will not appeal very much to enthusiasts and aftermarket-oriented street racers, it should suit most people shopping in this class just fine. Whether or not the LX Sedan and EX Coupe are worth upwards of $15K and $17K, respectively, is largely a matter of personal preference. Frankly, we find it reprehensible of Honda to continue to make ABS such a costly option. Aside from that gripe, however, we can find little reason to steer the average economy sedan buyer clear of the new Civic.
The Honda Civic has been completely redesigned for 2001; it is now available only in Coupe and Sedan body styles. The Sedan was designed in Japan, the Coupe in the U.S. The Coupe has definitely been made to look much sportier than the sedan. Our test vehicles were a Sedan in LX trim and an EX Coupe.
The 2001 Honda Civic has a new MacPherson strut front suspension that replaces the previous double-wishbone suspension, allowing the vehicle's overall length to be shortened while interior room is increased slightly.
The double-wishbone rear suspension has also been redesigned, moving the exhaust pre-chamber from the cabin floor, making a flat floor for the backseat. For 2001, the Civic goes from subcompact to compact car status.
A softer suspension makes for better ride quality over rough roads, but both vehicles jostle and bounce over bumps in the highway. However, for most driving conditions, the ride isn't overly soft.
The LX Sedan has a 115-horsepower, four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The shifter and transmission work together with buttery smoothness; clutch engagement is very smooth.
The EX Coupe come with a 127-horsepower, four-cylinder VTEC engine, also mated to the five-speed manual tranny. VTEC engine revs higher than the Sedan's, but isn't terribly whiny. Road noise, however, was more apparent in the Coupe than in the Sedan.
The LX Sedan scooted from 0-60 in 8.4 seconds, while the EX Coupe hustled through in an impressive 7.9 seconds.
Brake pedal feel was progressive on the Sedan, and deceleration from 60 to 0 was covered in a modest 146 feet. ABS engaged unobtrusively on the EX Coupe (60 to 0 was accomplished in a much more confidence-inspiring 124 feet).
Honda revamped Civic's steering for 2001 -- a quicker ratio makes for immediate responsiveness and the power-assisted system is now variable effort, offering more power assist at low speeds and less assist as speed increases. We had virtually no complaints with the new steering system, which we found to be nimble and well weighted.
The no frills cloth and plastic interior is attractive and modern-looking. A unique center stack design places climate controls within easy reach, vertically down the driver side of the center stack. Stereo controls, on the other hand, are oddly angled up and away from the driver. The EX Coupe came with a CD player; the LX Sedan came with a tape player.
Front seat shoulder and hip room are a little more generous this year, and rear seat leg-, shoulder and hip room have all been slightly increased in both body styles. We found the front seats to be comfortable, with decent lumbar support and side bolstering.
While it likely will not appeal very much to enthusiasts and aftermarket-oriented street racers, the new Honda Civic should suit the average economy sedan buyer just fine.
Vehicle Evaluated: Honda Civic LX Sedan
System Score: 3.75
Components: This is one bare-bones, stripped-down audio system. If good sound is important to you, you might consider stepping up to the EX model, which offers six speakers instead of four and a CD player to boot. As it is, your Aunt Martha might sing better than this system, and we heard she lost on The Gong Show.
The system consists of an AM/FM/cassette in-dash, with two pair of simple 5-inch, full-range speakers for reproduction -- one in the front doors, the other along the back deck. Although the head unit has no CD, it does offer a great ergonomic feel, with large circular buttons for volume and tone controls. It's also well elevated in the dash, for easy and safe operation.
Performance: Considering the entry-level nature of this system, it doesn't sound too bad. How's that for a backhanded compliment? Highs are sparkling and bright, lows thump enough to give you a cheap thrill. But overall, without a CD, it's difficult for any system to get up and dance. This one needs to go back to dancing school.
Best Feature: User-friendly head unit.
Worst Feature: No CD player.
Conclusion: Don't buy this car for the stereo. Consider stepping up to an EX if you want better sound.
Executive Editor Karl Brauer says:
Honda's special gift is creating vehicles that feel as precisely and as finely crafted as a Swiss watch. This trait holds true whether you're driving an $80,000 Acura NSX or, as in this case, a $17,000 Civic. It's tough to improve the benchmark of a given market segment, and the evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, changes made to the 2001 Civic are proof of how right the car already was.
Improvements, nonetheless, were made, with several instantly recognizable to this editor. First, the seatback angle goes upright enough to suit my driving style. I'm still using the forward-most setting, but now the forward-most setting is fine for me, unlike the previous model's that left me pulling on the steering wheel to hold myself up. Another big improvement: mid-range torque! I was repeatedly spinning the tires when I first drove the car because of its incredible throttle response and broad powerband. The engine size only went up by a tenth of a liter, but the car definitely feels quicker than the last Civic I drove. Finally, the trunk is huge. At 12.9 cubic feet, it ties with the Ford Focus and Mazda Protege for volume, leaving only the Chevy Cavalier and Daewoo Nubira with slightly more cargo room in this market segment.
Obviously, some Civic fans (you know who you are) are bemoaning the new, more mundane suspension design and the loss of the Si model, but the other 97 percent of Honda's economy buyers have nothing to complain about, except for maybe the Civic's ever elevated price tag -- and the loss of a hatchback model.
Editor-in-Chief Christian Wardlaw says:
After spending a couple of hours driving the new 2001 Honda Civic EX Coupe on city streets, high-speed highways and twisty two-lane roads, I'm left wondering why Honda bothered with an entire redesign. With the exception of a suspension that bobs and bounces over dips and bumps, the car's flavor is identical to the old '96-'00 generation, with a slightly cheaper aftertaste. Is this an example of change for the sake of change?
The suspension is less taut than before, which contributes to better ride quality, but when hustling the car through a canyon, it does a lousy job of controlling jounce and rebound over undulating pavement. The driver seat offers decent seatback side bolstering, but little for the bottom cushion, meaning the car's handling capacity exceeds the seat's ability to hold the driver in tightly. Plus, the seat is too low to the floor, despite a height adjuster, and the dash cowl is too high, resulting in a feeling that I'm sitting on the floor and peering over the instruments to see out. Beyond that, I don't feel I have enough seat track travel for optimum comfort, and the dead pedal isn't on an even plane with the accelerator. To me, this is not a comfortable car, less so than the previous model, despite a claimed increase in cabin space.
What else is wrong? Build quality on our test sample was atrocious for a Honda. The hood and grille weren't lined up, and there was a constant and irritating rattle coming from the rear parcel shelf. Sound quality is pathetic for a car marketed to young people, and the stereo itself looks like an aftermarket unit and has small buttons (though the tuning knob is appreciated). There's lots of space on the dash -- why can't the stereo be larger? Also, Honda insists on putting the cruise activation button and sunroof controls on the left dash panel, which is not intuitive (but can be easily assimilated if you own the car). Finally, the door panel has a hard plastic top where I rest my elbow, yet parts of the dash that I never touch are soft.
So, what do I like? The styling is nicely done, and the car performs well, especially when the brakes are stabbed. Response is immediate and fade-free. The soggy suspension does manage body roll nicely, the steering is perfectly weighted and direct, the manual transmission glides from gear to gear with precision, and the tires grip well and keep to themselves when cornering at better than the suggested speed. This is a simple, fun-to-drive car, and I appreciate that.
To be sure, consumers will find the revamped Civic irresistible. With its reputation for durability and high resale values, coupled with class-leading crash test scores and high levels of engineering refinement, this Honda will be a hit. But personally, I think I prefer the old car, especially the Si Coupe.
Technical Editor Miles Cook says:
The new Honda Civic has been redesigned. That's the wild thing about Hondas. They're revamped seemingly all the time when they don't need to be. That doesn't mean the new car is any worse than the old one. Nor is it any better. The fact remains, all Hondas are good cars. When was the last time Honda made a truly horrible car?
Just think of the following opinion of the new car as applicable to the old one, too. Driving the EX coupe with the VTEC engine and the LX sedan with the standard 1.7-liter engine were both experiences in total refinement. The cars were smooth as silk. They both handled bumps and curves at a six-tenths pace (i.e., 60 percent of the car's ability) with no fuss. The clutch and shifter in each version was a model of perfection. Cars costing 10 times as much as a Civic should shift as smoothly, as precisely and as effortlessly. The EX coupe was the more sporting of the two cars with its lower gearing and more high-strung VTEC powerplant. It handled better, too, with its standard rear antisway bar and larger 15-inch wheels and tires.
That doesn't mean the slightly more pedestrian LX sedan was no fun to drive. That car's smooth and quiet ride combined with its perfectly competent handling manners were a joy after a long day at the office. Those who bemoan the change in front suspension design can buy an earlier car if they want. Under normal driving conditions, there simply isn't any difference that 99 percent of the population needs to worry about. If the millions of Hondas already on the road are any indication, then the new Civic will surely be a hit. And if you're looking for someone on the Edmunds.com staff to give you a hearty endorsement to buy a Civic -- new or used -- simply because it's a darn fine car, then you've come to the right place.
Civic Sedan owners:
"I have an Eternal Blue '01 EX five-speed...I'm at 3,600 miles now. The lowest MPG to date (30 percent highway/70 percent city) is 29. The highest, though, is only 32. If I don't get on the highway at all and don't go flying through town, I'll get 30. Once, I had to run to a small town 40 miles away. Traffic moved at 75-90 mph. The entire 80 mph trip guzzled a bunch of gas, let me tell you. If you have to go above 70, set the cruise. If you don't, you'll pay later. As for city driving -- try as hard as you can to stay under about 3,500 rpm. Above that, you inch closer and closer to where the VTEC timing switches over, which throws your gas mileage out the window badly (instead of 30, 20). DX and LX owners should adhere to that also, even though they are VTEC-less. For you five-speed owners, don't tool around town at 35 mph in third gear. Upshift. My stereo still codes, but the dealer says that a fix is on the way. They're supposedly doing it by VIN number, so hopefully, mine is on the way. A buzz has developed at the base of the driver's side A pillar. This is in addition to the creaking above the passenger airbag. My seatback release only works on one side, but the sunroof squeak fixed itself. All this will be fixed at 5,000 miles, when the car will get its first oil change. One other thing -- everyone check under their front bumper after you read this. There's supposed to be a flimsy black rubber something attached with flimsy plastic clips under there. No rubber -- you ripped it off. I did it within about 1,200 miles. Oh well. Likes: good gas mileage, good pickup, good handling, classy interior, good looks (love blue), and user-friendly controls. Really roomy inside, and a large trunk. Defroster is quick. Dislikes: No remote trunk release. Not much interior storage. Too-shallow cupholders. Marginal ride, especially on highway. Noisy above 65 mph. Sensitive to crosswinds at highway speeds. Despite all of this, this car is far nicer than just about anything out there. The Protege is a better sport sedan, and the Sentra is really close (the Focus is poorly assembled). The Civic is better overall than both. The Jetta outclasses the Civic, but is more cramped and more expensive." -- bordsource, "Honda Civic Sedan 3," #259 of 335, March 3, 2001
Editor's Note: A technical service bulletin has been issued for the problem with the stereo (certain units continually have to be reset with the entry of a security code -- preset radio stations must be reprogrammed every time).
"I bought a 2001 Honda Civic EX in October, because my husband had a 1997 (traded it in for a 2001 Accord EX) and it was a nice car.... When I picked up the car I popped the hood and couldn't close it (they fixed it), there is a rattling coming from the dash that is driving me crazy so I have to keep the radio on, and I have had to reset my radio at least six times because it keeps going back to code. Also, I got 31 mpg on my first two tanks of gas. However, I live in Chicago and there has been a lot of snow and the last two tanks have given me about 23 mpg." -- grusz, "Honda Civic Sedan 3," #110 of 335, Dec. 21, 2000
"Called the service rep today, my 2001 EX is going in for a new radio tomorrow! That's one of three problems eliminated so far (on a car with less than 1,500 miles on it). I find this very discouraging -- why this brand new car rattles and squeaks and has an unacceptable level of engine noise (fuel injectors?) is beyond me. I guess we were so excited over the rave reviews on the 2001 Civic EX that we overlooked the poor assembly and quality of the vehicle. It's sad that our second car, a 1996 Plymouth Neon with 54K miles on it runs quieter and doesn't rattle like the Honda. So the old rule of never buying a first production year vehicle still holds true...the redesigned 2001 Civic EX has been a disappointment." -- cwopete, "Honda Civic Sedan 3," #120 of 335, Dec. 26, 2000
"Other than the dealer experience, my Civic experience has been positive overall. I like the car's response and mileage. It is comfortable and surprisingly roomy. The only complaints I have thus far are: (1) the lack of interior storage space; (2) the tinny sound of the radio;(3) the lack of a door lock button on the passenger side for the passenger (yes, the driver has to do it); (4) the lack of an 'open trunk' button on the keyless entry. I also own a 2000 Accord EX-V6 and its radio is far superior to the Civic's. However, the Accord was $8000+- more. The Civic is a good choice for a commuter car but not necessarily a family touring sedan...." -- scottintx, "Honda Civic Sedan 3," #244 of 335, Feb. 23, 2001
"I got the 2001 LX manual at $14,012 plus tax. Also note the car is green. Metallic paint may cost you some extra. The dealer threw in a set of floormats. It had the cassette only, but I just added the single CD myself. The sound system is fine. The heating system is great -- the car gets warm right away (although the temperature has been around freezing for a long time around here in the northeast) Have not checked the air as yet. I could have used a little more space for 'stuff' around the driver's seat. Not much space to store a few cassettes or CDs. The engine is very smooth and responsive. Has always started right away at single digit temperatures. The kids in the back have more space than in my previous VW Golf. The only negatives I can find: a sticky shifter (although my wife does not mind) and I think that the sheet metal (or whatever material it is) is rather thin, especially behind the rear wheels. I would advise rear mudflaps to cut down on splashing noise during rainy days. On the other hand, an antenna built into the rear window, automatic door locks and auto-down power windows are nice for a basic car." -- gt200002879, "Honda Civic Sedan 3," #230 of 335, Feb. 11, 2001
Civic Coupe owners:
"I paid about $14,000 for my 2001 LX coupe including mudguards, floormats, and destination charge. The dealer didn't even really fight that hard on the price.... I'm averaging 33 mpg after two weeks with my new Civic. I don't know how that compares to the older models, but I drove many of the cars that it competes with (Protege, Focus ZX3, Corolla, Sunfire, Neon), and I liked the Civic best. Likes: Decent power for a 'cheap' winter car. Steering feel is pretty good with minimal body roll when cornering. Cup holder will hold almost anything without getting in the way of the other controls. (20-ounce bottle of Coke, no problem.) The ride is very quiet even at highway speeds. Dislikes: Crummy 14-inch tires don't work well in the snow. Poor ergonomics concerning the radio and HVAC controls. Cruise control buttons on the steering wheel aren't lit at night. Some people have mentioned that the new Civics look like they bounce a lot. I'm finding that it does seem a bit bouncy in the back end. Like the springs are too stiff for the shocks perhaps. It's interesting because the car doesn't roll much in turns. (Stiff springs?) Once the snow melts (May?) I'll be able to push it more and see how it really handles. Of course by then, it will be sitting most of the time while I play with my summer car. Oh well, it keeps me happy for now." -- saintviper, "Honda Civic Coupe + EX +Si (All Coupes)," #499 of 891, Dec. 31, 2000
"...The 2001 EX five-speed is very sensitive going from first to second gear. The clutch needs to be all the way down to disengage cleanly. Test drive and you will see what I mean. The 2001 Civic's suspension is a little softer than my previous Civic's ('88), but [the car] handles quite well. A firmer suspension would have been nice. Beige or gray interior hides dirt better than black (IMO).... Overall, a great car, comfortable ride and excellent gas mileage. And I expect it to easily last for more than 150K miles of hard driving without a problem." -- effica, "Honda Civic Coupe + EX +Si (All Coupes)," #685 of 891, Feb. 11, 2001
Have a 2001 EX Coupe with a five-speed and about 1,500 miles. Paid 16K with floormats and added window tinting and side rub strips. The strips are standard on the sedan but a dealer installed option on the coupe. Have averaged just over 36 mpg on the 1,500 miles. Drive about 50 miles to/from work when I drive it. Has been great so far, but right now is in the shop waiting on parts to fix a shifting problem. Have had the car in twice because it jumps out of second gear, or it never gets into second gear. First started only on downshifting from third but progressed to upshifting also. No set pattern but usually seems to be cold when it 'misses' a shift. It did it to my wife also, but at first, the dealer could not find anything wrong. Today it did it when the service manager drove it, and now, we wait for parts. Regional techs had no experience with this problem and after they talked to California technical center they said this is the fourth 2001 Civic that has done this. Needs new first/second gear linkage and a shift fork. Several other minor parts but looks like no transmission parts or syncros, thank heavens...." -- skihoser, "Honda Civic Coupe + EX +Si (All Coupes)," #505 of 891, Jan. 3, 2001