Full 2005 Honda Civic Review
What's New for 2005
A Special Edition package is introduced for both the sedan and coupe; it features an upgraded audio system with MP3 capability, six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary jack for portable music devices. SE models also include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a wing spoiler and alloy wheels.
Thanks to its frugal and clean engines, spunky performance and reputation for excellent reliability and durability, the Honda Civic has been a consistent benchmark for the economy car class ever since its introduction in 1973. Those qualities continue to apply to the current Civic. Last redesigned in 2001, the Civic is available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback and comes in a number of different trims. While it's a fine car for just about anyone, it should appeal mainly to younger owners, whether they are college students or newly minted parents. It's easy to drive, easy to maintain and comfortable for the entire range of driving, from commuting to long-distance road trips. The Civic coupe has flashier styling than the sedan, but there's really no functional difference between the two. Just pick the trim level that most suits your desires (and budget) and you're on your way. The Si hatchback is the most sporting Civic in the lineup, featuring a more powerful 160-hp engine and a sport-tuned suspension. Though competent and refined, it's lacking in personality and we've found it a step behind cars like the Mazda 3 and Mini Cooper S. For those interested more in fuel economy rather than 0-to-60-mph times, there's the Civic Hybrid sedan. For the Hybrid, Honda has taken the technology pioneered in the Insight and improved on it. It uses a small 1.3-liter, four-cylinder gas engine (85 horsepower) assisted by a 13-hp electric motor. When the driver backs off the throttle or hits the brakes, the energy that is usually wasted is captured in a bank of batteries mounted behind the rear passenger seat. The next time extra power is needed, when pulling away from a dead stop, for instance, that captured energy is, in a sense, recycled. Honda calls this give-and-take between the gasoline engine and the battery the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system. Whatever you choose, it's pretty hard to go wrong with the 2005 Honda Civic. Every time you get into it, you'll know that you're driving a safe, dependable car that causes minimal damage to the environment and will provide years of faithful service.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2005 Honda Civic comes as a coupe, sedan or hatchback. For the coupe and sedan, there are four main trim levels: the base DX (sedan only), base Value Package (coupe), LX and EX. The basic DX offers little more than an AM/FM radio. The VP adds air conditioning and a CD player. If you can swing it, the LX is the better choice, and you'll get most of the features you need, including cruise control; keyless entry; power windows, locks and mirrors; and a tachometer. Going with the EX nets you a moonroof, antilock brakes, variable wipers, a driver seat-height adjuster and alloy wheels. There are also four specialty models: the HX coupe, SE coupe and sedan, Si hatchback and Hybrid sedan. The frugal HX coupe is equipped similarly to the DX coupe, while the SE matches closely to the LX sedan, with the addition of a premium audio system and cosmetic enhancements. The Si hatchback boasts standard rear disc brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats and special gauges. The Hybrid, in addition to its special powertrain, is most similar to the EX, less the moonroof.
Powertrains and Performance
DX, VP and LX models are powered by a 115-horsepower, 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The EX powers up to 127 hp, while the lean-burn 117-hp HX boasts more miserly fuel economy. The HX and Hybrid can be equipped with a continuously variable transmission. The 1.3-liter gasoline-electric powertrain found in the Civic Hybrid makes 93 hp and boasts the best fuel economy figures of the Civic range -- 45 city and 51 highway for manual transmission-equipped cars. The 160-hp Si is the most powerful Civic and comes matched to a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission.
The Civic has a perfect five-star rating for frontal impacts. When equipped with side airbags, the coupe earns a full five stars for side impacts, while the sedan gets four stars with or without the bags. The IIHS gave the Civic a "Good" rating (its best) for frontal offset crash results. Dual front seatbelt pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all five occupants and optional side airbags with a cutoff system that can detect a child or occupant out of position are all offered. ABS isn't offered on DX, VP, HX or LX trims.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Civic's interior is one of the best found in the economy class. It's roomy for the driver and passengers, and possesses a straightforward design and high-quality materials. If you plan on frequently moving bulky items, the Si hatchback, with its 35.7-cubic-foot cargo hold, is the logical choice.
With the sedan and coupes, the driving experience isn't the most exciting to be found in this class. The suspension is tuned for a refined and comfortable ride, not necessarily performance. The interior is roomy and quiet, however, and this allows the 2005 Honda Civic to be an excellent car for both commuting and long-distance trips. The Si hatchback is more fun, though not as much as other sporty coupes.