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I had the opportunity to test drive the 2006 Honda Civic 1.8S and the 2006 Honda Civic 2.0S on a nice Saturday morning thanks to Jeremy and Shannon from the New Straits Times lifestyle section. This is part three of a three part series. Click here to read part 1 and here to read part 2.

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Plastic panels were starting to dislocate themselves after 4000km on the mileage

The exterior build quality was excellent. No unsightly gaps in the fittings anywhere. But the interior was a different story. Like I said a few months back, I still think the glove box is flimsy and can’t be closed easily. There was also this plastic panel near the A pillar which was half way popping out. I did not manage to take a picture as my first reaction was to sigh at the state of Honda’s Malacca plant quality control, and then try to pop the panel back in. I could not manage to pop the panel back in properly. The result is a slight gap. I took a photo of that. This was the 2.0S. Later, I found the same problem in the 1.8S as well.

civicpaddle_left.jpgI also expected more of the feel of the dashboard material. I brought a friend of mine to the test drive, a hot girl who drives a Civic EK with a B16A engine. Fear this girl. She said her 1999 EK’s interior was much better, and the plastics felt better, they weren’t hard and plastic-like, but softer. There were also obvious cost-cutting measures everywhere especially in the thickness of metal they used for panels. Or perhaps this is for weight reduction purposes. There are also no side-sills for the doors. Shoes might scratch the paint. The paddle shifts on the 2.0S are shaped like the letter L. They seem pretty flimsy, so I’d recommend pushing the lower parts of the L. Somehow I think through extended extreme use, the top part would break or disfigure or something. You know how rough you can get during a hard drive.

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If you ask me, the Honda Civic is way ahead of all it’s competitors, helped by the fact that it’s competitors are starting to look very dated – especially the Nissan Sentra. Not just big on the outside but on the insides as well. Comfortable for it’s class. I would definitely fork out more for the 2.0S model. The extra RM11,000 for the 2.0S as compared to the 1.8S is definitely worth it, for the engine and the interior itself. Everything else like the 6-CD changer, the extra airbags, and the HID lamps is a bonus. The 2.0S was positioned as a driver’s car, and the 1.8S as a family car. I think they were positioned well.

The 1.8S has all the necessities one might need as a family car, and has a frugal engine, while the 2.0S has creature comforts and sporty performance. If I were to buy the Civic for myself, I’d take the 2.0S for the engine and the paddle shift. However, if I were to buy it for my wife (not that it’s going to happen anytime soon due to a lack of funds and a wife :P) I’d still get the 2.0S because of the 1.8 model’s interior. I’m sorry, but the beige fabric looks like it’ll dirty really fast, and kids can really make a mess sometimes. I also do not like feeling like I’m driving surrounded by towels.

Video: Funky wiper motion

It’s the Honda Civic 2.0S for me, and what a great car it is. I would still plonk my money on it despite the little problems like dodgy build quality here and there. Though the door panels are abit flimsy, the overall chassis has a very very solid feel to it, and door panels aren’t what protects you during crashes, but the frame does. One thing though. Honda needs to pay more attention to the QC because it’s competitor is the Toyota Corolla Altis – and the Toyota brand is known for build and reliability. You have to show that the Civic is a worthy competitor in that area too.

Also, there is on advantage with the fact that the new Civic looks alot larger than the old one and reaching Accord sizes. There is now no more reason for anyone to consider a brand new Proton Perdana V6.

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The 2006 Honda Civic with it’s older brothers – a green 1992 Honda Civic EG and a championship white 1999 Honda Civic EK

Thanks to Jeremy Mahadevan and Shannon Teoh for the opportunity to test drive both the Honda Civics. You guys are cool. Be sure to check out the New Straits Times on the 21st of June 2006 – that’s today – for their take on the 2006 Honda Civic. There is an online edition here. Please ignore the very poser photo. -_-”

As a recap, the 2006 Honda Civic 2.0S will cost you RM124,800, while the 2006 Honda Civic 1.8S will cost you RM113,800. I hope this review will be able to help your purchase decision somewhat. If you have any questions on the 2006 Honda Civic that I’ve not mentioned in this three part test drive report, feel free to leave a comment and I will reply.

Related Posts:
2006 Honda Civic In-depth Technical Specifications
2006 Honda Civic 1.8 SOHC i-VTEC engine – R18A1
2006 Honda Civic Test Drive – Part 1
2006 Honda Civic Test Drive – Part 2