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Honda Civic, Sedan
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Nov 28, 2004 (1:46 pm)
"The difference between the best and worst reliable cars TODAY isn't that much. The Civic has had numerous recalls too and the Accord just announced another one a few days ago. No one is immune to recalls and when you make over 1 million Focuses sold worldwide, that's going to happen. The 05 Focus is light years ahead of the 05 Civic in terms of features and performance."
Really?! My 1994 Civic has had exactly 0 (ZERO) recalls in 10 years of being on the road. So yes, some cars are immune to recalls. I have been a faithful subscriber to Consumer Reports for over 10 year and there hasn't been one year where the Focus has come anywhere close to the Civic or Corolla or even the Protege based on reliability. Yes, CR ranks the Focus fairly high overall based on a broad group of attributes. Why don't you look at what owners are saying about both cars on carreview.com? You'll note that the Civic ranks considerably higher and just like CR it's actual owners writing the reviews. In my city of 60K, I've counted maybe 10 Escorts while there are literally dozens and dozens of similar vintage Civics--and this is a Ford/Chevy area. They simply don't hold up well. It doesn't matter to me if you have all the features in the world if they break after a couple of seasons or work intermittently or I have to spend hour in service for the 7th or 8th recall because of poor engineering/manufacturing.
Again I reiterate that buyers define "value" and "performance" differently. From my perspective you'd be much better off comparing the Focus to a Neon or Cavalier. Since you are espousing these views on a CIVIC chat group I can only conclude that you are deliberately attempting to provoke content Civic owners or justify your own purchase. I'm certain the majority of folks who come to this group do so to discuss Civics with the occasional reference to other similar models for comparison.
Wouldn't you be more successful sharing your views by preaching to the choir in a Focus chat group? I'm happy that you think the Focus is a better value. Perhaps you can convince enough weak-minded folks, who might otherwise get a Civic, to see the light and get a Focus. If so, I might get a better deal the next time I buy a Civic since Honda infrequently offers cheap financing and never offers rebates.
#3746 of 4041 Re: [gogiboy]
Nov 28, 2004 (2:08 pm)
The '92-'95 Civic was a great car--I almost bought a '95 EX 4-door but got a Mercury Mystake because of its traction control and nice ride/handling instead--should have gotten the Civic. Anyway, look at the data on the current-gen Civic and you'll see many recalls. Since you follow CR, you know that their reliability ratings on the current Civic were only Average for awhile, but recently have improved to Above Average. That's a departure for Honda; we're used to seeing their reliability ratings at Way Above Average, and that's one big reason why people pay more for a Civic and other Hondas than the competition. With Civic's reliability slipping a bit in recent years and the competition doing better, the gap is narrowing.
The Civic is one of my favorite small cars, but IMO Honda needs to make major enhancements in the next generation to go back out front of the likes of Mazda/Ford and Hyundai/Kia, which today offer better cars or better values than the Civic.
Nov 28, 2004 (6:53 pm)
I agree with your contention that Honda needs to make some significant enhancements in the next generation.
I consulted the April car issue of CR. On pg. 77 the bar graph lists the reliability for the 03 Civic at somewhere between 45-50% above avg. for small cars. It is followed closely by the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Echo. Interestingly, the Hyundai Accent and Dodge Neon also rank marginally above avg. (5-10%). The Ford Focus--which Mauto insists has narrowed the reliability gap--is 5-10% BELOW avg. It still falls within CR's avg. category, while the Civic is at the top of the heap. Statistically, this would suggest that the Civic has remained significantly above the Focus--in reliability. In light of this info. I'm not convinced the Focus has narrowed the gap unless one considers the fact that the 00, and 01 were below avg. while the 02/03 are avg.
I'm not disputing your other claims and CR does like the Focus because it is "agile and fun to drive". They also say that reliability has improved (to avg.), which allows them to recommend it. Also on pg. 46 of the same issue CR notes that (based on consumer surveys) satisfaction is below avg. and depreciation is well below avg. Don't you think the advocates for the Focus on this TH chat group ought to note those shortcomings along with the better performance and amenities?
Again, we all define "value" differently and that was the original point I tried to make in my earlier posts. By the way, sorry about the Mystake. I rented one once--big MISTAKE.
#3748 of 4041 Re: [gogiboy]
Nov 28, 2004 (9:10 pm)
I'm no big fan of the Focus, but I recognize it has improved since a dismal start five years ago. I still wouldn't buy one, as I think there are alternatives that fit my needs better for less money. The cars I think Honda needs to focus on (no pun intended) with the next-Gen Civic are the Mazda3 and Golf/Jetta on the upper end and the Spectra and next-gen Elantra (due in '06) at the lower end. While keeping pace with Toyota on the reliability front. I'd like to see the next Civic be the great small car, top in its class, that it was back in the '80s and early '90s.
Nov 28, 2004 (11:24 pm)
The facts are in "THE CLUSTERED WORLD: How We Live, What We Buy, and What It All Means About Who We Are," by Michael Weiss. But there are tons of other sources on demographics and buying habits. Studying who buys what is an industry all by itself.
Hondas - not just Civics - appeal to younger, better educated, and more affluent consumers, and they milk that image for all it's worth, because it's a prized one in marketing terms!
Nov 28, 2004 (11:29 pm)
It's a term used by Paul Fussell in his book "CLASS: A Guide Through the American Status System." In marketing terms it means a low-end consumer.
#3751 of 4041 Re: [gfedchak]
Nov 29, 2004 (3:59 am)
Actually, Hondas appeal to an ever aging group, particularly the Civic. Younger people are now moving to brands like Scion, Subaru and Mazda.
In the early 90s, the Civic was the best small car, no argument there. But since then, Honda has stood still in producing innovative features for the Civic and has offered only a 2HP increase in its aging rubber timing belted engine since 1992. That's right, a 1992 Civic EX had 125HP and a 2005 Civic EX has a 127HP. Meanwhile, Mazda has come up with the "3", a car that makes the current Civic look positively old fashioned.
By the way, I drive a 2002 Civic now. It's a good car, but not particularly better than the 1994 Civic.
Nov 29, 2004 (4:43 am)
The Focus on the other hand feels very european and sturdy, and was a much quieter ride on the highway.
Ha ha ha, "European" handling is what killed Caddilac Catera, Infinity G20, is one thing that most americans don't want -- feel the road. Although Focus is a decent car, it is no where near the "European" handling. Unless Ford changed a few things from 2002, Focus can not handle corners without getting tail happy, which is fun in itself IN HANDS OF A SKILLED DRIVER.
You want to know what true "European Handling is like" drive a mid-90's BMW M3. The new BMW's destined for US have been "Americanized," although still better than other cars on the road.
Please remeber that Honda is still one of the few "stand alone" manufacturers that have not become a conglomerate. Of course it is remarkable that a small guy Honda can threaten the huge corporations like Ford (Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Mazda, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Landrover...) GM (Chevy, Buick, Olds, GMC, Subaru, Daewoo, Opel/Saturn, Caddilac, Holden, Saab...) and VW (VW, Audi, Porsche, Bently, Bugatti, Seat, Skoda...)
#3753 of 4041 Re: Surely you jest. [imidazol97]
Nov 29, 2004 (5:02 am)
" It's the lower-class, mass-market department store nasty stuff that has all the flashing lights, buttons, and other nonsense that so fascinates proles." LOL
Lesson in socioeconomics, as I see it.
Laugh all you want, but it is true. The more flashing lights you add the more interested certain segment of the population becomes. There are people who know true value and people who think they know true value. Call it profiling or what not, but it works. Otherwise you would not have more gold jewlery displayed in certain parts of town than others. I swear there are more people wearing gold north of 125th street in NYC than midtown. You could drive by the PJ's and you will see not one but a few a Escalades with 24 inch gold plated rims, but you would be hard pressed to find one in Greenwich, CT (Although there is one or two). True value is to buy a house in Greenwich, CT. Perceived value is to live in the PJ's and drive a Caddilac with 24 inch gold plated rims.
When was the last time you saw a Wall street guy with a cellphone that has a flashing antenna light and fancy music? I haven't, but there are poeple in certain parts of town, who can not live without it.
How often do you see a person in nice car (Mercedes 500-600, BMW 7 series, Audi A8) blasting his radio to the point that car alarms go off? Not often, but the same Escalade with 24 inch rims, or a beat up 1980's econobox has that set up.
All of those describe true value and perceived value, you decide which is which.
Some people, similarly, place leather seats over resale. Leather seats have no appeal to me, sitting on a dead cow's hind is not something I dream about every day. Especially after having a car with leather, I would never come back to one. Too much work to keep your hind in the seat when driving "enthusiastically"
ABS, although is a safety item, can be had on a Civic. Adding ABS to LX would add $800 more to the sticker (if it were optional), and bring it closer to EX, so a person who truely values safety would get the EX ($1000 to $1500 over LX) bacause it has ABS.
I can go on, but it will probably get me banned from Edmunds.
Nov 29, 2004 (5:55 am)
"few "stand alone" manufacturers that have not become a conglomerate"
I see Hondas (Civics, Accord, Odyssey, Pilot), Acuras, Honda lawn mowers, Honda motorcyles, Honda home generators, and what else with the Honda name. What's your definition of a conflomerate?