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>> It's the car that made Honda, the Civic. Back then a boxy little thing with a brilliant engine that didn't even need a catalytic converter to run sparkling clean. It's moved way up market since then, but did the tech move up with it? Let's check it.
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>> This eighth generation Civic is a huge styling departure over all the previous eras, and our EX-L Sedan is top of the stack. The Civic itself no longer slots at the bottom of Honda's line; the Fit took over that position. Our car is an urban titanium over boring beige. Well, they don't call it that.
>> Now a lot of Hondas and Accuras are getting a new, upgraded head unit as of 2010. The Civic's not one of them, though. We still have the old Etch-a-Sketch interface here which is pretty crunchy looking. Easy enough to use, though. Audio sources are a little more interesting; AM/FM, of course. We also have XM satellite radio as our choice; no HD radio on this guy. Single slot CD, not a multi-changer, and that CD lives back here along with the navigation DVD. The system's DVD-based, not hard-drive based. Here's that Honda oddity -- a PC card slot. You're never going to use that, but you can get a PC card adapter to something that the world still uses, like an SD card or compact flash, I guess. More interesting stuff lives here in the console where the USB jack right there let's you do a number of things: Hook up an USB thumb drive or, in this case, I've got my iPod connected. And that shows up under aux USB. If I had a USB thumb drive it would read that out rather well, and you can see the iPod menu here is pretty clear and maps, although not visually, at least categorically, to the stuff you're used to on your iPod. Sound comes out of a 160-watt amp going to six speakers around the cabin. There's also a dealer-installed option for base speakers, not to be confused with a subwoofer. There are two, I believe, 6-inch base drivers with a separate amp. Bluetooth hands-free as I mentioned, is part of the car with navigation. Again, we have a nav trim-level car. And by the way, there's another connection here. Any car that has L trim -- so EX-L -- or that has navigation, must have an automatic transmission; no manual available with nav -- kind of frustrating. It's a five-speed automatic with kind of a sport mode. If you drop down to D3, it's more of a top-gear lockout than anything else. No rear view camera on this car, by the way. Beyond that it's the usual good Honda ergonomics. You know, they really pioneered this dual-level eyebrow display and took it to that level where you've got your temperature, fuel, and speedo up on the high line, and your tachometer and some other indications down here on the low. It was very edgy stuff when it came out. It's now simply proven and works really well. Now you've got two hands-free systems in this car. These buttons here are just for the Bluetooth phone system. The little buttons that hide behind them are to send commands to everything else -- audio system, navigation, for example.
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>> All Civics, except for SI's, get a 1.8-liter 4 doing 140 horsepower and 128-foot pounds of torque. Nothing remarkable in any of that until you get to the fuel economy, which is a lovely 25/36 with conventional technology from a nearly 2900-pound car. Unfortunately, in a sense, we have an EX-L with nav, so there's no way on earth you're ever going to see a manual gearbox in here. And that takes just enough edge off the driving experience to keep it from being much fun. I find that Civics with a clutch always retain a certain twinkle in their eye. Instead, this car exudes that reliable, well built, "nobody's gonna blame me for buying one" completeness of purpose that has made the Civic the perennial that it is. That's really all it needs to do.
>> Okay, a Civic isn't the cheapest car in the world anymore -- twenty-four, five for this guy -- but it's an EX-L with navigation, top of the line. There's nothing to add except a few dealer-installed tech toys; for example, the eight CD changer if you want it -- why would you? 600 bucks, XM's about 300, remote start is about 500. Oh, and those extra base speakers are about 400 bucks. A lot of onesy-twosy stuff.
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