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Honda’s ongoing hit

<p>With gas prices spiking yet again and the federal government’s ecoAuto rebate program giving an advantage to fuel-efficient cars, Honda’s Civic sedan is sitting pretty these days.</p>

A Civic sedan just for you



Canada’s bestselling car stays relatively unchanged this time around but is still an undoubted tour de force in terms of content. Consider its safety package, with six standard airbags and ABS and active head restraints, as well as its clean and aggressive styling.





With gas prices spiking yet again and the federal government’s ecoAuto rebate program giving an advantage to fuel-efficient cars, Honda’s Civic sedan is sitting pretty these days.





That’s because the 2008 DX, DX-G, LX and EX-L models with their standard 140-horsepower, 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engines and five-speed manual transmissions qualify for a $1,000 fuel efficiency rebate. The Civic Hybrid also is eligible, but not the more powerful Civic Si version with the 197-horse, 2.0-litre four — the latter is a new arrival for ‘08.





Apart from the addition of the Si model and some upward price creep, Canada’s bestselling car stays relatively unchanged this time around but is still an undoubted tour de force in terms of content.





Consider its safety package, with six airbags and ABS and active head restraints — all standard.





Consider also the clean and aggressive styling, innovative two-tier digital instrumentation, which offers quick reads so your eyes can stay focused on the road ahead, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, the tilt and telescopic steering wheel that provides for the perfect driving position, an optional five-speed automatic (a first in its market segment), well-placed and smooth-operating switchgear that’s easy to reach, and — lest we forget — near-best-in-class fuel economy.





Storage spaces and cupholders abound, and even the base DX trim level has power windows and side mirrors, two-speed intermittent wipers, AM/FM/CD/MP3, and fold-down rear seatback.





If you don’t want to go the hybrid route and the sportier Si is not your cup of tea, there are four Civic sedan trim levels you can choose from. The base DX starts at $16,990 when fitted with the five-speed manual transmission. Add $1,200 if you prefer the option five-speed auto to take of the gearshifts. The additional DX-G ($19,480), LX ($20,980) and EX-L ($23,480) trim grades provide progressively more bells and whistles.





Combine that with the $26,350 Civic Hybrid, the new $26,680 Si sedan and five two-door coupe models and it’s easy to appreciate the Civic’s widespread popularity. Despite a sharply raked windshield and graceful, curved roofline, headroom is adequate for adult occupants. Rear seat legroom is accommodating, too, provided the front seats aren’t pushed too far back. Good choices in interior materials give the sedan a quality feel to go with nicely comfortable seats.





The dash design features a two-tier gauge layout marked by the easily read digital speedometer, fuel and coolant readouts in the top portion and other necessary information housed in the lower area.





The sedan’s 140-hp, 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine is responsive off the line and pulls well, even in the higher gears. Steering feel is good, requiring minimal effort while the ride is comfortable and handling moderately athletic.





Though it started life as Honda’s “entry-level” model, the Civic has grown over the years into a well-made, fuel-efficient compact sedan that has ruled as Canada’s bestselling car for more than a decade — quite a feat.




















2008 Honda Civic sedan



  • Type: Compact, 5-pass. sedan FWD


  • Price: $16,990 – $26,680


  • Engine: 1.8L L4 SOHC


  • HP: 140 @ 6,300 rpm


  • Torque: 128 @ 4,300 rpm



highlights:



  • Bold styling

  • Fun to drive

  • Comprehensive safety package

  • Powerful


 
 
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