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Honda steers Civic towards grads

Honda Civic
Test driving a Honda Civic from a student's perspective

Photo courtesy of Honda

Despite the trepidation I feel when I realize that gas prices, consumption and production are at an all-time high, I can't help but relish the power of being behind the wheel of a car. It also helps to know that the car I'm driving is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market right now.

The Honda Civic LX Sedan, which I recently test drove for six days, is one of those conscience-alleviating cars that I don't mind getting into. Let me just forewarn you though, I'm no automotive expert. I've been driving for almost five years now, with almost zero incidents. (Unless you count the two days that I stepped into the Twilight Zone, when I received a speeding ticket one day and the very next day, bumped into the back of another car as it slammed on the brakes - which he did to allow a police car to pull out in front of us). But as a student, who also just so happens to drive, I can at least give you the dummies' guide to Honda Civics.

First of all, this wasn't the Civic Hybrid, which is unfortunate given my concern about oil, but as far as fuel efficiency goes, the Civic Sedan is one of the better options on the market with 8.2L/100km in the city and 5.7L/100 km on the highway. In fact, I only had to fill her up twice in the six days that I drove it, which included my trip to and from Kingston.

The two-tier instrument panel is a bit annoying at first. I found myself continuously looking down at the odometer and doing a double take when I realized that I couldn't possibly be moving at five kilometres per hour. It's also a bit of a pain to have to readjust the steering wheel and your chair in order for the wheel to stop blocking the speedometer on the upper tier.

I've been reading a lot about how popular this model is right now.

Just looking around on the road or in any parking lot will affirm this fact: Civics are everywhere. In large parking lots, more than once, I found myself pressing the remote keyless entry to get into the wrong car. If you want to stand out, I suggest opting for any colour besides silver.

Overall, the Civic Sedan is a nice little car. It's fun to drive, easy to handle, and seems to have a solid safety package. However, don't expect it to be cheap. The car I tested comes up to over $26,000; not something I could see myself affording any time soon, much less when I graduate.

As the week went on, I began to question the reason behind having a student newspaper review a car. Excalibur hadn't really reviewed any cars before and although York is a very large commuter school, actually driving your car to York is highly discouraging due to cost and accessibility. When I asked the PR person who was handling this arrangement the question, he described the Honda Civic I was test driving as something a student would get after graduating. This was still strange to hear considering that I've never actually seen any youth-geared advertising for the car in the past.

Then came the Black Eyed Peas (BEP). Apparently, Honda Civic had sponsored BEP's current tour around the States and is even holding a contest to give away a customized Honda Civic Hybrid, featuring a leather interior; BEP-style graphics and paint job; an $11,088.50 ($10,000 US) Alpine Electronics multimedia system, which includes a DVD player among other things; an XM Satellite radio system; a public address system (a megaphone to give your "shout outs" when you "get into Monkey Business"), which is apparently illegal in most United States jurisdictions for non-emergency vehicles. Of course, this tricked out $50,933.92 ($45,934 US) vehicle is only available to American residents.

Whether or not "Let's Get Retarded" using BEP's involvement with the Civic is an enticement for a graduating university student to buy a Civic is up to the individual to decide. But what it does illustrate is that Honda is looking for this young audience, which, in the long run, could turn out to be very beneficial to any student when searching for their first ride.

As I drove the Civic, I realized that as the target market for cars such as these, we have great power to force companies to develop innovative technologies that will no longer rely on non-renewable resources for fuel. But that's only if students are willing to ask for it.

If they do, Honda may just be the car company that will listen.

Excalibur Online

Honda steers Civic towards grads
Japanese Import Car, New & Used Car, 2007