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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Honda Civic Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Honda Civic Overview

The Secret Ingredient in Perfection Pie

If all cars were as well built as the Honda Civic, we'd probably live in a world with less repair shops and more car washes. The Civic's bullet-proof build quality is but one of the reasons for its success; one could also point to the car's excellent resale value and loyal repeat buyer base. But if you really want to understand why so many love this car, you need only talk to group of Civic owners. You will soon learn that, for the most part, they are one happy bunch who truly love their cars.

Should you choose to join the ranks of the Civic minded, you need only pick one of four trim levels, select coupe or sedan (and coming soon, a hatchback), then decide if you prefer a traditional gasoline powered engine or a hybrid gas/electric system (available late 2002). No matter which Civic you choose, you can take comfort in the knowledge that they all share the same basic suspension and interior configuration; the only differences reside in their powertrains and content level.

The entry level DX and HX models begin just over $12K and come comfortably equipped. There is a short list of dealer installed options that includes air conditioning and a choice of audio upgrades. The HX model employs Honda's patented VTEC engine technology, which produces more power with less fuel than a conventional engine, earning an amazing 36-mpg city and 44 mpg highway with its 5-speed manual. The HX is also the only Civic to offer a CVT (continuously variable transmission) as an option. The CVT automatic transmission replaces the traditional gear set with a belt wrapped around two expandable pulleys. This design eliminates gearshifts and allows the engine to deliver its maximum torque at all times, delivering better performance and improved fuel efficiency. The LX and EX models have a greater level of standard equipment, reflected in their higher prices. The top-of-the-line EX gets the most powerful of the Civic's 1.7-liter engines, rated at 127 horsepower. All Civics offer the option of side-impact airbags.

There is more to the Civic's success than just its flawless fit and finish. Take, for example, the way it is packaged. The rear suspension and exhaust are designed to fit around the passenger compartment, not intrude into it. This configuration creates a perfectly flat floor, a feature anyone who has ever had to straddle the center driveshaft tunnel will understandably appreciate. The double-wishbone suspension—which made the old Civic so much fun to drive—has been replaced by a less sophisticated McPherson strut setup. By changing the suspension, Honda engineers were able to move the front cabin forward, thus providing the driver and passenger more legroom. And though Civic purists may mourn the loss of the old suspension, the Civic's handling characteristics are not noticeably diminished.

The engine is neatly laid out, with all the vital maintenance points (oil, battery, wiper fluid) clearly marked and easily accessible. The same simple logic applies to the trunk, which has a large flat floor, glow-in-the-dark emergency latch release and extended stowage via the 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

For all the wonderful accolades one can list on paper, the Civic makes its best impression when sitting behind the wheel. The ride is so smooth and controlled it can almost be described as luxurious. By contrast, the steering, throttle and manual gearshift response feels more sport-car-like than economy cruiser. The Civic's seats and control panels are ergonomically matched to the needs of the driver first, which is not to say the passengers in any way are treated as second class. Everything inside the car flows together with a calming simplicity that has become the automaker's trademark.

With all this going for it, it's no wonder there are so many Civic owner's who swear by their cars; which when you think of it, certainly is preferable to swearing at them.

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