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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Honda Civic Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Honda Civic Overview

Blue Chip Coupe

The Honda Civic Coupe has been a friend to generations of hard-working Americans who value its style, its practicality and its bulletproof reliability record. Very few things in the world are as sure of themselves as the Civic, a fact you can verify by looking at the car's impressive resale value. It seems implausible, but if there were a way to fill your 401K with Civics instead of stocks, you might find yourself sleeping a little easier at night.

So what is it that makes this particular coupe such a hot commodity? We think the answer is simple: the Civic Coupe is a comfortable, fuel-efficient car with handsome styling, terrific road manners and a low cost of ownership. Its appeal reaches across a wide range of buyers, covering everyone from first-year residents to those folks old enough to remember the first gas crisis—the same one that helped establish the Civic's presence in the this country. The Civic goes beyond basic transportation by providing a level of craftsmanship and content that far exceeds the expectations set by its very reasonable starting price of just $13,900.

The Civic Coupe is offered in four trims: Base, HX, LX and EX. Though all four share the same engine displacement (1.7-liters), each car's engine has been engineered to serve a specific function. For example, the Civic HX is designated the high-mileage champ, with an EPA fuel rating of 36-mpg city and 44-mpg highway. The HX's VTEC variable-valve timing has been configured to minimize fuel consumption while still providing enough power to allow for safe passing or merging. Adding to the HX's thrifty nature is the option of a CVT automatic transmission. The CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is more efficient at managing the engine's torque than a conventional automatic, thus providing more power without the need for more fuel.

The base Civic and Civic LX share the same 115-horsepower engine while the top-of-the-line Civic EX gets a more powerful 127-horsepower motor. Despite its extra power, the zippy EX model does not pay a penalty at the pump, returning an EPA highway rating of 37-mpg. All Civic Coupes come standard with one of the best five-speed manual transmissions produced; it's a masterpiece of synchronization that knows no rival.

Once you see the Civic in person, you'll have a better understanding of why the car basically sells itself. For 2004, Honda has given the Civic coupe a major front and rear end freshening that sharpens the car's sporty image. Every body panel lines up perfectly with the next, with no visible gaps between glass and metal. Take a good hard look at the Civic's taillights, and you'll discover that the tolerance between parts is so minute it is almost impossible to discern where steel ends and plastic begins.

Inside, the Civic's quality story is repeated with soft-touch plastics on the dash and door panels, precisely actuated switchgear and supportive bucket seats. You'll find that the Civic's interior provides ample hip and legroom, though taller driver's may find head room to be at a premium, especially in the EX model with its standard power moonroof. Rear passengers will have a bit of a squeeze to access their seats but so long as you don't have your seat fully extended, they should find their accommodations rather comfortable once in place. When not occupied, you can greatly increase the Civic's cargo carrying ability by folding down one or both of the 60/40 split-rear seatbacks.

On the road, you'll marvel at the Civic's sedan-like ride. The coupe feels as responsive and connected as any sports car, with a marvelously rigid chassis and that sweet five-speed manual that just loves to be played with. Thanks to strategically placed insulation, wind, road and engine noise are kept to a hush. This deletion of tactile indicators does have its downside. With no rushing wind noise or jittery suspension to tip you off, you can easily find yourself zipping past the posted speed limit, oblivious to how fast you and your Civic are actually moving.

Honda packages each Civic model as a complete unit. Options are limited to an automatic transmission, side-impact airbags and a few dealer-installed accessories. This one-size-fits-all approach helps Honda keep assembly costs low and simplifies the buying process for consumers.

The base Civic comes standard with the minimum necessary requirements of air conditioning, rear defrost, dual side mirrors, tilt wheel, split-folding rear seat, AM/FM stereo with CD and four speakers, power steering, intermittent wipers and full 14-inch wheel covers. The HX and LX add power locks, power windows, power mirrors, a tachometer, cruise control, and a height-adjustable driver's seat (LX only). The racy EX comes fully loaded with a power glass moonroof, six-speaker stereo, variable wipers, rear-seat cup holder and 15-inch alloy wheels.

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