A Civic Affair: Part I (A Honda-tech Writer’s Story of Automotive Wants vs. Needs)

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Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

Do I stay or do I leave? Somewhere in between…

For the past 5 and a half years, I’ve been daily driving a 2012 Civic Coupe LX (FG3) with a 5-speed manual gearbox in Polished Metal Metallic. Having just crossed the 120,000 mile mark on the odometer, Lana (yes I named my Civic) has been my workhorse day in and day out without any major issues besides the usual wear and tear items like replacing the original battery, and a few tire punctures. Mechanically, the single cam i-VTEC R18Z1 has been pretty much bulletproof despite all the weekend canyon runs and long road trips we’ve shared together.

However, sometimes wants and needs aren’t necessarily aligned. Should I move on, into something newer, or keep going with what I’ve got? First, here’s a little history on Lana.

“I’m going to keep my car stock.” – Said no one ever

Like my old GE8 Fit Sport before, I couldn’t help but keep Lana bone stock for long. I began with Eibach Sportline lowering springs and a set of Work Emotion 11R wheels (17×8 +35 all around wrapped in 225/45/17 rubber). Two of them were Matte Black and the other pair were Matte Bronze – don’t ask why. Nobody ever really noticed, but I thought it was pretty cool. The wheel gap bugged me, so I eventually ended up picking up coil-overs courtesy of Buddy Club. A DC Sports cat-delete pipe and an OEM FG2 Si muffler were added to improve the exhaust note.

Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

The feeling of wanting a new driving experience lingered.

I kept it nice and simple, just as intended, from the very beginning. However after a few years, the longing to get into something different, something new, loomed over me. For one, I knew that I wanted either a hatchback or sedan for practically. It’ll make the bi-weekly trips to Costco and road trips less of a pain figuring out how to fit stuff inside. Playing automotive Tetris gets old, quickly. The next box that I wanted to be ticked off was power. And when I say power, I’m not asking for a lot. Just something with more kick than the 140 ponies the R18Z1 puts down.

Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

The feeling of parting from Lana began when I had the 2017 Civic Sport Hatch for a week to review a few months ago. It’s a 5-door hatch, has 180 horsepower, comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox, and only costs $22K. To me, it was the perfect candidate for my next daily driver. So what was I waiting for? I didn’t make a move because there was another car that I wanted to test for myself: The Civic Si.

Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

A couple of months after reviewing the Sport Hatch, I had the privilege of having the 2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan for a week. What impressed me with the Sport, the Si just blew it out of the water. The fact that the Si comes with adaptive dampers for a car that only costs a couple of thousand bucks more than the Sport makes it a no-brainer. I honestly wish the Si came in hatch form though. Okay, so why I don’t already own an Si, right? Well, there’s one more iteration of the 10th gen Civic that I have yet to test.

Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

Type R Daily?

Yes, it’s the Civic Type R. Some will say that the R is overkill for a daily and I would agree to a certain extent. But, would it be so wrong to own a CTR as a daily? A couple of people do and don’t you see people with the Ford Focus RS or Subaru WRX STi driving around? I know I wouldn’t want to pay the insane markups that some dealers are charging, but for the $34K MSRP, it’s quite the performance bargain.

So until I drive the Type R, I won’t have a clear decision as to which Civic will be the replacement for my FG3. There’s also another problem…the 2018 Accord Sport with the 2.0L engine and 6-speed manual exists. For now, I’ve begun to slowly put Lana back to stock. You know, just in case…

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Leave your comments below!

Honda-tech.com Honda Civic Buying a New Car

Photos by: Matt Eugenio | Danny Nguyen | Tom Chin

Longtime auto journalist, editor and photographer Matt Eugenio has contributed news stories, features, reviews, photography and more for over five years to the popular automotive websites Both Hand Drive, Drive Tribe, Motor1, and other popular media.

Matt is currently a featured writer for Internet Brands Auto Group's Corvette Forum, Honda-Tech, 6SpeedOnline, and Rennlist, among other auto sites.

Eugenio can be reached at [email protected].

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