What is it?
Honda Civic. Built from 2000 to 2004. Both JDM and export models available. Export models were sold brand new by DHS Motors, had beige interiors, sunroof, and VTEC. Full front facelift came late 2003, much better looking option than the dull and bland initial release.
Who is it for?
Serves very well as a second car that is reliable, comfortable, handles well and looks sleek. Want to reward your kid for making it to university despite all odds? This will be great for commuting to and from uni, or doing the school run in style.
Does it have potential?
It’s a Civic, so that’s a no-brainer. It’ll give mostly good mileage and small upgrades can make it stand out from a dull crowd of Toyotas no one wants to look at twice. Get the JDM model for a more appropriate interior, unless you want a beige interior for your project.
Better than buying...
A used Toyota Corolla. Or even a recon Toyota Axio. The Civic is more engaging to drive. Looks better, too. You’ll stand out.
What can go wrong?
The front suspension setup and steering box - Civics from the EG, EK and ES generations are notorious for having the weakest ball joints ever fitted to a car, or so it seems. Expect to hear plenty of noises from the front of the car at regular intervals - replaced parts will last you about 6 months or so if you have a habit of not giving a damn about potholes or speed bumps. To make them last longer, get the genuine Japanese ball joints/steering and treat the car like a child’s dolly when going over bumps. The power window motors might give occasional problems as well. Some users of the automatic gearbox equipped Civics (in Bangladesh, most if not all of them are auto) have complained that the gearbox is slightly weak and tends to give out if not taken care of, so pay close attention to whether the automatic is shifting properly and do a thorough check of the gearbox after purchase.
What performance upgrades can be done?
D15B VTEC will serve all purposes well and has decent power on tap. Honda B-series motors are very easy fits, with instant VTEC power and rev-happiness. K20A would the mental (and hugely expensive) swap. To make it a potent machine, brake (rear discs) and suspension/handling upgrades are a must - coilovers and a big brake kit if you go for the mental K20A option, chassis stiffening bars and rear disc brakes with lowering springs for B-series VTEC motors. The D15B VTEC comes standard on the car depending on the region, so no extra upgrades necessary (but still recommended for upping the driving experience).
What exterior upgrades make it stand out?
Give it a nice set of wheels, get LED taillights and smoke headlights, lower the car. All you’d need, really. The stock Ferio bodykit on JDM models serves well. Subtle roof spoiler and rubber lips will make it more squat.
How much will it cost?
Don’t pay more than 7,50,000 Taka for one in absolutely mint condition. The JDM models have less equipment on offer, but might be in better shape generally, so get that if a sunroof isn’t a vital part of your plans.
Prices of typical parts (prices are for brand new parts and may vary):
Front shocks: 18,000 TK.
Rear shocks: 12,000 TK.
Ball joints: 3,500 TK.
Engine mounts (set of four): 19,000 TK.
Parts like the steering box, AC condenser, AC compressor and window power motors are not available brand new and has to be sourced reconditioned/used from Dholaikhal. As a result, prices may vary depending on how well you bargain. Parts are usually available and generally not very expensive when compared to the cost of replacement parts of Toyota Corollas and Axios from 2004/05/06.
Cover Illustration: E.R. Ronny