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Civic receives makeover for 2004. Image by Honda.

Civic receives makeover for 2004
Honda have announced a mild facelift for the 2004 model year Civic, including a faster Type R.
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2004-08-14: 2004 Honda Civic 3-door review

Right now the Honda Civic is easily the most successful British-built Japanese-branded car in the UK. Two years since it was launched, the current model still leads the pack for interior space, fuel efficiency and its combination of occupant and pedestrian safety. And then there's the Type-R version...

Yes it would be wrong for Honda to change the fundamentals of such an innovative design. But with the imminent arrival of the next generation Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, there's a challenge to be met.

Honda has responded with a raft of revisions that take the 2004 Civic up to a higher plane. The net result is a Civic that looks much fresher and more distinctive, is more responsive and more fun to drive, and which is significantly more refined.

More sporty appearance
All models gain sharper frontal styling for a more distinctive, sporty look. The 3 door now features a mesh grille, while the 5 door has a new three bar grille in place of the single slat grille; both gain a more prominent 'H' mark. The front bumper now has a wider intake with lines that sweep up into the wheel arch.

All Civics get new projector style headlamps of either two-light or three-light design, depending on model. As well as enriching the car's appearance, the new units achieve both higher intensity and wider beam width on main beam as well as dip, than the units fitted to the current Civic.

Capturing some of the visual excitement of the Type-R, the Sport grade uses the new front spoiler design from its more powerful sibling together with a unique colour front grille, 3-light projector headlamps, side sill garnish, 205/55 R16 tyres and newly designed 5-stud 16 inch alloy wheels.

Top grade models also get door mirror-mounted side indicators first introduced in the new Accord range. Both stylish and practical, they consist of a strip of LEDs for added visibility when turning. Body colour side sills add further definition to the flanks.

At the rear, 5 door models get a new tailgate pressing and rear bumper with a styling motif mirroring that at the front, and a tailgate spoiler is added. Taillight clusters on both 3 and 5 door models have been restyled.

A more sporty drive
Within their size classes, the Civic's petrol and diesel engines were already at the top of the class for performance, so the line up remains unchanged.

Extensive fine-tuning of the toe control link MacPherson strut / reactive link double wishbone suspension and EPS power steering system for both 3 and 5 door models endow the 2004 Civic with much crisper handling.

All models gain stiffer steering and suspension mounting points, a new variable ratio steering rack, increased steering caster angle - and recalibrated spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings. Values are specific for 3 and 5 door models, as they are for the Sport, Type S and Type-R variants.

The aim of these changes is principally to improve on-centre steering feel at high speed, steering response and linearity, while simultaneously also improving ride comfort and smoothness.

As before 15 inch wheels are fitted to the majority of the range, however both the Sport and the Type S VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), have 16 inch rims.

And a more comfortable one
Improving ride quality and reducing noise levels has been a top priority for Honda engineers working on the 04 year Civic. Upgraded and more extensive noise insulation materials, as well as a front sub frame dynamic damper have been employed to quell noise and vibration from all sources. Particular attention has been paid to reducing wind and road noise, engine noise at full throttle - and even the stone chipping sound experienced when driving over loose surfaces.

The net result is a Civic which exhibits "class above" refinement, being superior to direct competitors and as smooth and quiet as many vehicles from the D sector.

The inside story:
Changes to the spacious cabins have been aimed at delivering a lighter and more elegant ambience with careful co-ordination of colours and textures. Seats are finished in a new fabric and their shape has been improved for greater comfort. There is now more chrome-finished detailing, matched to a new centre console colour of Magnum Silver (applied to specific grades).

On Executive grades a new titanium leather interior with dark titanium centre console is also available. Other upgrades include a rear seat centre cup holder incorporated in the back of the armrest and a larger sized seat back pocket. Civic 3-door models are equipped with a sports steering wheel while 5 door models feature a new 4-spoke steering wheel with built in audio controls.

The Sport grade is distinguished with red seat inserts and red door panels (matched with black) and a steering wheel similar to that of the Type-R.

All Civic 5 door models now have self-illuminated meters similar to those of the Honda Accord and Civic IMA, while all 3-door models now feature white dials. Most Civics now feature a combined trip / fuel consumption mpg display with an outdoor temperature readout.

All UK Civics now feature a larger boot volume thanks to the provision of a space saver spare wheel throughout the range. Actual volume goes up by 55 litres for 3 door models and 45 litres for the 5 door, or 21% and 14% respectively.

Revised Type-R
The exciting and iconic Civic Type-R doesn't go unchanged and new for 2004 are a lighter flywheel and clutch assembly. Reducing inertia makes the engine more responsive and coincidentally shaves 0.2 seconds off the 0-62 mph time (now 6.6 sec). There are also new brake callipers that incorporate the Type-R logo for added exclusivity.

Door mirror-mounted indicators, a front spoiler similar to that on Sport models, a front grille unique to Type-R, and three light blue projector style headlamps complete the picture. Inside, there are now red seat inserts and door panels, as well as red headrest aperture, to further emphasise the car's out and out sporty nature.

The Type R benefits considerably from the NVH (noise vibration and harshness) tuning applied to the whole range.

Sales of the 2004 Civic Type-R begin in February 2004.

New Type S with VSA
A new top-of-the-range Civic 5 door model will be available from April 2004. As the name suggests, this 2.0 litre i-VTEC engined sports model incorporates Vehicle Stability Assist, and is designed to counteract understeer and oversteer tendencies through a combination of individual wheel braking and engine torque reduction. The Teves supplied system also incorporates a Drive By Wire (DBW) throttle and Traction Control.

The VSA model has several other dynamic attributes. These include a close ratio gearbox with 6% "shorter" fourth and fifth ratios to benefit acceleration, bigger (16 in) alloy wheels shod with 205/55-Series tyres and correspondingly bigger ventilated front brake discs.

Safety and Environment
When the current Civic range was first launched, it set new standards with its ability to combine excellent occupant protection with an unprecedented level of pedestrian safety. Specifically it combined a 4 star Euro NCAP occupant safety rating with a 3 star pedestrian result - a feat that even now, only one other manufacturer has been able to emulate.

Whether petrol or diesel-powered, the Civic continues to set the standard for low fuel consumption (= low CO2 emissions) by which other compact hatchbacks are judged.

Prices will be announced nearer to the November 2003 launch date.

Honda news release - 1 Sep 2003


2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.

2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2004 Honda Civic. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.









www.honda.co.uk    - Honda road tests
- Honda news
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