The ugly duck, aka the ep3
Recently I have been looking into a new car, well not new new, but newer then what I have been bombing around in. I’ve been trying to find some thing reliable, comfortable, compact, and somewhat sporty for around the $10k mark. The mazda3’s came to mind since they are all these things plus have 4 doors and a hatch but they are averaging around $15k, a bit too steep for me right now. The gti’s I like, but the older ones have reliability issues and the mk4’s aren’t cosmetically appealing to me.
So what I end up coming across is the 2002-2005 civic sir, si in the U.S., it’s all these things I want. This is a ‘Honda of Europe’ civic, and was developed to compete with the hot Euro hatches, which are much more solid and stable, and it did very well. The crew at Top Gear loved it (if you know the crew at top gear this is a mighty feat, BBC car TV show) and they even preferred it more then the newer civic hatch when it came out. The funny thing about this car is that most the Honda fan boys didn’t like it, it wasn’t raw enough for them or quick enough either and it always looked a little off at the time. They were use to noisy, bouncy, very high revving cars. but these things are what made the general automotive world appreciate them as compact cheap track stars and hate them as daily drivers, they can be a real chore to drive. But this was to be the civic that changed that by keeping the sporty handling and compact size but bringing a higher quality and quieter interior, a motor with more torque (especially down low, which was a real problem with most other hondas), and a much more ridged chassis. But they didn’t sell a lot of them so good ones are hard to find.
So I am now on the hunt for a nice clean low mileage unit, which I can take on my trip to California down the coast highway. Here are some pics I have gathered over the years, many from the Honda-Tech forum, for some inspiration.