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New Car/Review


Honda Civic HX (2001)

SEE ALSO: Honda Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 14,560
     Price As Tested                                    $ 15,000
     Engine Type              SOHV 16-valve 1.7 Liter I4 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 105 cid/1668 cc
     Horsepower                                   117 @ 6100 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               111 @ 4500 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.1"/66.7"/174.7"
     Transmission                    Continuously variable (CVT)
     Curb Weight                                     2679 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  13.2 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                           185/70R14 all-season         

     Brakes (F/R)                                      Disc/drum
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                 75 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            35/40/37
     0-60 MPH                                       10.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                                  17.0 @ 95.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           110 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - As a Civic owner of the last three years, I can attest to a few things that have made the the car one of the most reliable and popular compact vehicles on the market today. Now with an all-new design and a bigger engine, the 2001 Honda Civic HX is bound to sell well to owners of older models and make new converts as well. At around $15,000, it is affordable, and buyers know they're getting a car with a trusted name and sporty accents. Powered by a sixteen-valve, 1.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 117 horses, the HX still gets an incredible 35 city/40 highway miles per gallon, and is now a tad larger to boot.

MIKELE - I love my old HX, but this new model shows how much improvement Honda has made in just three years. The automatic transmission is the same one as our old version. It's a continuously variable design that runs off a belt-driven pulley. Instead of using sets of gears or a torque converter, the engine's power is transferred to the wheels via a system that includes a large V-belt. The space between the two halves of the pulley is adjustable, which makes the effective width of the belt variable and thereby alters the gear ratio. Broadly speaking, the space in the pulley is determined by engine load, so the engine gets to choose the ideal ratio for the job in hand, as dictated by the amount of throttle the driver uses. Although the optional five-speed manual gearbox is quicker, I like the response and smoothness of the variable. Front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbone suspension make the HX handle great, and a big front stabilizer bar makes for less body lean in the corners. Power rack-and-pinion steering is standard, as are all-new 14-inch lightweight alloy wheels mounted on 185/70R14 all-season tires. Our old HX has a lot of the same features, but the new version is a cut above.

BRENDAN - Mikele, you're really sounding like an expert on automotive systems. It's obvious that you're studying up those press kits that come with our loan cars. I've been doing some hands-on research myself and checked out the four-speaker AM/FM stereo-cassette system. It was OK, but a six-disc CD in-dash changer would have been lots better. Luckily Honda offers an upscale system as an accessory. Its 60/40 split fold down rear seat with a locking mechanism is great for loads that won't fit in the 13-cubic-foot trunk, and an inside emergency trunk opener is also standard - just in case. Another good feature is a headlights-on reminder. It's a plus because it's very easy to leave your lights on and come back to a dead battery. An adjustable steering column, coin box, and dual front cupholders are a few other things that Honda has provided to buyers of the 2001 Civic. It has power windows with an auto-down feature on the driver's window, along with power door locks and cruise control. The HX does not have air-conditioning standard, so I would suggest adding it.

MIKELE - We added AC on our '99 HX, and I think it should be standard on all cars. In the heat, it makes traffic almost bearable. It runs about a thousand dollars, but it's money well spent. Outside, the new HX is a beauty, with body-colored bumpers and a front air spoiler. Tinted glass kept it cooler inside, and the dual power mirrors were easy to use. An integrated rear window antenna is one item that is new to the Civic. Air bags for the driver and front passenger are standard, and dual side airbags are available as well, although our tester did not have them. Front and rear three-point seat belts are standard so it is a safe car all the way around.

BRENDAN - Mikele, this new entry-level Honda HX has a lot of improvements over our old version. Maybe it's trade-in time.

MIKELE - The next new vehicle of any kind is going to be big enough for a family.