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ebonyandivory PowerDork
11/2/18 6:29 p.m.

They went to Mac strut, earlier gen engine parts won’t bolt on, the ECU’s don’t take well to tuning etc. Are these just appliances now or are they still an enthusiast vehicle?  

Sonic UltraDork
11/2/18 7:06 p.m.

They are pretty unloved.  6th gens are so good for suspension and now can take any engine, and 8th gen Sis are cheap enough now that there is no point in getting any other 7th or 8th gen. 

irish44j UltimaDork
11/2/18 7:07 p.m.

I'm guessing the problem is that unlike earlier civics, by the 2000-2005 time frame there were a lot of other cars that were better/faster for similar money (especially now on the used market). Bugeye WRX for one....

Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/2/18 7:23 p.m.

Where’s that guy who stole that silver one from the dude in Nashville that was just advertised here?  $2,000?

I’m an idiot.


Vigo UltimaDork
11/2/18 9:45 p.m.

Yeah, they are pretty unloved. They're good cars, just not particularly good at any enthusiast-y things. A 6th gen is a lot more swappable with double wishbone suspension and is generally easier to work on (and better looking in my opinion) and an 8th gen SI feels like it's approximately twice the car the 7th gen is. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/3/18 8:31 a.m.

For the benefit of those like myself who do not know the Civic Generations up to the number 7 and beyond...


The answer is Gen 7 = 2001-2005


Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
11/3/18 9:00 a.m.

I'd say they are great commuters. The later civic si's with factory lsd can be had for 5-6k now if you look hard. 

CrashBox72 New Reader
11/3/18 11:56 a.m.

They were reviled by the enthusiast community when they came out in '01. It sounds like that is still the prevailing attitude.

sleepyhead GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/3/18 12:31 p.m.

I think one of the problems was that that implementation of the MacStrut design had some bad issues, especially when lowered... although I think some RSX autoX drivers figured out what needed to be done to fix it

there's a zeitgeist that the D17 is bad because it's over-square (or under-square?), so it's weak... on top of the "no way to tune it, and the stock ECM kills all powers"

nowadays, there's the two better gens to choose from (as already mentioned)... and the whole "has the airbag that will send deadly shrapnel into my face" been changed, thing.  I mean NHTSA had a standing notice on their frontpage to stop driving '03's (?) unless the takata had been changed because there had been double digit fatalities due to it?

BoostedBrandon SuperDork
11/3/18 12:47 p.m.

I stumbled upon one of these on CL the other day, got me to thinking about a new cheap DD. But, given my wife and I have four kids between us, the sedan variant of the eighth gen may suit my needs better.

That said, I like the EP3 cars. I've always had a fondness for the unloved and orphan cars, and the complaints that people have offered have been things that wouldn't be an issue for me.

lnlds Reader
11/3/18 1:23 p.m.

Definitely unloved as an enthusiast car. You can choose from the TSX (Doublewishbone front, DOHC VTEC), 8th gen SI, or celica GT-S as "better" options depending on what you like in the high revving import category.

That being said I considered one and would recommend it as an alternative for someone shopping for a  1st gen mazda3. 

logdog GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/3/18 9:05 p.m.

They are unloved by most people...BUT.... I love mine.

We have a 2003 LX coupe 5 speed we bought new.  We now have 200k on it and if I had a time machine I would buy it again (assuming I was still shopping in the same budget and couldn't get the Si I really wanted.  This was 13,500 new and the Si was around 20k)

I was working as a Honda tech when these were new.  Sure it has Mac struts but I cant say it ever stopped us from enjoying it.

We have used it for rallyX





Track days at Waterford Hills


And we have used it for track days at Pocono to train a new driver for our Champcar team


The car is bone stock.  We will swap on used tires from the racecar for track days but that is the extent of changes.  It has something like 117 non-vtec horsepower.  Its been reliable, cheap to maintain, and gets great gas mileage.

Our Chumpcar is a 93 Civic with B20 swap and its definitely faster and better handling on the track.  But if I had to drive one to California I would take the 2003 :)

My only real regret is getting the coupe instead of the sedan, which would have been more practical over the last 15+ years.  But 2003 Logdog wanted the coupe to be "sporty" laugh

If something happened to this, I would seriously consider buying another.  Their unloved status makes them a great value.

And yes, we had the Takata airbag replaced.  If my memory is correct this only had a couple recalls, the airbag and a headlight switch.  

DirtyBird222 UberDork
11/3/18 11:35 p.m.

They are still unloved by most but I'm fairly sure the aftermarket world is starting to come around to it since they are getting cheaper and cheaper to purchase. I love the look of the EP3 and the rally style shifter but the lack of a high revving K series that only made 160whp made it less than exciting to most. Especially when the WRX and RSX of the same era were making 200hp+. Honestly though if I had to chose between a 2001-2005 Si and a 2009+ Fit Sport, I'd take the Fit Sport

Tk8398 Reader
11/4/18 1:09 a.m.

There used to be someone who ran a a stock SI hatch in the autocrosses here and was running the same times as national level prepped STS Civic Sis of the earlier generation.  May have been more the driver than the car though.

chandler PowerDork
11/4/18 3:02 p.m.

Bought a leftover 2002 in August 2002, cheap and dependable. Did 145,000 miles with nothing but a door where a deer ran into me while driving. It averaged 38 mpg also which was my favorite part.

DeadSkunk PowerDork
11/4/18 3:08 p.m.

I see them regularly in Youtube videos of Scandinavian rallies. Folks over there seem to like them for some reason.

sleepyhead GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/4/18 3:15 p.m.

In reply to DeadSkunk :

this requires links

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo GRM+ Memberand Mod Squad
11/4/18 3:27 p.m.

I found this "one take" again:

I should note... I looked through building one of these for OneLap (as a "budget Econo" entry) for a couple of years... before I bought the TL or the Sonata.  I reckon an EX coupe could probably make an interesting $2000 Challenge Gastropod Entry

DeadSkunk PowerDork
11/4/18 3:38 p.m.

In reply to sleepyhead :


penultimeta HalfDork
11/4/18 5:28 p.m.

They're not terrible. I DD an '04 EX (the vtec one). I bought it at 90k have put almost 80,000 trouble free miles on it. I think that the biggest issue is that you can buy an older DWB or a newer '06 at up and have a better platform. At the time of my purchase, I was cross shopping with the 1st gen Mazda 3 and now I wish I went with the 3. The '04 could probably be improved with sticky tires, struts, and sways, but that seems like too much work and expense to still have a car that would underperform in just about every category. 

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/18 10:28 p.m.

whenever somebody complains about new hondas all i hear is "blablablabla no double wishbone suspension blablablabla" It's like all anybody can focus on is the fact that they had to change the suspension.

aw614 Reader
11/5/18 8:16 a.m.

The RSX and Ep3 at least have a decent community around them because of the K series, but I hate the D17 cars, its not even b/c they lost double wishbones either. But everything on it annoys me when I try working on one. I rather pay someone else to work on it than work on the two my family have. I'll change the oil and other routine maintenance items, but everything else, no thanks. 

Had no problem with the great fuel economy, but they also suffered from overheating issues and the automatic transmissions are crap. Though mine was a manual the thing is still driving 210k miles later and somehow the headgasket didnt go out, but bleeding the coolant out on that generation was a pain to do. It did overheat once with all the coolant suddenly missing, but unlike others the headgasket didn't go out. 

I am still annoyed I didn't try to look for a discounted EP3 Si back when my parents bought a 2002 LX brand new. Another thing that bothered me about this generation, I've driven two of them both since new, and for some reason they've always felt dangerous and sucked to drive in the rain, I am not sure if it was the tires, but I've driven my older double wishbone hondas in the same conditions and on crappy tires and never had the same issues those 01-05 civics had, specifically, they were hard to launch smoothly in the rain. 

penultimeta HalfDork
11/5/18 10:26 a.m.

In response to mad_machine: it's not that they just changed the suspension. There's plenty of world-class cars that use Macstruts. It's that they went from a good design to a bad design. This would probably be forgiven if they excelled elsewhere, but they don't. 

I agree with aw614. They definitely feel dangerous at highway speed or in questionable weather. It's like it looses all feedback.  


aw614 Reader
11/5/18 10:52 a.m.

I did find the later 04-05 cars to be much better in regards to the highway speed and poor weather handling over the 01-03 cars. I attributed it to the 15s vs the 14s that were available on the LX. Still wasn't confidence inspiring to me, but it was an improvement. But my sister and brother have noted the wet performance issues when they drove a 7th gen. My 2002 was downright sketchy over the howard franklin bridge in Tampa anytime there were 30mph+ winds. 

FuzzWuzzy Reader
11/5/18 10:57 a.m.

I believe Civics up until '09 were unloved as from what I remember, the '08 had engine issues.

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