Honda Civics: Why?

Mrs. RickJay and i watched “The Fast and the Furious” last week. In the film, street racing types race around in Honda Civics. This is a reflection, of course, of the fact that many young people these days seem to prefer the Honda Civic as the car of choice.

But… why? Honda Civics AREN’T FAST. They’re decent value, safe cars, good for a young family, but they’re slow. Now, historically, kids who liked cars have gone in for fast cars; your average kids isn’t going to be able to afford a Lambourghini, but usually they go for something quick. Honda Civics are economy cars, and not even fast as those go. You could soup up a Civic, but you could soup up any car. Why did a very square (in the taste sense, not its literal shape) family economy car become the Gino car of choice?

How did the Civic become the big thing?

I would need to revisit the movie for reference but most of what I see around here are Honda Accords, and Acura Integras (Acura=fancy Honda).

Light, cheap, and easy to find. Lots of them buy them wrecked and or non running for $300-$500 maybe even a second one for parts. Spend a few months of weekends working on your car and its not too hard to make a blown engine dust collector into a pretty quick little street machine. The cars are very light so if you’re not worried about things like fuel economy or noise level they can be tuned and adjusted totally differently, and those little high revving engines can develop a pretty good power to weight ratio.

The Civic has come in many, many shapes and sizes over the years. The Civic CRX, for instance, was much beloved in several racing series. The most recent Si models are, IIRC, 160 HP. Not bad for a lightweight roller-skate.

The Integras (badged as Acuras in North America) are similar. The GS-R generated 108 HP per litre displacement, putting it ahead of the Ferrarri F355 (at 105 HP per litre) as the top production [normally aspirated] car. That number has since been eclipsed by the Honda S2000 at 120 HP per litre.

In other words, this ain’t necessarily your mother’s Civic.

Once in a parking lot I saw a customized civic with oversized gold hubcapped tires on hydraulics with neon underneath it. If I had a plaque, I would have presented the owner with the official lamer of the year award. :smiley:

Got rice?

May I add that the short wheel base, low center of gravity and the front-wheel drive make this quick little machine a very effective street rod. Also, it is usually light enough to get up and going quickly. I have not seen the movie to which you refer but would say that if it takes place in urban or suburban situations the car is quite good.

On the open highway, I would say your points are somewhat valid. But even on the open highway it can push three figures.

I’m not sure how it got started, but my understanding is that there is a wealth of high-performance parts available for Hondas. It’s reminiscent of the 60’s when such parts were everywhere for small-block Chevy engines. It’s probably easier and cheaper to soup up a Honda than nearly any other commonly available car.

But all these reasons why the Civic was “picked” by the ricer crowd are true of ALL small cars. Lightweight, FWD, low center of gravity, short wheel base, cheap, easy to find,etc. The pedigree of the civic may come into play. The original CRX Si was one of the first pocket rockets. I dont know about the original reason it became more popular, but I’m sure the reason it is so today is because of a snowball effect. Have you ever looked in a ricer catalog? There are 20 civic “ricer” parts for every 323/protege, corolla or sentra part. More "ricer"s own civics so more ricer mags sell more civic parts. New ricer look’s at magazine to see whats going to be the easiest to put clear tailights on so he looks for a civic. My question is: Do these guys know that the rest of the world laughs at them?

Honda’s are cheap.
Honda’s are everywhere.
Honda’s can be made very fast – cheaply. (i. e. the fastest reached 187 mph)
Honda’s are good for a teenager’s insurance.

Need I say more?

This doesn’t necessarily apply in Japan as much. From what I can tell, the competition among aftermarket parts makers and the automakers themselves is much higher there. While the majority of rice rockets in the States will be Honda or Acura, you will find much more variety overseas.

Not to mention the fact that Hondas are very reliable.

Does anyone waste their time modifying the trash that comes out of Detroit?

I have a stock Civic myself. I think some of the mods people do look dumb , like the big wings on the back. I think the fact that Civics are fairly cheap is a big reason why people soup them up.

One of the big reasons is that insurance rates on a Honda Civic are pretty good. (When the ins company doen’t know you plan on putting a v24 in it :slight_smile: )

(no, I dont have a cite, or comparison but thats what I’ve heard)


I think in many cases they were just hand me downs from the parents. Since the kids couldn’t afford a faster car they tried to make the one they had faster and the aftermarket responded to the demand by making more parts.

The Civic Si is really pretty quick, all you have to do is put Si emblems on your economy Civic and BAM instant race car :rolleyes:

Don’t forget quality. For a cheap car, there’s nothing better. And I work for one of the big 2-1/2! (now if you want to talk luxury quality, you can dismiss Honda right away).

Honda does make high quality luxury cars, they just call them Acuras. In Japan there is no separate Acura name, the cars are all Hondas.

Some people take the bigger Acura engines and put them into Civics. If you do that and add a turbo or supercharger you can get nearly 300 HP in a small car which really makes it fly.

It seems like Honda could make a lot of money on pickups but they have not entered that market yet.

No, lamer of the year goes to the Civic owner who put the three-foot high spoiler on the back (saw it yesterday). Dude, you don’t need that much downforce…

I second all the reasons above–they’re cheap, light, and parts are plentiful.

Except that front-wheel drive has some inherent problems that make it a very poor choice for performance cars (docile passenger car yes, but not race car). It’s nothing wrong with any specific car, it’s just simple physics having to do with weight transfer under power, and there’s nothing you can do to get around it. All other things being equal, a rear-wheel drive car will beat it every time.

But to reiterate what everyone else is saying, it’s because they’re cheap and light (lighter cars don’t need so much hp to accomplish the same thing). But keep in mind that 95% of the custom Civics on the road are really no faster than stock. A handful of stickers and a chrome exhaust tip won’t make you a Ferrari killer, and you’re not going fast enough on public streets to get any useful downforce from those wings.

No, no, you have it all wrong. It’s the “Type R” stickers that make it a race car. :slight_smile:

Almost as bad as the wishful thinker I saw who put the BMW logo on his Neon.

You ought to look at the world’s demographics sometime, and then think about whether it is you or Asians who is in the minority.

Princhester: :confused: I thought he was making fun of people who pimped out civics, not asians in general.