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I recall a couple of years ago when I managed to try a FD Honda Civic equipped with an automatic gearbox, and came away thoroughly impressed by how relevant this engine/gearbox partnership was for local tarmac. Now, we sample the same engine version, but with a 5-speed stick shift – did we like it?

Given that the car is 9.5 years of age, this FD Civic feels extremely fresh, with interior trimmings and leather all well in tact, apart from understandable wear and tear from the gear knob and handbrake lever. It has clocked 162,000km – a fair figure taking into account its age. But to be honest, we weren’t expecting the motor to be as creamy as newer units. But we were wrong! Just like any other Honda engines, this R18 unit feels very eager to rev. It might be torque-lite, but its flexibility spurs you on to push the needle clockwise, and you’ll be rewarded with a purposeful, linear surge from 3000rpm.

It might be lacking in tech gizmos, but it makes up for these with an honest driving experience, which is key (for us at least!) to put a wide smile on our face. With a character so undiluted, it endorses our stand that tech-laden cars are losing its focus on the driver, and concentrating on other aspects that target the tech-savvy public. But at Lenspeed, we prefer to turn back time to be involved with less complicated, more engaging cars just like this FD Civic – an emotive tool without compromising on family practicality.

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