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    Thread: Daily driver search. EP3 Civic SI or ????

    1. Member kenny301's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 05:21 AM #1
      Long story short(er), it is time for my Forester to go. I moved to the city and it is almost too big for my parking lot and is tight in my parking spot. It also makes finding a parallel spot difficult on the rare occasion I drive somewhere in the city. It also needs rear pads, a belt, a tensioner, I occasionally smell oil after driving it, and the suspension is still wonky after a guy on PCP threw a huge rock into the road right in front of me on an exit ramp last year, which I hit. It is comfortable enough and has heated seats and a huge sunroof (which I never get to use) but also has an awful stereo, gets 24mpg average, and burns oil like a two stroke. I spend about 40% of my time on city streets and 20% in the suburbs with the rest being on the highway. I'm probably stuck in some sort of traffic 50-60% of the time.

      I'd really like to pick up a new MKVII GTI but I don't think I can justify spending that kinda money when I only drive 6-7k miles a year. Another bugeye WRX wagon or a blob eye wagon would be cool or a 2nd gen Forester XT. Most examples I'm seeing are high mileage, clapped out, rusty, or are in various stages of STI engine swaps. Everyone wants stupid money for these. I don't have anywhere convenient to work on a car in the city so any self maintenance or repair involves a good drive to the closest friend with an available driveway.

      I was bumming around Craigslist looking for something fun and came across an 05 Civic SI hatch for $6500. One owner, only 54k miles on the clock, and not modified or molested. The search function tells me that they don't have a center armrest which may be annoying, are buzzy on the highway, and are slow (compared to my 3300lb Forester, it'll probably feel plenty fast). It also tells me that they are fun to drive, reliable, get acceptable gas mileage, and can haul a lot of stuff which is nice because I can toss my mountain bike in the back without worrying about a hatch rack or roof rack.

      What else should I be looking at? I'd guess MKIV and V GTIs are off the table due to age/reliability/most have been beaten on. I also don't really like the 2nd gen Mazda 3 styling. I'd like to stick with a hatchback or small wagon this time around.
      Last edited by kenny301; 03-28-2019 at 05:27 AM.

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    3. Senior Member Lwize's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 05:59 AM #2
      An EP3 Si is enticing, but the short gearing will wear you down.
      Salt is angry sugar.

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      03-28-2019 06:58 AM #3
      I'm seeing MK7 1.8Ts for as low as $11K. Get a 5MT, slap on a Neuspeed Cup kit and some decent tires/brakes, APR tune. They have proven to be reliable and will be so much nicer to live with than an EP3. Civics only became livable with the current gen which is still $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    5. Member chois's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 07:07 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      I'm seeing MK7 1.8Ts for as low as $11K. Get a 5MT, slap on a Neuspeed Cup kit and some decent tires/brakes, APR tune. They have proven to be reliable and will be so much nicer to live with than an EP3. Civics only became livable with the current gen which is still $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
      Slap on a clutch upgrade as well.
      Chris
      2014 Passat SE, 1.8tsi, 5sp
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    6. Member DubNMiatafan's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 07:35 AM #5
      Consider the 8th gen Si. Much better suspension design than the EP3, 6th gear, and 40 more hp.

      You can find beat examples for $4k, all the way to really nice ones for $10k. Really a fantastic car.

      I've put about 30k on mine in 1.5 years. No issues other than one rod bearing that was worn and I replaced myself. Definitely a fluke, not a common issue at all on these cars.

      EDIT: Just saw your hatch/wagon requirement. D'oh.
      ♪ Let's just drive, I wanna see what the wind does to your hair ♪

    7. Member n0rdicalex.'s Avatar
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      03-28-2019 07:38 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by kenny301 View Post

      I'd really like to pick up a new MKVII GTI but I don't think I can justify spending that kinda money when I only drive 6-7k miles a year.
      the current lease offer for 2019 GTI is quite tempting:

      Quote Originally Posted by VW
      2019 Golf GTI S - Automatic Transmission

      $0 Down / $0 Security Deposit / $0 1st Month Payment / $0 Due at Signing
      Example lease: $379/mo. for 39-mos. $0 Due at signing, excludes tax, title, license, options, and dealer fees. For highly qualified customers through Volkswagen Credit.
      https://www.vw.com/special-offers/
      welcome to the layer cake

    8. Member 88c900t's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 07:43 AM #7
      If you want an Si, get an 8th gen. Also Civics in general tend to have weak AC and high road noise.

      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      I'm seeing MK7 1.8Ts for as low as $11K. Get a 5MT, slap on a Neuspeed Cup kit and some decent tires/brakes, APR tune. They have proven to be reliable and will be so much nicer to live with than an EP3. Civics only became livable with the current gen which is still $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
      I actually agree with you for once. The MK7 Golf is a great daily if you can do without the fancy stuff (the OP is considering a 7G Si so that's a given) and don't mind the ancient 5 speed manual.

      Also, you can get a used MK7 GTI for about 16K now. Or some FieSTas for as little as 12K.
      Typical forum guy with busted third-hand cars.
      Quote Originally Posted by Kiyokix View Post
      I like this guy, I like this guy a lot.
      Quote Originally Posted by l88m22vette View Post
      88c900t wins again, you really ****ing crush it at listing a ton of cheap options
      Quote Originally Posted by volvohutter View Post
      You'll always get a pass due to your history of owning classy and sophisticated automobiles

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      03-28-2019 08:19 AM #8
      Get a mkvi gti. They are excellent cars if you don't let the "it's not MQB!" morons in your head. I miss mine regularly.
      Expose your cracks and love will fill them.

    10. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 08:52 AM #9
      I drive 5k a year, live in the grid network of a major city, street park nightly, and bought a 2017 STI.

      Buy what you want, man. If you want the MK7 go get one. They are great cars.
      I like bikes.
      Gone: 2010 VW GTI

    11. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 08:54 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      An EP3 Si is enticing, but the short gearing will wear you down.
      I don't understand this thought process. Shifting is fun! Short gears are funner!
      I like bikes.
      Gone: 2010 VW GTI

    12. 03-28-2019 09:10 AM #11
      They’re a ton of fun, don’t let the people who have never driven one or only spent 20 minutes in one dissuade you.

      Drive it, if you like it, but it without hesitation.

    13. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:06 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by johnny_p View Post
      I don't understand this thought process. Shifting is fun! Short gears are funner!
      Burning up backroads maybe, but not in the driving the OP is talking about doing.

      "I spend about 40% of my time on city streets and 20% in the suburbs with the rest being on the highway. I'm probably stuck in some sort of traffic 50-60% of the time."

      My lightly modded NC Miata is fun as fcuk to rip through the gears, etc.
      9 months ago my commute went from 8 miles to 32 miles. It's ok to commute, but the 'fun aspects' wear thin when you are stuck in stop and go traffic constantly clutching in and out of 1st and 2nd gears, or just plain stuck in a traffic train doing 35-45mph with no need to change gears.

    14. Member ohiodub_99.5's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:13 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by kenny301 View Post
      I was bumming around Craigslist looking for something fun and came across an 05 Civic SI hatch for $6500. One owner, only 54k miles on the clock, and not modified or molested.
      if its clean, i'd go for it, they are getting harder to find in an unmolested condition... i look on CL from time to time for one... they are fun cars to drive... not "fast" by most peoples definition, but they are small, agile and the gear shifter in them is buttery smooth... a lot of people complain about the shifter placement (being in the dash)...but once you drive one for a while you learn to appreciate it.
      /| OMGHAI |\

    15. Member 88c900t's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:16 AM #14
      Other (IMO better) options:

      MKVI GTI (although I'm skeptical about reliability)

      Volvo C30 T5. My S40 was just as fun as any front-driver I've ever owned, and that includes both 900 turbos and the FocuST. But mine was a total maintenance hog, to be fair though it was 11 years old.

      Mini Cooper S (pre 2014).


      Still, look into the Golf 7 and Fiesta ST.
      Typical forum guy with busted third-hand cars.
      Quote Originally Posted by Kiyokix View Post
      I like this guy, I like this guy a lot.
      Quote Originally Posted by l88m22vette View Post
      88c900t wins again, you really ****ing crush it at listing a ton of cheap options
      Quote Originally Posted by volvohutter View Post
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    16. Member dwagner88's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:20 AM #15
      I had a friend in college with an EP3 hatch. The ride was totally unacceptable. I don't mean firm, I had an MS3 at the time and it was intolerable to me. It's possible he had done something to the suspension, but that thing was absolutely miserable to be in as a passenger. I also found it to be pretty slow, but that may not matter to you.
      Past: 1998 Accord V6 LX
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    17. Member ohiodub_99.5's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:24 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by 88c900t View Post
      Other (IMO better) options:


      Mini Cooper S (pre 2014).
      lol... OP wants reliability...and you suggest that?
      /| OMGHAI |\

    18. Member geofftii2002's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:25 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      I'm seeing MK7 1.8Ts for as low as $11K. Get a 5MT, slap on a Neuspeed Cup kit and some decent tires/brakes, APR tune. They have proven to be reliable and will be so much nicer to live with than an EP3. Civics only became livable with the current gen which is still $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
      Quote Originally Posted by chois View Post
      Slap on a clutch upgrade as well.

      So what you're saying is buy a car for $11K and "slap" another $5K worth of parts on it?
      I spend my days in a 70,000 sq ft wonderland www.hymanltd.com

    19. Member geofftii2002's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:27 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by ohiodub_99.5 View Post
      lol... OP wants reliability...and you suggest that?
      Maybe its a fluke but my R55 S has been great. I had to deal with the timing chain ordeal, but once that was over (got all of my money back in the class action) the car has been really good - just been gas, oil, regular maintenance. I'm up to 115K miles or so and it's been a super little car.
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    20. Member Claff's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:29 AM #19
      Bought a 2002 EP3 for commuter use in early 2014, sold it in early 2017. I think it had 120K on it when we got it, box stock. Only things that needed fixing under my ownership was passenger side lock actuator, front sway bar end links, idler pulley, and clutch.

      Sold the car when the wife had to have her ankle operated on and needed to have an automatic transmission.

      The car was quite reliable. The clutch was already fairly tired when we got it so it wasn't a surprise that it would need replacement at some point. Idler pulley gave plenty of warning that it was going bad so it didn't leave me stranded.

      I never modified the car. I had a set of lowering springs but many friends warned me that the car has some unique front suspension design that would not react well to lowering. I don't recall details but respected their opinion and abandoned plans to lower it.

      On our car, the most maddening thing was balky shifter linkage or who knows what that would occasionally refuse to go into reverse. Only seemed to happen when I was in a hurry or trying to sell the car.

      Highway revs were fairly high and mileage not great, but neither came as a surprise. Ride was comfortable and not particularly sporty considering it was a Si. The car did not feel light but that might just be me spoiled by what else I drove regularly.

      I imagine there's a very small sweet spot of EP3s nowadays that are not used up and not overpriced. I don't see many these days on the road but it's not like they made a ton to begin with and the newest ones are now 15 years old.

      Summary: ours treated us well, I enjoyed it while we had it, but I don't have to have another one.
      Parsimonious Racing - autocrossing Miatas in the Washington DC area and beyond

    21. Member Tokyosmash's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 10:38 AM #20
      SVT Focus was a better car back then, still is

    22. 03-28-2019 10:54 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Claff View Post
      On our car, the most maddening thing was balky shifter linkage or who knows what that would occasionally refuse to go into reverse. Only seemed to happen when I was in a hurry or trying to sell the car.
      This feels like a honda thing to me? I've always had weird issues going into reverse on first day startups on my hondas. Usually going to first-second, then reverse usually works.

    23. Member nyexx's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 11:06 AM #22
      $6500 buys a very clean semi low mileage 2nd gen Mazda 3 Hatch. Reliability is excellent and it’s a way better car.

    24. Member Dirty Hatch's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 11:12 AM #23
      I daily drove one from 2013 -2010 and it was probably one of the worst cars I have ever owned. Sure it was reliable, but it was slow, especially when you run the AC. Adding a Type S lower sway bar makes the car handle a lot better, but if you lower it, you are rewarded with a noisy steering and wonderful clunking sounds. The car, like most Hondas has a lot of road noise and the stock stereo is awful. I did like the seats on that car, but after 7 years and a 120K miles they don't age that well.

      For fuel economy I averaged about 25-30MPG, which isn't horrible since you can put regular fuel in it. For highway driving, I did think this car could have had a sixth gear or a longer 5th.

      The good thing about the car is, it's pretty reliable, easy to work on, is pretty spacious on the inside for it's size and it's easy to toss a K24 or K20A in it, which makes it a lot more fun to drive.

      If you like them and if the one you are looking at is stock and you don't mind the rid, then go for it. I just think they haven't aged well and looking back it's a what was I thinking car.

    25. Member Claff's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 11:54 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by nyexx View Post
      $6500 buys a very clean semi low mileage 2nd gen Mazda 3 Hatch. Reliability is excellent and it’s a way better car.
      This. We bought a 2010 Mazda3 new and didn't keep it nearly long enough to appreciate. I'll take this one over an EP3 for similar money 10 times out of 10.
      Parsimonious Racing - autocrossing Miatas in the Washington DC area and beyond

    26. Junior Member Greefus's Avatar
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      03-28-2019 12:03 PM #25
      I really liked my EP3. It's like the base RSX engine in the Type R body. Even though it doesn't have the fun high revving VTec, it has decent power and takes regular gas. Only thing I wish it could have had was traction control.

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