"The 05 is very close to identical, and I love it"4.5 starson by drmeerkat
Pros: Very responsive (really, not much beating 210hp out of a 2 liter normally aspirated), can get tuning toys readily if you're so inclined. Handles very well, and far better than anything else I have experienced in this price segment.
Cons: Tire choice could be more aggressive given the performance stance of the car (and an upgrade here brings a whole new level to the car). The sound system has no capacity for aux, changer, or any of the alt ways of connecting an ipod w/o cassete deck.
Summary: For drivers in the early days of professional life, where boy racer cars are too young looking and we still want something fun pre-kids, the looks and performance satisfy on both counts. It is deceptively fast, yet can be driven much like a civic (with similar looking gas mileage if you keep the revs below 4k) for those worried about the pump. It has a comfortable ride in spite of the taut suspension, but on the same note can be tossed almost too easily (for the passenger?) through twisty roads. The only marks I could put on this car after 3 years and 46000 miles is that the head unit lacks the necessary auxillary inputs that became commonplace only 1 year later, has no way of getting an ipod connected without the cassette adapter or FM mod (so there is some hiss either way), and would literally have to be replaced in order to have these things, which is complicated by the interface with the Bose amp (more adapters, etc).
The second is the tires, which deserve more aggressive rubber. I have replaced them after 40k, and it has never driven like it does now on the Ultra Hi Perf tires I got for it (yeah, that's a ridiculous name for a class of tire, that's another story). I used to scoff at this complaint until I saw the difference myself - there is more juice here than the tires let you use.
And yes, I have experienced 3rd gear pop-out. I changed the tranny fluid to the new honda stuff and haven't had it since. Still the most crisp and easy to throw transmission I have used outside of a certain German brand that has a penchant for funny headlights.
If you can't tell I love my car and wouldn't trade it in for anything that has come out since... at least until I can afford triple this price.
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