When I took my 2005, stripped-down, no-power-doors-or-windows Honda Civic for a test drive at the dealer in Torrance, I wasn't expecting a sports car. I was expecting a cheap, reliable car to get me from point A to point B. But when the excitable salesman in my co-pilot seat saw that we were approaching a stretch of open road, he turned to me with wide eyes and said "Why don't you open her up a bit?"
"Open her up?" I asked, wondering if he knew we were in a car I was about to buy brand new for $13,000, which didn't even have cruise control. "You mean like... go faster"?
"Yeaaaah," he said, sitting back with a bloated smile into the beige, tacky apholstry. "Go faster."
So I did. I lowered my foot into the gas and, after 7 or 8 seconds, we were going faster.
"Feel that?" the salesman said to me as we plodded around a curve, the engine humming like a gassy rhino. "Now that's a Civic."
Eight years later, I just sold my Civic to a guy from Huntington Beach to give to his 16-year-old little sister as her first car, after the engine totally died last week. He paid me $1500 cash, after my original Craigslist post for $900 received 200 responses in 24 hours and incited a bidding war. I know, I'm as shocked as you are.
But I hope she loves it as much as I did, because (until its total engine failure), that sturdy little Honda served me flawlessly for 90,000 years. Flawlessly, and stylelessly.
Reliable, basic, and giving back even at the end.
Now THAT's a Civic.