Just like half of the teenage drivers out there, I learned how to drive in a Civic, and I still often times drive my Civic (2007 Sedan). Now many car enthusiasts out there will go and say it is Rice or that it isn’t a proper car with front wheel drive and a four banger etc...and to that I acknowledge the latter. However, there is one fact that can not and will not be denied given my experience; the Civic is a great car to learn how to drive in.
The Civic I learned in has proper hydraulic auxiliary units such as steering, braking, and handbrakes. I acquired a feel for the road and now whenever I drive a car with electronic luxuries, I feel blind. Not to bash out the electronic auxiliary units in modern cars, but I simply prefer to feel the road, as do most drivers. Luckily for me, I got a feel from the start. The steering is actually quite precise and registers the slight changes in the road. The brakes are rather mushy but actually provide a response unlike electronic brake pedals. My favorite is the hydraulic handbrake which actually locks up the back tires stock going into a turn at 45mph. Not to brag or anything, but the stock Civic does some amazingly great handbrake turns. Now in terms of the extremely responsive transmission...I love it. It loves to rev up really high up to 7,000 rpm and neutral slamming it (even though not suggested) is such a joy. Not to mention, the towing gears 1, 2, and d3 were basically my sequential transmission for doing canyon runs in Malibu. They also make great fun for learning how to rev match while downshifting and engine braking.
The car itself as a whole also gave me a valuable learning experience. Given the front wheel drive nature of the car and it’s rather measly grip, I learned how to trail brake in the canyons within 30 minutes of my first official canyon carving adventure. It was a do or die kind of thing where if I didn’t adapt and trail brake, I would have died at those speeds along the lines of falling off a cliff. Also, the rather lofty suspension taught me to never make jerky movements in which I could upset the car’s delicate weight balance. Even accelerating quickly led to problems such as as going up a hill; the wheels would just spin upfront, squealing and embarrassing me. With the wheelspin combined with my teenage euphoric addictions, I quickly developed a quick reflexes in order to respond to the car jerking off in random directions (I blame the open diff). Lastly, the brakes, which are shitty to be frank, were the best lesson ever taught to me. LET THE BRAKES COOL and use them only when you need to (engine braking helps). Doing canyon carving runs a few times a week, my brakes often heated up and faded to the point of where I could smell them at a stop sign as I rolled by unable to stop, until I remembered the handbrake.
Ultimately, I love my first car. It gave me a feel of what driving should be like, responsive and agile. I acquired driving skills from trail braking to transferring weight, and most importantly, I gained a respect for the art of driving.