Honda Civic: Cruise confusion

  • The Civic almost falls at the first hurdle
  • Apparent lack of cruise control concerns
  • "Concealed" feature proves puzzling

My commute to work and back isn't that complicated.

I have a little cross-country jaunt, then I get on the A421 and eventually join the A1 heading north.

Driving from home to work means I cover around 55 miles, the vast majority of which is spent on clear roads at fixed speeds.

As a result cruise control is about the only option that I really like to have in a long-term test car.

So, I was a little disappointed when I first drove the Civic and found that it only appeared to have a speed limiter.

Close, but no cigar. A limiter gives you a little of the functionality of cruise control but you have to keep your foot on the accelerator and it's not difficult to accelerate past the set speed.

A more detailed look around the cabin revealed no sign of a cruise control system. At a glance, the blank space on the steering wheel controls suggested that it was indeed omitted.

This was somewhat annoying, as I tend to make good use of cruise control and find that it reduces fatigue on longer trips significantly.

It also means that you can pay more attention to what’s going on around you, potentially reducing the chance of an accident, and there's less chance of inadvertently creeping over the speed limit.

The lack of cruise mystified me. Surely the additional hardware couldn’t cost that much extra, particularly when Honda had already gone to the trouble of fitting a limiter.

Driving home for the first time, I went to turn the limiter off. Instead of the notification light for the limiter disappearing on the dash, it instead turned into a small speedometer.

That, I thought, looks a like symbol for cruise control. Lo and behold, on pressing “Set”, the Honda Civic was ticking along at a steady speed of its own accord.

My relief was palpable. Admittedly reading the manual would have revealed all but it seemed curious that the system wasn’t obviously marked. 

Virtually every car I've been in has had, if fitted, separate buttons for cruise and limiter modes. Consequently it seems odd that the Honda relies on one button that's just marked "LIM".

If that's the biggest issue I run into with the Civic, however, I'm in for a very trouble-free experience.

Current mileage: 3,067 miles

Average mpg: 40.4mpg (ind.)