You’ve probably noticed that over the past two decades, all manner of gadgets from flat-screen televisions to bluetooth speakers have grown rather cheap. Unsurprisingly, that’s filtered into cars, and as a result, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a heater-only compact car. Well, a 2006 Honda Civic DX Coupe recently sold on Bring A Trailer, and it really reminds us that it wasn’t too long ago that base really meant base.
The cars that aren’t inherently special due to rarity, performance, beauty, engineering prowess, or what have you, are almost never preserved. Instead, they’re just used as cars, from the showroom floor to an eventual demise at the hands of the crusher. Ferrari 308s? Even though they never sold in huge numbers, they aren’t hard to find. Now, when was the last time you saw a Buick Skyhawk?
The small handful of regular cars that stay cached away and largely preserved are both great vessels of joy and massively important, as they give unadulterated perspective of how we used to drive. This 2006 Honda Civic DX Coupe doesn’t feel particularly old, but 2006 was 18 years ago, and the entry point of the automotive landscape has changed vastly in the years since.
So what’s on the list of standard features for the 2006 Honda Civic DX Coupe? Well, it gets power windows, daytime running lights, a tilt and telescopic steering column, and that’s about it. It wasn’t that long ago when cheap cars were rather fairly spartan, and the list of equipment simply absent is astounding by modern standards.
For a kickoff, whoever bought this Civic DX new didn’t get a stereo. Sure, there’s an antenna, but that’s it.
There’s just this giant blanking plate in the middle of the dashboard where a radio would’ve gone, a reminder that for about two pizzas a month, you could’ve had something to listen to that wasn’t road noise.
Then there’s the cheapness of the passenger seat. This may be a coupe, but its front passenger seat doesn’t include a tilt-and-slide walk-in function for easy rear seat access. That’s mildly annoying, just like the lack of a one-touch driver’s power window, or cruise control.
So how much did this run someone in 2006? Well, according to Honda’s official price sheet, this thing retailed for $15,155 including freight. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $22,905.55. A brand new Civic LX costs $2,139.45 more than the inflation-adjusted price tag of this 2006 DX Coupe, but when you look at all the stuff you’re getting, that doesn’t seem like a bad deal. I’m talking about a four-speaker stereo, phone mirroring, body-colored door handles and mirrors, automatic climate control, cruise control, two extra doors, an automatic transmission, an improved crash structure, LED headlights, power door locks, stuff that makes a real quality of life difference. By the way, that new Civic LX sedan works out to be $807.82 cheaper than an inflation-adjusted 2006 Civic LX Coupe, and while that 2006 LX does come with a radio, air conditioning, body-colored door handles, and cruise control, it doesn’t get all the kit of the new one.
Mind you, while the base-model Civic of today is objectively a better car than this 2006 DX, it doesn’t do much to appeal to enthusiasts. There’s no tantalizingly impractical coupe bodystyle on the new car, nor a row-your-own manual transmission. Curb weight has ballooned by 284 pounds, the wheelbase has been stretched by 4.4 inches, and overall length is up by a whopping 9.2 inches. That compact feel of old has more or less vanished, but it’s what the bulk of consumers want.
The base models of today are far closer to the range-toppers of yesteryear than the entry trims, and much of that is due to how cheap little electronic gizmos have become. However, if you do still want an absolute base model car, gems like this are still out there, and thanks to automotive progress, a 2006 Honda Civic is still safer and better-equipped than its predecessors. I mean, just check out the IIHS crash test footage.
Above is a 1997 Honda Civic hitting an offset barrier at about 40 mph. Just look at the way that A-pillar bends. Now, let’s see how a 2006 Honda Civic holds up in the same test.
Yep, that looks a whole lot better. I certainly know which Civic I’d rather be in. Plus, one of the nicest 2006 Honda Civic DX coupes in the world with just 7,000 miles on the clock went for $8,150 on Bring A Trailer. That’s not a bad deal.
As ways of getting around, new and used cars have never been objectively better than they are today. Sure, the floor of pricing is up, but when you look at what you’re getting for your money, the typical car has never been safer or more comprehensively equipped. When it comes to tackling the commute, that’s exactly what matters. This rather spartan Honda Civic DX Coupe offers a bit of “they don’t make them like they used to” without any qualms of “I wouldn’t want to crash that old beer can.” Let’s hope it stays preserved as a reminder of how far we’ve come.
(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)
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