May I come in?

My 14th Volvo (a 765T) is resting and I need transport. I think the car I'm looking for is a Civic HX, preferably auto. I'm seeing some in apparently
reasonable shape with 100K or thereabouts for around $4500. Looks don't matter much, but reliability is a must. Good gas mileage would be a plus.
I know absolutely nothing about Hondas, so my questions to all you experts:
Is the HX a good choice or are people going to roll around laughing and say, You bought a WHAT!!!?
Is the price/age point reasonable? Should I spend more money? Could I spend less?
Volvos before '88 had bad electrical issues. Is there a similar break point with the HX where long-standing problems were finally made to go away?
Is there anything peculiar to this model that I should watch for?
I've enjoyed browsing this group and look forward to your responses.
Thank you --
Pete (from Poughquag)
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Peter Adler wrote:

hx auto is cvt - continuously variable transmission. some people hate it because it doesn't have a notchy shift like a traditional auto - rpm's stay "stuck" but the car just goes faster. however it gets you up to 50mpg, so there are benefits is you can handle the "weirdness". only concern there would be transmission parts, but i've never seen anybody on this group complain about lack of longevity. and honda still support it. most hondas will get you 300k without too much problem.
other routine stuff would be making sure the plastic radiator gets replaced in the not too distant. once cracked, you'll obviously lose coolant and overheat the motor, and when you do that, the head gasket starts to slowly leak. replacements are relatively cheap and will last you another 10 years. other than that, a thoroughly boringly reliable car.
one last thing: if you visit the city, be careful where you park. the 8-spoke alloys on the hx happen to be the lightest 14" wheels honda used. they consequently tend to be somewhat sought after by some of the fringe 2ner crowd and therefore stolen. [wheel "locks" are ineffective.]
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Jim - thank you!
A device that transmits power via a metal belt rubbing on metal cones sounds a little scratchy. Is wear a major issue with these gadgets? If you do a lot of steady highway driving, do the cones tend to wear just in one place? If so, does it produce a notchy effect?
Plastic radiators are also a Volvo curse. Replacement is a reflex.
"Boringly reliable" is exactly what I'm looking for, and if that includes its behavior in rain or snow I'd be deleriously happy. My other main concern is getting from A to B and back without lining the pockets of Bush's buddies more than I absolutely have to. The HX is beginning to sound ideal.
Again, thank you --
Pete (fP)

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Peter Adler wrote:

> Jim - thank you! > > A device that transmits power via a metal belt rubbing on metal cones sounds > a little scratchy.
well, it /is/ bathed in atf...
> Is wear a major issue with these gadgets?
not that i've heard of. you can be pretty sure all the honda forums would be full of it if it were.
> If you do a lot > of steady highway driving, do the cones tend to wear just in one place? If > so, does it produce a notchy effect?
see above.
> > Plastic radiators are also a Volvo curse. Replacement is a reflex. > > "Boringly reliable" is exactly what I'm looking for, and if that includes > its behavior in rain or snow I'd be deleriously happy. My other main concern > is getting from A to B and back without lining the pockets of Bush's buddies > more than I absolutely have to. The HX is beginning to sound ideal. > > Again, thank you -- > > Pete (fP) >
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Peter Adler wrote:

I too thought I wanted an HX, but they are pretty hard to find used, in good shape, because they weren't all that common. The other Civic models seem to get close to the same mpg, so don't decide it *has to* be an HX. I got an EX sedan with a 5 speed, and the gearing is so bloody high it *should* get good fuel economy! The thing appears to have two overdrives...
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mjc13<REMOVETHIS> wrote:

what rpm's at 70mph?
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I've seen other nice Civics but I kind of had my heart set on the HX. I dunno -- something about a device that shouldn't work but does. There are a few around, although most of them are either too expensive, already sold, or the owner "forgot to mention ... etc". But I'll keep looking for a while. Anyone know of anything in NE US?
Pete (fP)

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Peter Adler wrote:

Sorry, no. I just searched Craigslist for you here. How about a nice '86 CIvic Si? One owner, 38 mpg... ;-)

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On Tue, 10 Jul 2007 18:30:09 -0400, Peter Adler wrote:

Where are you? I think there's one in Leverrett, MA, 160,000 miles IIRC, and asking $1950
I'm not *sure* it's an HX...

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That could have been nice! I just closed on a '97 HX with 140K for $3000. But it looks pretty and the owner seems to have treated it kindly.
And, shortly after I closed, I came across a review of the same year model by an owner who claims that the transmission is failure-prone and very expensive to repair. Expensive I can understand, but failure-prone?
Hey, guys, say it ain't so ...!
Pete (fP)

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Peter Adler wrote:

I've seen indications that it fails more often than the usual automatic, but don't know if it's a flaw or how they get driven by so many kids. And replacements on Ebay don't seem too expensive. FWIW, my '95 EX has a regular 5 speed, and not only did it fail and get replaced by the previous owner (along with the clutch, happily), but someone was posting here a few weeks ago about the same 5 speed failing...

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Peter Adler wrote:

read any "review" on any forum, and you'll find one person that spews vitriol about _[insert name of product here]_. reality is, it's not shown up as a problem on this forum or other primary honda web sites. you can check that for yourself.
the other thing to bear in mind is that because it's /not/ a conventional transmission, the local clown at monkey-trans has no idea what its about. "omg, it's not shifting!!!". leading of course to urgent replacement [and, naturally, substantial profit].
bottom line - you need to filter the crap from the real info. statistically, your car will be fine. its probability of failure is not zero, but statistically, the odds are very much in your favor. all it really needs is honda transmission fluid and to be driven normally.

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Thank you, everyone. I guess niggling at the back of my mind was the thought, if this transmission is so efficient, how come it isn't on every car out there? Even Honda seems to have given up on it. OTH, it's such a nifty idea ...
Other than careful driving (which I do, mostly) are there secrets to promoting longevity? Additives? Frequent fluid changes? An external filter?
Pete (fP)

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Peter Adler wrote:

because for some reason, the clowns that sell cars here can't be bothered to explain the difference of how it works. hence people used to driving "notchy" automatics don't understand what's happening and feel uncomfortable with it. contrast this with the fact that the cvt is highly popular in europe and asia! fwiu, the honda fit is only available in cvt if you want an automatic in those markets [albeit with 7 pseudo-notches programmed in - perverse if you ask me].
http://www.honda.co.uk/brochure/download/cars/HondaJazz.pdf

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CVTs have a spotted history and a bad reputation because of that. For ages they were made with rubber drive belts that were not very durable. It takes a while to overcome a bad rep.
Mike
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CV Transmissions have been becoming more common. Nissan has been a leader in their manufacture and uses one in their V6 SUV, the Altima, Sentra and Versa. Chrysler uses them in the Caliper/Compass vehicles, Mercedes B class, Audi A4 & A6, Honda and Toyota hybrids and Ford in some mid sized models, but Ford has dropped it in the Ford500/now called Taurus. Subaru is planning to add the gearless transmission into every model they make by 2010. A search at Wheels.ca hit on 44 vehicles with CVT.
As suggested already I'd stick to the maintenance recommended by Honda, including only using Honda SUPPLIED lubricant.
http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/techcenter/articles/45104/article.html

http://cars.about.com/od/thingsyouneedtoknow/a/CVT.htm CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission, What it is, how it works
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