NEW HONDA CIVIC IS ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL

honda_civic_frontHonda has unveiled its tenth generation Civic hatchback at the recent Paris Motor Show. It won’t arrive in Australia until next year but it does give us a good segue into our recent test of the gen-10 Civic four-door sedan that went on sale here a few months back.

Civic has been a staple of the Honda range since it made its debut in 1973 Civic. Not only is it the Japanese carmaker’s all-time biggest seller, it also sits fifth on the list of the world’s all-time biggest selling passenger cars.

Given this pedigree it has been sad to see Civic sales slump so dramatically over the past couple of years. Circumstances beyond Honda’s control contributed significantly to this decline including the GFC, Thai floods and Japanese tsunami. Nor has it been helped by competing against three of Australia’s biggest sellers, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.

While the arrival of the new Civic sedan has certainly re-kindled interest hatches are far more popular in the small car segment and Honda dealers will be counting the days until the arrival of the new five-door model sometime during the first half of 2017.

honda_civic_rear

Unlike the previous model all Gen 10 Civics, both sedan and hatch, now come from a new Honda factory in Thailand, with the same design and specifications.

STYLING
Like many in its class the Civic sedan has a coupe-like profile, clearly aimed at attracting younger and less conservative buyers than before. Having said that there’s nothing there that’s likely to really turn heads.

The price-leading Civic VTi gets 16-inch steel wheels. All others step up to alloys, 16-inch in the VTi-S, 17s in the others. The Civic RS comes with an integrated body kit, including a gloss black grille, rear spoiler, sunroof and sportier wheels.

The interior has been redesigned and has a more elegant look and feel than before with a level of comfort that’s rare in cars of this size.

honda_civic_interior

Civic sedan is also more spacious due to a combination of clever design work and an extra 45 mm in the external width to the car. It’s particularly noticeable in the rear seats which could easily pass for a car in the next size up. The boot is large (around 518 litres) with a flat floor and low loading height. All models have space-saver spare wheels.

The dashboard is logically designed with a large touchscreen and a digital instrument panel. There are plenty of clever storage ideas.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Five versions of the Civic hatch are on offer. The VT-i and VTi-S, are powered by the previous 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated 104 kW / 174 Nm petrol engine. The VTi-L, RS and VTi-LX get an all-new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 127 kW and 220 Nm.

For the first time in a Civic there is no manual gearbox with all models getting a CVT in place of the old five-speed conventional automatic. The turbo engines 1.5-litre variants also gets paddle shifters.

INFOTAINMENT
The dashboard display is a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen in all models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide smartphone interface. However, they connect via USB cable rather than being wireless. Voice commands operate through either Siri Eyes Free or Google Voice.

Bluetooth phone and audio streaming are also standard. The premium VTi-LX gets dedicated satellite navigation, all other models rely on smartphone links.

DAB+ radio is standard on VTi-L, RS and VTi-LX.

SAFETY
In addition to the standard list of safety equipment (airbags, enhanced brakes and stability/traction control) all Civic variants get a reversing camera, emergency stop signal, tyre pressure warning and hill start assist.

All models above the entry-level VTi also get front and rear parking sensors as well as LaneWatch which uses a camera mounted at the rear of the left-hand mirror to provide an 80-degree view of the left lane whenever the left indicator is activated.

The top spec Civic VTi-LX takes safety to a higher level with the Honda Sensing package that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System; Road Departure Mitigation System; Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning; Lane Keeping Assist System; and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.

There are Isofix anchor points on the two outer rear seats.

DRIVING
Our test car was the mid-range VT-L, the lowest spec of the three turbo Civics. All models above the VTi have push button engine start /stop.

The turbo-petrol engine is quiet and efficient with more than enough power and torque for all but the most demanding of drivers. The CVT is well-matched to the engine.

On the open road it grips well through corners with steering that’s a little on the heavy side, just the way we like it.

The quiet engine and underbody streamlining contribute to one of the quietest small cars that we’ve ever driven.

This Honda Civic has the sort of road presence that’s been lacking in recent Civics and we have no doubt could cope with a long interstate trip.

Fuel consumption is factory tested at 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged 7.2 L/100 km over our mix of urban, motorway and rural roads.

SUMMING UP
After years of decline it’s great to see the iconic Honda Civic once again able to hold its own against rivals that currently dominate the small car market.

The new turbo-petrol engine should be a major selling point. It’s quiet and refined with plenty of torque and low fuel consumption.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Civic VTi 1.8-litre petrol four-door sedan: $22,390 (CVT)
Civic VTi-S 1.8-litre petrol four-door sedan: $24,490 (CVT)
Civic VTi-L 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $27,790 (CVT)
Civic RS 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $31,790 (CVT)
Civic VTi-LX 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $33,590 (CVT)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Honda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Honda Civic VTi-L 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.498 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 127 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 220 Nm @ 1700 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 140 g/km

DRIVELINE:
Continuously variable

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4644 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1799 mm
Height: 1416 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1331 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 47 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years / 100,000 km

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *