This is the latest in a long line of Civics. It’s a smooth, refined, urbane motor vehicle that’s
easy, comfortable and rewarding to drive.

But I wonder if Honda has done enough to justify the sharp increase in price, with just the
one model and no sedan on offer, arguably the better looking of the pair?

I understand why Honda has culled the lineup, with sales of sedans and hatches in decline
across the new car market.

Just a couple of weeks ago Ford announced it was cutting the Focus ST, Focus ST X and
Fiesta ST models — until now bonafide flag bearers for the brand.

It’s been 50 years since the first Civic landed in Australia, but like the Falcon and
Commodore, unless the public responds positively and in numbers it could well be the last
Civic, we see.

Honda says the arrival of the all-new, 11th-generation Civic is the first step in a three-
phase rollout for its iconic small car in Australia.

A hybrid is set to join the line-up later in the year followed by the much anticipated, high-
performance Type R version which is sure to be a cracker.

New Civic looks discernibly different, at least from the rear and it’s lost those huge, Volvo-
esque, some might say ugly tail lights (wonder if this is the start of something new).

On the flip side, the car doesn’t stand out from the crowd in quite the same way as it used
to. If anything, the styling is more mainstream.

Prices start and finish at a fixed, driveaway $47,200 across this great land of ours. There
will be no negotiation, as Honda aims to make purchase a less daunting, haggle-free

To put the new car in perspective, the previous VTi-LX was priced from $35,790 plus on-
roads, putting it at an estimated $40,600 driveaway in runout last June.

What do you get for the extra $6600?

The body is stiffer with a wider track and longer wheelbase which means better ride and

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces fractionally more power and torque,
while the CVT transmission has been updated with the addition of sport mode.

Inside, there’s a couple of extra airbags, a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen, new navigation
system, DAB+ digital radio, wireless phone charging, premium Bose audio with support for
wireless CarPlay — and an instrument panel that is at least partially digital.

Vale LaneWatch, the passenger side, rear-view camera system that has been a feature of
Hondas for so long. It’s gone but not forgotten, replaced by a proper blind spot alert

Other kit includes 18-inch alloys, LED lighting all round, adaptive cruise control with
stop/go, surround-view camera, keyless entry and start, automatic lights and wipers, auto-
dimming rear-view mirror and interior ambient lighting.
Wait a minute . . . isn’t it supposed to be fully equipped? What about a sunroof? I hear you
ask. What about head-up display and where are the parking sensors?

The navigation lacks speed sign recognition and camera warnings and the instrument
cluster can’t be configured to show different home screens and information?

The new high-definition 9.0-inch colour touchscreen, infotainment and audio system
features built-in, off-line satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, AM/FM radio, Qi-
compatible fast wireless charging, together with wired Android Auto and wireless Apple

Sound comes from a Bose 12-speaker audio system, featuring Bose Centrepoint 2 and
Bose Surround Stage digital signal processing, putting the listener in the centre of the
sound no matter where they are seated.

There are four 2.5A USB ports, with two in the front and two at the rear of the centre

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine has been tweaked to produce
131kW of power at 6000 revs and 240Nm of torque from 1700-4000 revs — an increase of
4kW and 20Nm (the latter figure is significant).

It will happily run on standard 91 unleaded, but if you stick premium in — you get another

Transmission is via a Continuously Variable Transmission with 7-steps, gear change
paddles and drive to the front wheels.

New Civic is yet to be crash tested by ANCAP (previous model is still waiting too).
It adds knee airbags for driver and front passenger, bringing the total to eight, plus
improved pedestrian protection and an all-new wide-view, single-camera Honda Sensing

There’s also new Traffic Jam Assist, updated Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep
Assist System, as well as Blind spot information system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

My wife remains unimpressed, but I reckon the new Civic is a sweet thing.

The cabin has a more premium feel, compared to the hard plastics of the previous model,
with two-zone climate air, black leatherette seats with red accented suede, plus heated
and power adjustable front pews.

The touchscreen has been moved to the top of the dash as is the vogue, with a hand rest
to steady your fingers as they attempt to cope with bumps in the road.

A long thin honeycomb grille that hides the air vents is an inspired touch and it is good to
see the addition of rear air vents for back seat passengers.

But the dash is half-baked, with two traditional looking round analogue dials, the right one
a standard analogue speedo while the left one acts a tacho with digital driver information
display in the centre.

It will show navigation prompts, but that’s about the extent of it.

The dash from 0-100km/h takes a middle of the road 7.5 seconds. Fuel consumption from
a smallish 47-litre tank is a claimed 6.3L/100km (same as before). We were getting
6.9L/100km after 540km of mixed driving.

By far and away the best aspect of new Civic is the comfort and quality of the ride.

The previous model was good, this one is outstanding.

Rear legroom is good, but the plunging roofline makes access difficult — watch you head.

The infotainment system has a physical volume knob plus physical buttons for Home and
Back functions, with large easy-to-recognise icons, a fast processor for quicker response
time and simplified navigation structure with fewer embedded menus.

While it’s good to see satellite navigation included, it does not have speed sign
recognition, nor any speed camera or school zone warnings.

As well as Sport and Economy modes, gear change paddles are provided to move through
the CVT’s seven “steps” manually. But you can’t change gears manually using the
transmission lever.

After trying both Sport and Economy modes we were happy to leave it at the default.

The broad spread of torque, available from 1700 to 4000 revs, provides effortless
performance, while the CVT is remarkably smooth.

It also steers and handles well to a point, although it can become floaty hustling over
uneven backroads as the suspension unloads.

Good one Honda.

Civic is covered by a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with five years of roadside
assistance and map updates.

The service cycle is a relatively short 10,000/12 months, with the first five services capped
at $125 each.

I like it. The stumbling block is the price. Civic is being promoted as one, fully-equipped
model. While it excels at the basics, it falls short of competitors when it comes to the bells
and whistles.

Where’s the sunroof, seat cooling, head-up display, not to mention the 10.2-inch digital
instrument cluster that the car is offered with overseas?

For the price I’d expect and demand more.

Looks: 7
Performance: 7
Safety: 7.5
Thirst: 7
Practicality: 7.5
Comfort: 8
Tech: 7.5
Value: 7
Overall: 7.3

Honda Civic VTi-LX Hatch $47,200 driveaway
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Honda dealer for drive-away prices.

Honda Civic VTi-LX 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder petrol, CVT automatic FWD

Capacity: 1.5 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 131 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1700-4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Regular unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.3 L/100km
CO2 emissions 235 g/km

DRIVELINE: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4560 mm
Wheelbase: 2733 mm
Width: 1802 mm
Height: 1415 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1369 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 47 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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