Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Difference mostly on the inside

Published:Sunday | September 18, 2016 | 9:00 AMNeville Graham

On the outside, apart from fog lights, a badge, and available sunroof, there is nothing to distinguish the trim levels of the new Honda Civic. Both the EXi and the VTi-S come with the same standard features, including 16-inch alloy rims and exterior measurements. Body length checks in at 4644 mm; height is the same at 1416mm; and body width is the same at 1799mm. They both also carry five passengers, with the same legroom and cargo space.

As they say, the devil is in the details, and the first place to start is with what is found under the bonnet, at which point the EXi is miles apart from the VTi-S.

- The EXi carries a 1600cc, 16-valve single overhead cam VTEC engine that merrily pumps out 123 horse power (hp) at a happy- sounding 6500 RPM. This is because of its oversquare design; where the bore (the width of the cylinders) is more than the length of the stroke of each piston as it grunts out the power.

- The VTi-S carries a smaller engine at 1500cc, but this twin cam VTEC engine packs a hard punch. It snorts out 25 per cent more power at 170hp. What is more is that it pushes out this power at 5000 RPM which is 1,000 less than the other engine. The real secret (indeed it is) can be found tucked neatly at the front. It is a turbocharger that boosts engine breathing by 16.5 psi. The result is more air mixed with the same amount of gas in a smaller space, meaning more power.

To handle the power difference, the engineers at Honda put on a beefier suspension on the VTi-S. Also, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) has an LL feature, which comes in handy when the car is under load or pulling a trailer. Fuel economy numbers were not available.

The choice is clear. The EXi offers everyday reliability, and comfort and the VTi -S can bring the beast out of those who want real power when it matters, while offering the same or better comfort.