Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Honda Civic gives a memorable experience

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMKareem Latouche
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Since its debut in 1972 as a two-door model, the Civic has come a far way in the compact sedan market, especially during the '90s when its reign as an automotive favourite was unassailable. This also helped the brand to form hordes of ardent followers who modified their Civics for appearance and performance purposes. Now in its 10th generation, Honda has pulled out as many innovations as possible to make the Civic stand out from its competitors. Not one to shy away from the conventional approach, this generation boasts a fast-back exterior with a sloping roof line from the c pillar to the trunk, like a modern day coupe-hatchback hybrid sports car.

Tapering off the rear end are protruding 'c'-shaped brake lights. This reflects the overall theme of the design, as the car has a very muscular appearance with pronouncements on the bonnet and side panels that are synonymous with performance.

Providing the final complement to the exterior design are 17 inches alloy rims that evoke a sense of speed.

Interior

To access the vehicle, drivers can use the Smart key technology, which allows you to walk towards the desired door that automatically unlocks once the key is detected.

Once in the car, the driver is seated in a lower than usual position, in a bucket seat with a high backrest and a cushioned headrest. The seat is contorted in an impressive way that made me feel very comfortable with very little changes to the multi-adjustment functions.

This lowered seating style also means you won't be able to see the bonnet while driving; something that really isn't an issue if you are accustomed to driving a car with a standard size front end.

As for the rest of the interior, Honda threw the entire sink in the car and then some; there are hidden features all over. Below the center console there is an inauspicious area that can house, charge and connect your cellphone through a USB or MHL cable.

There is also a USB charging port in the centre console armrest. This area is intuitively designed with movable compartments that can hold two beverages or a handbag, based on how the holding cups are configured. Another nifty option is that items can be concealed when the armrest cover is extended forward.

A digital screen, which is in the instrument cluster, showcases the driver information interface, where data such as the fuel consumption or music playing can be viewed.

All this can be controlled by the steering-mounted buttons which also has a touch-sensitive audio feature. It requires you to slide your finger up and down along the ridged surface to adjust the volume.

The Drive

Now to the drive of the vehicle: the 1.5-liter turbo four - cylinder engine combines the best of both worlds as it pertains to fuel efficiency and power. A contributing factor to this is the redesigned engine and lighter chassis, which is only one inch longer than the previous generation at 8 feet 10 inches.

Where the engine is concerned, it doesn't have the multiple-cam profiles like the VTEC engines of the past, but it is just as fun to drive. The Civic has now fully converted to a CVT transmission which works seamlessly with the turbo. The only thing that could have made this experience more engaging would be paddle shifters.

I really feel like the engineers at Honda and Subaru are doing an excellent job at designing exciting CVT engines.

At any speed the Civic feels very sturdy on the road and the Vehicle Stability Control does a great job of ensuring there is no over or under steering. I was a bit surprising that I felt no body roll around some challenging corners from a non All-Wheel-Drive sedan with its overall length.

With all its different features, this vehicle comes with a learning curve, but in a good way. It's hard not to fall in love with the driving dynamics and the 'Swiss-army-knife' approach that Honda took to building it. I think the company is aiming to have another cult classic and it is on its way to accomplish this.

Civic variants include sedan, coupe, five-door hatchback, Si trims, and Type-R models.

What I like

Very spacious interior

Technological touches all over

Very sturdy ride quality

Gripe

7 inches Touchscreen interface is not intuitive

Technical Data:

Model Tested:

2017 Honda Civic, VTI-S

1500cc

4 cylinder turbo

Output - 170 HP

Torque - 162 lb-ft

Fuel Consumption - 7.4L/100KM

Key Features:

Smart Entry System - Keyless Start/Automatic Locking and Unlocking of vehicle.

Remote Start

Apple CarPlay

Android Auto

Price of Tested model:

$4.85 M

Price of 1.6 litre non-turbo engine $3.9 m

Competitors:

Nissan Sentra, VW Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai Elantra

Vehicle Provided by:

ATL Honda, 876 960 8500, 1 888 285 778