Honda Civic

| February 3, 2017 | 0 Comments


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Honda launched their tenth generation of the Civic in Barcelona in January & Company Car were there to take a look & drive the new model. Honda told the assembled journals that the new 5-door model exhibits best ever dynamics & sophistication, with a sporty, fresh & distinctive exterior design. The Civic has been newly engineered from the ground up. At launch, there will be all-new 1.0 litre & 1.5 litre VTEC TURBO petrol engines available. The new model also offers class-leading interior space with improved usability via Honda Connect. From a safety perspective, all models in the Civic range come with Honda’s SENSING safety technology. There is no diesel at launch, but, the new 1.0 litre petrol unit’s do offer fleet customers an outstanding balance of high fuel economy, low emissions & exciting performance.

The 1.0 litre VTEC TURBO hatchback model is available in four grades: S, Comfort, Elegance and Executive.

The entry-level S grade is generously equipped & includes automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control & the Honda SENSING suite of advanced active safety technologies. The next level up is Comfort grade which adds heated front seats, heated door mirrors, an eight-speaker audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels & air conditioning. Elegance models benefit from the Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, 17-inch alloys, front & rear parking sensors, rear parking camera & dual-zone air conditioning. The top Executive grade features leather upholstery, LED front headlamp clusters, smart keyless entry & start, power tilt panoramic sunroof, and premium audio system (11 speakers with 465 watts output). Executive grade models are also fitted with the Dynamic Damper Control system.

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Confusingly, the 1.5 litre VTEC TURBO hatchback model is offered in three grades: Sport, Sport Plus and Prestige, all of which are different to those available in the 1.0 litre range.

Sport models are equipped with 17-inch alloys, front & rear parking sensors, rear parking camera, the Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, dual zone air conditioning, LED headlamp clusters, twin centre exhaust outlets & a sports body kit that includes a chin spoiler, rear bumper spats & side garnishes. Sport Plus models add power tilt panoramic sunroof, Dynamic Damper Control, premium audio system (11 speakers with 465 watts output), smart keyless entry & start & a wireless charging pad in the centre console. The Prestige grade builds on the Sport grade (excluding twin centre exhaust outlets & sports body kit), adding chrome front grille & door handle finishes, leather upholstery & heated rear seats

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As my second ever company car back in 1990 was a Civic, third generation, I have seen the car grow in both popularity & size in the intervening years. I’ll admit to having a soft spot for the various Civic’s that have come since then. However, from a corporate perspective, Honda has seen fleet sales drop considerably over the past few years, primarily because of a lack of competitive engines between 2010 & 2016 & a chop & change policy of how the company would move forward with it’s corporate dealership network. Because of this, the new 1.0 & 1.5 unit’s have to quickly re-engage the UK fleet market to get Honda back the business they have lost in these “ghost years.”

The new model certainly looks striking. Regardless of whether you choose the 1.0 or 1.5 litre, this car looks good. The front & rear of the Civic almost mirror each other The front sports aggressive wrap around headlights merging into an all-black front grille. The rear features bulbous rear lights & a curved low slanting rear window.

Inside there is a change. The familiar “spaceship” Honda dashboard from the past two incarnations is gone, replaced by one that’s more conservative, with a mixture of soft touch plastics. It all works, looks functional & is easy to use & to understand, but I kind of missed the old Honda, who took the boring norm in most cars, put it in bag, shook it up a bit & produced something a little more interesting for the driver to inhale.

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The quality of the dash & controls is better than in previous Civics & leans towards that found in it’s mainstream competition. The seats are comfortable if a little bland & there’s more room in the cabin than there appears from the outside. The real bonus is with the boot. It’s a great size 478 litres, with a hidden compartment underneath the boot base. Fold the rear seats down and they lie flat making a truly ” IKEA fabulous ” load space of 1267 litres, way ahead of most of the competition.

On the road the new Civic is barely recognisable from its predecessor. New multi-link rear suspension means body control is good, while sitting in the driver & front passenger seat is very comfortable. It’s close to the ground as well. Although the new Civic is larger than the previous model, it’s 148mm longer & 29mm wider, it’s also 20mm lower, with a centre of gravity that has moved down 34mm. You do feel close to the road.

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Whilst most new models launched recently, have got lighter, the Civic is actually heavier, 91kg to be precise, than the Mk9 which undoubtedly harms fuel economy. This extra weight doesn’t though, spoil the driving fun. The steering is light, whilst the manual six-speed gear box is a beauty, with a short, slick change only enhancing the enjoyment. I also tested the CVT version’s & am pleased to say that Hondas latest version definitely cuts the mustard. The 1.0 litre CVT when accelerating does groans a little, whilst the 1.5 is definitely smoother & more enjoyable to use, the extra power on offer 182ps, compared to just 129ps in the 1.0 litre, is more noticeable in the CVT versions than in the manual.

The 1.0 litre manual 6-speed version will do everything that you want your car to do, within reason & is especially good on the motorway, once your’e up to speed. Two of us piloted it around Barcelona & Sitges & the 1.0 litre performed pretty well on al the types of roads we tried. The 1.5 like it’s CVT compatriot has more power & this is particularly noticeable when accelerating on the motorway. It also delivers this power more quietly, which is a consideration for some.

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As a company car driver or small fleet manager, what may sway you on your choice of engine size, are the fuel economy figures & CO2 emissions. CO2 & combined fuel consumption for the 1.0 litre VTEC TURBO S or SE are 110g/km & 58.9mpg. The CVT version is better; 106g/km & 60.1 mpg. Opt for the 1.5 VTEC TURBO & the figures drop off, to 48.7mpg with CO2’s of 133g/km for the manual & 46.3mpg & CO2’s of 139g/km for the CVT. These figures should push you towards the 1.0 litre versions & this is, in my opinion the right model to choose, with on the road prices of £18335 for the 1.0 litre manual S & £19735 for the CVT S. In comparison, the 1.5’s will set you back £22470 for the manual Sport & £23870 for the CVT Sport. That’s £4135 more than both the 1.0 litre manual & CVT S models.

So, in conclusion what do we have ? There’s no diesel, which all at Company Car believe is the way that the fleet market is going. Your choice then is either the 1.0 litre Civic, which offers great value for money, especially of you go with the entry level S or next up Comfort model, with decent mpg & emissions, or the more expensive 1.5 litre version, which is better equipped, faster & quieter but comes with the caveat of average fuel economy & emissions. If you want a 5 door family hatchback that offers practicality, good performance with acceptable fuel economy, then look no further then the 1.0 litre version of the Civic, which is my recommendation. I preferred the manual but as the CVT is more frugal you should not right it off. Whilst the Civic may lack the German badge & kudos that some say comes with that, in all the important areas particularly cost , safety & technology, it’s ” Top of the Pops .”

The Seven Samurai returns. 4/5.

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Category: Honda

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