Honda Civic


Debut: 2015
Maker: Honda
Predecessor: Civic Mk9



 Published on 14 Dec 2015
All rights reserved. 


Not many nameplates in the automotive industry have the luck to celebrate the 10th generation. Following Toyota Crown and Corolla, Honda Civic is the third to reach the milestone. For most of the last 43 years, Civic was reckoned as a forward-thinking and sporty-driving small car, a sharp contrast to arch-rival Corolla. In recent years, however, it became more conservative. The 9th generation Civic received only 3 stars in AutoZine rating, blame to its modest engines, numb steering and unremarkable styling. Favouring comfort more than driving pleasure, it was no longer the Civic we used to know.

Thanks to pendulum effect, the 10th generation Civic becomes avant-garde again. Look at these pictures! Its styling is a lot sharper and sportier! The angular design at nose and tail is so aggressive! Moreover, its body shape is finally right. One thing we didn’t like the last 2 generations was their wedge front, which gave a perception of minivan rather than Lamborghini. The new car gets not only a proper front but also pronounced flanks like classic sports cars, which makes it unusual among small family cars. Furthermore, its fastback shape looks a lot sleeker than the old car. Our only worry is whether the aggressive nose and tail withstand the test of time. For sure it won’t last as long as a Volkswagen Golf, but then the Civic’s lifecycle is relatively short at 4.5 to 5 years.



The new Civic also looks considerably larger than the old car, more like halfway between the old car and an Acura TSX. It is. Because it is now sitting on a platform that will be shared with the next generation Accord, it is able to stretch its length by 125 mm, width by 43 mm and wheelbase by 30 mm. The latter is now a class-leading 2700 mm. Admittedly, the sense of size is also exaggerated by its lower roof line, which drops by 20 mm. According to Honda, the extra dimensions created 91 liters of extra space in the cabin and 76 liters of luggage space. Rear passengers are benefited with 50 mm more legroom, and don’t forget the old car was already quite generous in this respect! The fact that it becomes more American-size than ever is not coincident, because its development is actually led by Honda America.

Inside, apart from more space, two things mark a big difference from the old car. The first is a more expansive forward visibility, thanks to a 40 mm lower windscreen cowl (base of windscreen) and thinner A-pillars, a result of abandoning the monospace design. The driver now sits 25 mm lower in the cabin yet can have a clearer view of the road ahead. Another is the dashboard design, which finally abandons the ergonomically unfriendly 2-tier structure that drew a lot of criticisms in the past 10 years. However, its ergonomics is still not perfect, because you have to use the 7-inch touchscreen to do simple things such as adjusting audio volume, which isn’t as easy to do as a rotary knob when the car is moving. On cheaper trims the Civic does offer such knobs, but then its screen is only 5-inch. As for build quality and materials, the new car gets a predictable upgrade, but the center console and transmission tunnel still look cheap. The angular and busy interior design does not help perception of quality, too.



Like the rest of the industry, the new Civic employs higher percentage of high-strength steel (up from 55 to 59 percent) and ultra-high-strength steel (up from merely 1 to 14 percent). This lifted its torsional rigidity by 23 percent yet lightening the monocoque body by 31 kg. The whole car is lighter by about the same amount. Thanks to more sophsticated crumple zone structure, the car can have a shorter front overhang to provide better impact absorption. This means most of its added length can be spent to the tail to increase luggage space. The aerodynamics is also improved. Total drag (CdA) is reduced by 15 percent, thanks in part to full underbody covers.

Suspensions remain to be struts at the front and multi-link at the rear, but they are heavily redesigned. The rear suspensions are now mounted on a very rigid sub-frame. Hydraulic bushings are adopted to improved ride comfort. Enhanced sealings and flush-mounted windscreen reduce cabin noise.

Under the bonnet, the base engine becomes a larger, 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC with 158 horsepower, 15 hp stronger than the old car’s 1.8 SOHC. It is a willing motor, providing old-school fun especially when it is mated with 6-speed manual. The latter’s gearchange might not be as slick and short as the best Honda manual boxes, but it is far more engaging than the alternative CVT. 0-60 mph can be accomplished in a brisk 8.0 seconds, which is very good for an affordable small family car. Civic drivers can be proud again.



Unexpectedly, the premium engine is “Earth Dream” 1.5 i-VTEC direct-injection turbo. Honda’s first small turbo engine produces a respectable 174 horsepower and 162 lbft of torque from 1800 to 5500 rpm. It gives the Civic a stronger mid-range punch for overtaking and a more relaxed manner at urban speed. However, it displays a hint more turbo lag at low revs than the best European small turbo motors, say, Ford 1.5 Ecoboost or Volkswagen 1.4 TSI. Moreover, the compulsory CVT it employs tends to drone the engine unpleasantly under hard acceleration, which amplifies the turbocharged engine’s coarse exhaust note. Furthermore, the CVT lacks manual override thus you can’t dictate it behavior.

On the road, the new Civic demonstrates improved refinement and comfort through its effective sound insulation, solid chassis and compliant ride. Meanwhile, some of its traditional lightness and agility have returned. It has body roll well checked. The nose turns in quickly, and understeer is well suppressed. The new variable-ratio electrical power steering reacts much faster than the old one, with lock-to-lock reduced from 3.1 to merely 2.2 turns. That said, despite of its dual-pinion design, the steering still lacks true communication. On the straight ahead position it is virtually muted, not giving the driver any sense of engagement. This prevents it from threatening Mazda 3 or Ford Focus for handling. However, its stronger sense of space, comfort and refinement could give it an advantage in the eyes of most family car buyers. More important, this 10th generation does not alienate the fans of Civic anymore. It returns to the right track finally.
Verdict:
 Published on 7 Mar 2016 All rights reserved. 
Civic Coupe


Sedan-based affordable coupe is a dying breed. USA is the only place buying such cars in large quantity, yet that market is also shrinking quickly. Detroit manufacturers have abandoned it altogether – do you remember just a decade or two ago they were still producing Ford Escort ZX2, Dodge Neon R/T Coupe, Saturn SC, Ion Quad Coupe and Chevy Cobalt Coupe? Now their smart money turns to build small SUV crossovers. Ditto Ford Europe (which killed Puma), Opel (Astra Coupe), Renault (Megane Coupe), Mini (Mini Coupe), Hyundai (Tiburon and Elantra Coupe) and Toyota (Levin, Celica and the latest casualty, Scion tC). Today, only 2 cars survive in the segment, i.e. Kia Forte Koup and Honda Civic Coupe. I am quite surprised that Honda is still investing into a new generation Civic coupe despite of the dim prospect.

The new 2-door Civic does not deviate from the established formula. It is affordable, practical and accommodative (for a coupe). Although it shares exactly the same front end with the Civic sedan, its sloping fastback looks more handsome. While the last generation looked like a pig, it looks far more athletic, being sleeker, lower and wider. Sharp crease lines and angular lights demonstrate an aggressive character not found in any previous Civics.

Meanwhile, the interior is surprisingly light and airy, unlike many modern coupes, thanks to relatively large windows. The swoopy fastback does not rob a lot of headroom, leaving enough space for sub-6-footers. Rear legroom is also aplenty, thanks to the fact that it keeps the sedan’s 2700 mm wheelbase. Up front, the driver enjoys a supportive front seat. The dashboard design and sense of quality is disappointing, as in the Civic 4-door. However, there are plenty of kits and safety features.



Predictably, the coupe employs the same powertrains as the sedan, i.e. 158 hp 2.0 i-VTEC mated with 6-speed manual or 175 hp 1.5 i-VTEC Turbo paired with CVT. Although the latter’s thicker torque hence stronger performance and flexibility is appreciated, the rubber-band effect of CVT robs it of ultimate driving pleasure. This means, enthusiastic drivers should stick with the cheaper powertrain, which revs higher, responds quicker to throttle and sings with a satisfying mechanical noise, just as a good fast Civic should. Its manual gearbox comes with a light clutch, slick and crisped gearshift, a sharp contrast to the uninspiring CVT. The base Civic coupe needs almost 8 seconds to sprint from 0-60 mph, not exactly a hot coupe, but then it is not supposed to be an Si or Type R. As a more personal-oriented alternative to Civic sedan, its mechanical package is well judged.

Apart from performance, the ride and handling is also similar to the Civic 4-door, which is not a shame considering how much the latest generation has improved upon the last one. First of all, its chassis is a lot stiffer, and insulation is much enhanced. Some models even get hydraulic bushings at rear suspensions. The result is a very refined ride, like Volkswagen Golf. The suspension setup is said to be stiffer than the sedan, but the difference is not obvious. This means it is still slightly biased towards the comfort side. Nevertheless, the handling is by no means poor. The 2.2-turn steering is quick enough to inspire excitement, although its average feedback isn’t. The body control, roadholding and braking are up to the task, if not as good as a European hot hatch. At the limit, the Civic coupe understeers, just like its sedan sibling. Mind you, keen drivers should be better served by a proper hot hatch or the forthcoming Type R coupe. However, if you want the coupe look without sacrificing the comfort, convenience and value for money of the Civic sedan, this one is perfect for you.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)

0-100 mph (sec)
Civic 2.0
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4630 / 1798 / 1415 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1996 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
-
-
158 hp
138 lbft
6-speed manual or CVT
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
215/55R16
1245 kg (M) / 1270 kg (CVT)
127 mph (est)
M: 7.8**
CVT: 8.2*
CVT: 22.1*
Civic 1.5T
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4630 / 1798 / 1415 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1496 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
174 hp
162 lbft
CVT
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
215/50R17
1317 kg
135 mph (est)
6.8* / 7.2**

17.7*




























Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Civic Coupe 2.0
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4495 / 1798 / 1395 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1996 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
-
-
158 hp
138 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
215/55R16
1232 kg
127 mph (est)
7.6* / 7.8**
20.7*
Civic Coupe 1.5T
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4495 / 1798 / 1395 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1496 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
174 hp
162 lbft
CVT
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
215/50R17
1307 kg
135 mph (est)
6.6*
16.9*



























Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





AutoZine Rating

Civic Sedan


Civic Coupe



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