The Honda Civic has been one of the longest selling Japanese cars in the world. However, Honda Seil chose to bring the Civic to India only after it had established its brand image with the City and the Accord. So what we have here is the eighth generation model that came here in 2006 with a facelift treatment in 2009. Ever since its launch, the car has been one of the best sellers in its segment, thanks to the proven Honda reliability.
Design and Features
The Civic, though four years old now, still looks fresh, futuristic and aggressive. The aerodynamic shape has lent the car, a lot of curves, right from the bonnet to the shoulder line and the boot. While the first iteration of the Civic get curvy, eye shaped headlights, the facelift model is fitted with a more angular unit. The car sports an astonishingly thin radiator grille which incorporates a chrome lining and the Honda ’H’ logo. Depending on the variant, you get oval fog lamps on the new model; whereas the older model housed larger, trapezoidal units. The aerodynamic shape has also given the car a huge windshield which, coupled with the slim A-pillar contributes towards better visibility. The inclusion of wipers which are unconventional mounted on either ends on the windshield are a welcome change and one of the radical and defining design elements of the Civic. The tail end of the Civic gets a high boot lid, with chrome garnish coming in the form of the ’H’, ’Civic’ and applicable variant lettering emblems. While the older model had large round taillights, the newer version has hexagonal units albeit in the similar arrangement.
The interiors of the Civic set it apart from the rest of the cars in its segment. The large swooping dashboard and a blue-black combination backlit digital instrumentation give the car a futuristic feel. The three spoke steering wheel feels sporty and the inclusion of paddle shifters on the AT variant add to the sportiness of the car. The same steering wheel has made it onto the Honda City as well, but unlike the City, the Civic’s unit misses out on audio controls, which is a disappointment for a car that costs over 10-lakh rupees. The dashboard is finished in a steel-grey and beige two-tone combination and houses within it a CD/MP3 player with USB support. The older model on the other hand came with a 6-CD changer. The backlit tachometer and a digital speedometer, unconventionally mounted atop the dashboard, remain same in both, the old and the new models. Other features include a dead paddle for AT variant, ABS, airbags etc. which are standard on most cars in this segment.
Drivability and Comfort
The Civic is known to be a driver’s car. However, in a bid to make the car comfortable on India roads, the Civic has met the same fate as most of the other Hondas like the City and the Accord. Most Honda cars in India come fitted with a soft suspension to tackle the Indian road condition and this takes a toll on the handling. Yes, being a Honda the Civic will stay focused to the line you intend to take, but the soft suspension setup leads to unnerving body roll while making enthusiastic steering maneuvers. Furthermore, the rear suspension of the car is so soft that it is often claimed to bottom out under heavy steering or heavy load. The newer version isn’t any better in this regard. The low ground clearance coupled with the soft suspension poses to be a threat to the underbody if you encounter the ridiculously miscalculated speed-breakers in our country. However, take the Civic onto a well laid highway and the car feels at home. It’s extremely stable even at high speeds, thanks to its aerodynamic shape. The soft suspension offers a plush ride even on the uneven concrete highways that are becoming popular in India.
Seating-wise, the Civic can comfortably seat five adults without a hassle. The flat floor imparts equal comfort even to the centre passenger for the backseat, thanks to the absence of a protruding transmission tunnel. However the low seating of the car can make life difficult while getting in and out of the car. Inclusion of audio control for the rear bench is an added advantage, should you decide to hire a chauffer. Overall, the Civic offers a plush ride for back benchers, but if you are buying the car for some enthusiastic driving, we recommend a suspension upgrade.
The Civic employs a 1.8-litre i-VTEC powerplant which puts out 131 bhp of power and 172 Nm torque. Thanks to the VTEC gadgetry, the Civic can sprint from a naught to 100 km/h in a little under 10 seconds and a capable top speed of 220 km/h. And for the weight and performance figures the Civic boats of, it returns commendable fuel efficiency figures between 9-10 kmpl.
The Civic competes with the Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Skoda Laura and the VW Jetta in terms of price, features and creature comforts. And though it poses well against all its competitors, the lack of a diesel option is starting to work against it in the long run.