Honda Civic first drive review
The Civic is, and it has been the Japanese automaker’s best-selling product in the globe for more than a decade. Back in 2006, Honda decided to bring the eighth-generation of the Civic in India and it was so impressive that some people are still holding onto that model.
It was really a premium car – the snazzy exterior, well-proportionate stance and acres of room inside the cabin made it one of the most desirable cars in the segment.
Come 2019, and Honda has marked the return of the 10th generation Civic in India. And at a time when cars are not selling as much as they should, especially sedans, the Civic aims to recondition the executive sedan segment. Ask why? Well, the 10th generation comes with a diesel option – the lack of which was a grief for the original and a petrol CVT, which Honda claims that their decision of withholding the petrol-manual is based on a market survey. Does it live up to our expectations? We’ll have to wait and see.
Coupe or Sedan?
I can talk about the design all day long! Edgy, radical and modern is what describes the design of the Civic in a nutshell. And out on the road, it certainly turns heads too!
One thing we noticed in our Honda Civic review, the India-spec model has been raised a few millimetres and it doesn’t affect the sporty stance of the Civic. The bonnet’s raised contour on either side to comply with the upcoming pedestrian norms.
At the front, there’s the signature Honda grille that seamlessly connects the full LED headlamps. On the side profile, it gets coupe-like roofline and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, which in my opinion look absolutely dapper. At the back though, the roofline flows neatly onto the C-pillar and then pours over the tail lamps – unmistakably striking!
The interior albeit is not as exciting or radical as the exterior. Honda has used an all-black treatment for the dashboard, but it is fairly simple looking, which is not something you expect from a car in this segment. What I didn’t like though, are the finicky steering controls.
Don’t get me wrong, the steering feels amazing to hold, but the quality of the controls, which seems to be borrowed from the Amaze feels hard in operation and less plush. But then there are features like a lane-watch camera, a decent touchscreen and automatic brake hold that does wonders for the Civic. In our time drafting the Honda Civic review, we found the seats to be extremely supportive and comfortable.
Does it drive like a Honda?
The Civic comes with two engine and gearbox options – a 1.8-litre i-VTEC motor that pushes out 140bhp and 174Nm of torque mated to a CVT transmission and a 1.6-litre diesel heart that is capable of churning out 118bhp and 300Nm of maximum torque.
What’s very unusual albeit, is the omission of the petrol-manual drivetrain. As a matter of fact, the previous generation of the Civic was a hoot to drive. The i-VTEC motor revved freely and performed generously well throughout the rev band. Paired to a CVT gearbox, we don’t expect the same level of performance from the tenth generation Civic, to say the least. In our Civic review, we drove the latter.
On paper, 118bhp looks shy for an executive sedan and it’s evident out on the tarmac. Right from the get-go, the engine responds smoothly on light throttle inputs and once you get past the turbo lag, the power delivery is quite impressive.
Being a Honda, the engine revs freely but once you are past that sweet mid-range, the loud diesel-clatter dampens the driving experience. In my opinion, it’s better to upshift slightly below the 4,000rpm mark.
We did take on some twisty hill section during our Civic review, and I am happy to report that the steering weighs up nicely and provides ample feedback while darting into sharp corners.
As for the ride quality, the engineers at Honda went to great lengths to ensure the suspension can dismiss the bad Indian roads. And in all honesty, they have done a brilliant job at it.
The suspension carpets through bad roads pretty easily and the added ground clearance ensure that you don’t have to worry about scraping the underbelly as in the case of its predecessor.
Should you get one?
The automotive era has shifted towards SUVs. For what is worth they offer a dose of practicality and an excellent road presence. At a time when the industry is suffering from sluggish sales, Honda plans to change the game with the Civic.
With the refreshed design, a roomy interior and powertrain options that are well suited for Indian buyers, the Civic does have a lot riding for it. Let’s just hope the notchback design works well for the Indian buyers. To read our comprehensive Honda Civic review and to watch our take on the executive sedans, be sure to tune in to autoX.