After showing its skin for the first time last month, we finally know all about the tenth-generation Honda Civic, including details of the new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine which sent everyone into a frenzy. Getting to know the entire vehicle will take a few breaths, but trust us, the new Civic will definitely be worth your next ten minutes.
For a start, the Civic model is Honda’s longest-running nameplate (since 1973) and makes for the company’s largest chunk of profits. The outgoing Civic didn’t quite enjoy the wild success of its predecessor – the FD series, but it’s for that reason alone that they’ve decided to give everything they have to orchestrate the same tune of success. Enter the 2016 Honda Civic – all new, all better and all prepared to clinch the C-Segment top spot.
It’s the most ambitious and comprehensive new-model development by Honda, one that took an unprecedented commitment of R&D resources. Honda’s North American team led the design front, but inputs from other parts of the country were also taken into account. In taking things up a notch, the benchmarking process involved comparing cars within its native segment, but this time Honda pitted the new Civic against compact luxury class vehicles from Europe for its ride, handling, steering and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) qualities. In fact, the Civic’s interior quality and refinement was also benchmarked against upmarket cars!
Everything you see (and don’t see) on the 2016 Civic is new; the chassis, styling, features and technologies as well as the all-encompassing turbocharged powertrain. Design wise, it’s the slipperiest Civic to date thanks to aerodynamic packaging which includes a full-flat underbody panel. The acoustic glass windscreen functions by isolating noise while promoting smooth airflow.
There are subtle hints of the outgoing Civic FB in terms of exterior packaging, but to one-up its looks like this will boggle the minds of even the most skilled plastic surgeons. That aside, notable exterior features comprise of full LED headlights with integrated LED Daytime Running Lights, LED turn signals, LED tail lights, Smart Wipers and Rain-sensing Wipers, remote engine start, smart entry with push-start ignition, capless fuelling system (push to release) and Honda LaneWatch.
Finishing off the exterior are two wheel sizes – 16 and 17-inch alloys. The smaller wheel gets wrapped in 215/55 R16 profile tyres and the larger wheel is shod with 215/50 R17 rubbers. No 18-inch or bigger wheels here folks, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how well the wheel design complements the new Civic’s looks. You guys are already pre-ordering that set of Vossen wheels, haven’t you?
Fortunately this time, the good stuff also continues inside. It’s far more spacious than before, offering better headroom, legroom, shoulder clearance and side head clearance. The A-pillars are thinner to facilitate improved visibility, and the entire instrument panel is redesigned to give the driver and front passenger an additional 27mm of legroom.
Depending on the variant of choice, the seats are either wrapped in fabric or leather and they both can be had in beige, black or grey colours. Range toppers will benefit from an 8-way power adjustable driver seat and 4-way front passenger seat. Higher trims also get a 7-inch colour TFT screen built into the instrument cluster, while the centre dash features another 7-inch touchscreen display audio with customisable feature settings. The more advanced head unit supports Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto and satellite-linked navigation.
The lowest spec Civic will settle for just four speakers, while the rest either get the 180-Watt 8-speakers audio system or 450-Watt premium audio system with 10-speakers including a subwoofer. Next to the gear lever are controls for the ECON driving mode, brake hold assist and electronic parking brake. Other features include dual-zone climate controls, power outlets for charging mobile devices and heated seats.
This is where things get a little bit more interesting. Gone is the 1.8-litre SOHC engine, and taking place as the base engine is a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder engine paired to either a six-speed manual or CVT gearboxes. This port-injected four banger makes 158 hp at 6,500 rpm and 187 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm and operates with a compression ratio of 10.8:1. Drive is sent to the front wheels only, so no all-wheel drive option here.
In the other corner is the starlet of the show – a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This makes a respectable 174 hp at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 revolutions. Sadly, this engine will only be matched to a CVT gearbox. No conventional automatic, no manual transmission. It’s also cleaner and fuel efficient, thanks to direct injection technology. Compared to the naturally aspirated mill, this forced inducted engine runs on a slightly lower compression ratio of 10.6:1. To leverage on the power, the CVT has a longer final gear ratio for better cruising fuel efficiency which is officially rated at 6.7 litres per 100km.
In the handling department, Honda claims the new Civic outclasses its mainstream opponents and matches that of luxury C-Segment products. We’re not sure if this is a blatant case of air headedness, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. To achieve this, the Civic gets a revised multi-link rear suspension mounted to a more rigid frame. All suspensions bushings are hydraulic and help soak up road vibrations.
Just like before, the front axle is suspended by MacPherson struts. A pair of front and rear stabiliser bars help induce confidence when throwing the car into the bends, and stopping power is aided by four disc brakes. One important fact to take note of is that the new Civic sits lower to the ground (by 14mm), lowering its centre of gravity. Other key features in this regard include Agile Handling Assist (works via brake vectoring) and Straight Driving Assist; the latter automatically makes the steering wheel less twitchy while cruising. Its electric power steering is new and requires 2.2 turns from lock-to-lock compared to the previous 3.1.
It’s hard not to be impressed with how much the Civic has progressed by now, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more. In the safety dept, the Civic can be equipped with Honda Sensing – the company’s full range of safety and driver-assistive technologies. If this box is ticked, you’ll get Collision Mitigating Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist System and Adaptive Cruis Control with Low Speed Follow.
This is on top of passive safety features such as Brake Assist, four-channel ABS with EBD, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and Honda LaneWatch. It’s also rated very highly in many crash tests, thanks to extensive use of high-strength steel.
There’s a total of nine exterior colours to choose from, with four of them being new ones – Luna Silver Metallic, Aegean Blue Metallic, Cosmic Blue Metallic and Burgundy Night Pearl. Again, three interior colours are available for choice, and they are beige, black and grey. Prices in the United States start from USD18,640 (that’s about RM80k at press time) for the base model to USD26,500 (equals to RM112k) for the range topping trim. Seeing how well equipped the new Civic is, one can only image its pricing position when it reaches Malaysian soil. That said, if we go by sheer estimates, it’ll come close or even eclipse the base model Honda Accord!