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Honda Civic – Return of the king

Honda Civic – Return of the king

Snapshot: The Civic brand returns to India after a hiatus of over five years. Can the Civic revive sales of the executive sedan segment?

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Executive sedans might be as popular as bell bottoms right now but Honda is sure that with the arrival of the Civic, its sedan line-up is complete. Right from the relatively affordable Amaze and City sedans (which sell in good numbers) to the posh and upmarket Accord, Honda has a sedan for every need.

The Civic should bolster Honda’s traditional strengths of solid engineering, fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive sedans. Honda hopes that all these traits should help it get some footfalls into showrooms along with the solid looks of the Civic but more on that later.

Honda Civic exteriors

Honda knows that the earlier Civic launched in 2006, still looks relatively modern and up-to-date even today. So the new Civic had to stand out and look striking for sure. The new Civic delivers on this front. Unlike its rivals, the Skoda Octavia and Toyota Corolla Altis, there is nothing restrained about the looks of this Civic. The car with its huge chrome grille, heavily sculpted bumper and sharply styled lamps is sure to turn plenty of heads wherever it goes. The LED strips in the headlamps give it a nice touch too. The sloping roof at the back though is the key highlight of the design and something that you will appreciate when you view the car from the side on profile. The rear end is also a mix of shapes and designs with the C-shaped rear lamps giving it a nice and sporty touch. Overall, it is a sporty silhouette and one that looks radically different from anything else on the road.

Honda Civic interiors

Practical, comfortable and feature laden, that’s the best way to define the Civic’s cabin in one line. It comes loaded with tech as well as features and offers good comfort too. Buyers will notice the low set seats, which give it a sporty feel. The seats are comfortable and even taller passengers with long legs will enjoy under-thigh support both in the front and at the back. What rear seat occupants will also like is the amount of legroom on offer. The generous width of the car also makes it a nice car for three abreast at the back. What tall passengers won’t appreciate though is the sloping roofline at the back. If you are over six feet tall, then your head is sure to brush against the roof in the back.

The front seats offer loads of comfort. Honda has given the Civic a cockpit like theme. The prominent centre console separates the driver and occupant giving you a sense of an airliner cockpit. In terms of features, you get a sunroof, ABS, airbags as well as electronic hand-brake and hill climb assist. You also get lane warning system, and a smart key which starts the car from outside if you are at a distance of 10 metres.

Engine, performance and gearbox

Honda will offer two engines with the Civic. A 1.8-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel. The petrol is the pick of the range if you want refinement as well as performance. It feels lively from the word go and delivers strong performance. It is so quiet that if you are at a signal you might just switch the start/stop button on again thinking the engine is shut. Honda engines are known for their rev happy nature and it’s no different with the 1.8-litre unit. Honda has oddly decided to give only a CVT-auto with this engine. The gearbox can be used via paddle-shifters behind the wheel, which offer a great sense of involvement. Honda claims fuel economy of 16.5kpl for the petrol.

The diesel engine is high on economy with Honda claiming 26.8kpl for it. This engine though needs atleast 2,000 revs to get going and isn’t as silent as the petrol unit. Still power delivery is good and the manual six-speed gearbox is a joy to use. The extra sixth gear gives the car good flexibility on the highway, making it a nice and relaxing car for highway trips.

Ride and handling

The earlier Civic was a nice car for keen drivers and this one takes the game further. The crisp steering, agile chassis and well-tuned suspension ensures that you will be grinning from ear-to-ear when you push the Civic around a race track or up the hills. The suspension feels stable on the highway and eve at slower speeds manages to absorb the bumps with minimum fuss. The steering is direct and has plenty of feel as well.

Summary

The Civic comes across as a fun to drive, comfortable and good looking sedan that offers a premium cabin and posh image. Being a Honda means that reliability will be good as will resale values. We give it a strong 90 out of 100.

Photographer: Mohd. Nasir

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