I spent a week with the updated Honda Civic sedan. Can it keep up in a market that has continually moving goalposts?
Honda Civic Sedan IntroducedThe Civic has been the bread-and-butter model for Honda for many years and each new model, somehow seems to offer more value, more practicality yet becomes more efficient. It’s a good theory but what happens when a vehicle simply cannot be improved upon no more? Sadly, for the Honda Civic sedan, that time is approaching but luckily, this latest Civic isn’t a downgrade from the previous model.
Honda Civic Sedan powerplantLet’s start with the engine. The good old 1.8-litre four cylinder VTEC is retained, however with some minor tweaks and refinement, power and torque are on the up while emissions and consumption are on the down. Power, for the record, is now rated at 104kW and torque at 174Nm. It doesn’t sound like much but, for a 1.8 at the coast, the Civic actually performs surprisingly well. In true Honda fashion, it does need a healthy dose of revs but before you know it, you’re cruising past the national highway speed limit. The power is definitely there, it just doesn’t feel like it has it! Fuel consumption is impressive too. The trip computer was reading just under 8L/100km and my driving was mostly in stop/start traffic.
Honda Civic Sedan stylingIt’s not a bad looking vehicle either. Unlike some sedans which are about as cutting edge as Tupperware in the design stakes, the Honda Civic sedan actually has some shape and definition to it. Look, there’s no denying that there’s a bit of a Toyota Camry rear but it’s still a Honda through and through. The sedan does look a little sporty which I think counts in its favour.
Honda Civic Sedan build qualityHonda prides itself on interior quality and practicality. Throughout the Honda range, each product feels well-built, solid and dependable. Think of it as the product being made to last. The Honda Civic sedan is no different and previous versions have always given the owners the impression that they’re buying something that is upmarket and decent. Sadly this new Civic, despite boasting a fantastic specification level, feels a little on the cheap side. It’s only really noticeable on the dash and personally, I can understand Honda’s thinking. It, like most car manufacturers, has money and sales to think about. In the current economic climate, people crave value for money and saving a few Rands here and there is what it’s all about.
Honda Civic Sedan featuresNow forget cost-cutting measures for a moment and be prepared to be bowled over by what the Civic has to offer in terms of features. I had the Executive model which comes standard with leather seats, leather multifunction steering wheel, cruise control with limiter, automatic climate control, hill start assist, tyre monitoring system and a Bluetooth/MP3 radio with iPod connectivity. It’s all packaged in one cleverly laid out setup too with the speedometer being situated right up close to the windscreen. I found that I barely needed to take my eyes off the road and was able to read my speed clearly.
The dashboard readout has the same system used by Honda’s range of hybrids where as you drive, the colours change in relation to your driving style. Green is, well green and economical where blue is the “bad” colour and you need to ease off the accelerator. It’s clever and encourages you to drive economically.
It is safe too and boasts some smart technology to keep the car on the road. Vehicle Stability Assist helps reduce the effects of oversteer and understeer on slippery surfaces. If the worst happens, you can rely on the multitude of airbags around the cabin.
Honda Civic Sedan - ConclusionSo it has a decent engine, has plenty of gadgets and gizmos, and has the fabled Honda reliability and dependability. It also has impressive rear legroom and a decent boot which can swallow two sets of golf clubs. Honda’s Civic, at R269 900, will get all the ticks from fans of the brand but I get a feeling that if I were in the market for a smart sedan, I’d be getting better value from something like theHyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS. Still, the Honda brand is a strong one and that alone will sway many.
Honda Civic Sedan price in South AfricaThe Honda Civic Sedan retails for R269 900.
We like: · Honda reliability · Spaciousness · Strong engine · Light on fuel
We don’t like: · Interior feels cheep · Sedan looks a little bland
Honda Civic Sedan 1.8 specifications
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol Power: 104 kW @ 6 500 rpm Torque: 174 N.m @ 4 300 rpm Transmission: five-speed manual Wheels: 16-inch 0-100 km/h: 9.1 seconds (claimed) Fuel economy: 6.7l/100km (claimed combined cycle)