Sunday February 10, 2013
Sold on the Civic
By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
Make way, a new head-turner is on the road.
FANS of the Honda will find it hard to hold back their excitement if theyíve already seen the ninth-generation Civic being driven on local roads.
We had a chance to try out the mid-spec version, one of three variants.
Step back and assess its form, and you will find the Civic 2.0S quite a stunner.
Compared with its predecessor, the latest Civic actually has a shorter wheelbase of 2,670mm (which has been trimmed by about 30mm) and a shorter body of 4,525mm (down 15mm).
A shorter wheelbase generally means rear passenger legroom may be lacking, but surprisingly, there was no such space constraints when we sat at the back.
The carís width and height remained unchanged. That meant front and rear headroom was just fine.
Honda has injected a premium feel to the cabin with all-leather upholstery.
The new 2.0S sports sharp high intensity discharge (HID) headlights that is matched by a premium front bumper and grille with front fog lights.
The sporty 17-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels and stylish back lights further accentuate the agreeable new look thatís decidedly sexy and sporty.
Power-wise, the engine on the new Civic is unchanged from the one before.
The 2.0-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine is capable of generating up to 155PS at 6,500rpm and has a torque of 190Nm at 4,300rpm, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
However, according to Honda, the engines on the new Civic do come with some internal revisions and upgrades.
Fuel economy looks to be the name of the game now, as the Civicís 2.0-litre engine is said to have an improved mileage of 12.8km per-litre.
The frugal fuel consumption is also enhanced via improved body aerodynamics, reduced brake drag at all speeds, more efficient automatic transmission operation and the incorporation of electric power steering.
On top of this, all new Civic models now come with an ďEconĒ button located on the dashboard. Once activated, accelerator pedal response, air conditioning and other relevant systems are tweaked to boost fuel economy.
And then thereís the new ambient meter on the dash (where the speedometer is) which is colour-coded to help you drive more efficiently.
The meter turns blue to indicate that youíre not driving economically, while green signifies fuel-efficient driving.
However, donít think that because of all these eco-themed features, the 2.0S will be more likely to purr (rather than roar) when you step on the throttle!
Personally, I liked the engine response. It was responsive and smooth, comparable to other 2.0-litre marques out there. Acceleration was strong and robust.
Sports enthusiasts will be glad to know that changing gears via the paddle shifters feels smooth and responsive.
I preferred to go full-auto most of the time.
With MacPherson struts upfront and multi-links holding up the rear, the suspension was able to minimise the impact of going into potholes and over bumps, even at higher than usual speeds.
Convenience is a smart entry key with push-start button Ė you can avoid fumbling for the keys inside your pockets when approaching the car and get right in especially after a shopping trip when you have both hands full.
Located on the dash is an intelligent multi-information display that tells you information such as drive and audio information, as well as vehicle warning messages.
Those who want to be a little different will be happy to know that one can also customise the colour and even add his own wallpaper to the screen Ė all of which can be done by toggling buttons on the steering wheel.
The 2.0S comes with cruise control which can be activated via a button on the steering wheel and the paddle shifters that are located behind the steering wheel.
Rigged for safety, the 2.0S has crucial bits such as vehicle stability assist with electronic power steering that allows the driver to stay in control when driving in unexpected situations or during tight cornering.
At RM131,980 (on-the-road, with insurance), a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage completes the icing on the Civic 2.0S.