The All-New 2016 Honda Civic Goes Turbo
The all-new 10th Generation Honda Civic is now officially open for bookings at all Honda sales outlets in Malaysia, and if you are a Honda fan, now is the time to sign up for one, or else, like all Honda new cars, you may have to wait a long time in line to get yours. The launch date is set for ‘sometime in the second quarter’, and I believe we could see it as early as the second week of June 2016.
The 10th Generation Honda Civic has a fresh new look that is more elegant, and more coupe-like with a new C-Pillar design. The front mask is more upright, and with new dimensions, the new Civic is longer, wider and lower.
There will be two main variants, the top of the range being the 1.5 litre turbocharged model, and my guess is that there will be perhaps two levels of trim for this model, plus a 1.8 litre naturally aspirated model, with lower specifications as the entry level Civic. It does sound strange to have a smaller capacity engine model as the top-of-the-range model, but this is because the 1.5 litre turbo actually develops more power than the 1.8 litre non-turbo unit. Down-sizing to smaller capacity engines is a global trend now amongst automotive makers to increase fuel efficiency.
The new Civic has grown in terms of length and width, while standing lower – the result is a sleeker-looking machine, and the coupe-like rendition to the side profile gives it a sporty look. The wheelbase has been increased by 30 mm to 2,700 mm, which is the industry standard for C segment cars. Width has increased by 24 mm to 1,799 mm, while the Civic sits 20 mm lower than the outgoing model at 1,415 mm. Overall length has been extended to 4,630 mm, an increase of 105 mm over the outgoing Civic. Compared to the current Corolla Altis, the new Honda Civic is 10 mm longer, 24 mm wider, and 45 mm lower, while having exactly the same wheelbase of 2,700 mm.
The highlight of the new 1.5 litre VTEC is that it now produces more power than the current 2.0 litre top-of-the-range Civic. Whilst the current 2.0 litre Civic produces 155 horses and 190Nm of torque, the new 1.5 litre turbo-charged engine produces 173 horses and delivers 220Nm of torque.
Across the board, the new Honda Civic will have six airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). Depending on options, we will also see keyless entry, push-button start, and a new feature, remote start, which allows the owner to start the engine from up to 40 metres away. If the air-conditioner is left switched on prior to leaving the car, this will allow the car to cool down on a hot day. The doors remain locked while this feature is in operation.
Some of us motoring media has the opportunity to do a short test drive of the new Honda Civic in Thailand, and I found the new car interesting. We drove both the 1.5 litre turbocharged and the 1.8 litre naturally aspirated models. The 1.8 litre model retains the current 1.8 litre SIHC i-VTEC engine that produces 143 horses with a re-tuned ECU (Engine Control Unit).
Across all models, the transmission is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) – however, the CVT of the turbo-charged model has different tuning parameters to provide a ‘sporty’ performance. What we drove were the Thailand spec cars, and there are some differences – the turbo has paddles shifters, which we think will be also found in the Malaysian model, while the 1.8 litre model did not have any. Whether the 1.8 will get the paddle shifters is anybody’s guess, but I think that there is a high possibility that it will not, for cost reasons.
The 1.5 turbo from Thailand also sported a black grille, which actually looks quite good, but we are told the Malaysian models will only get the chrome grilles. From the looks of it, the turbocharger unit for the 1.5 litre engine looks like a ‘booster’ turbo, to help make more horsepower without sacrificing fuel economy. On the drive, I found the 1.5 turbo quite adequate in its power, compared to the 1.8 litre naturally aspirated engine. The acceleration is not of the nature that would push you back into the seat, but it is equivalent to that of a 2.4 litre engine.
During the test run that lasted from the morning through to the evening we covered approximately 300 kilometres, and despite some hard driving, the 1.5 litre turbo returned an average fuel consumption of 10.1 kilometres per litre, which is highly respectable. In the hands of the average driver who drives within the speed limits, a number of around 12 to 14 kilometres per litre can be expected. Whilst I am not a real fan of CVT’s, it is undeniable that this transmission does contribute greatly to the excellent fuel economy.
Overall handling is good, with 4-wheel independent suspension. Brakes are good, with ventilated front discs and solid discs at the rear. On the twisty roads between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the Civic was great fun to drive. With the new-found power, overtaking was a cinch, and I really appreciate the shorter TED (Time Exposed to Danger) when overtaking on the trunk roads. The new Civic comes with Brake Hold (the system automatically engages the brakes when you come to a stop, a feature that prevents your civic from rolling forward or backwards anytime you come to a stop), and also an electronic parking brake. Most people would welcome the electronic parking brake, but I am old school, preferring a manual parking brake with the traditional hand-brake lever.
All things said and done, based on what we saw and experienced with regard to the new Honda Civic, it will be a great success in the C segment – with its fresh new looks, and the legacy of the Honda brand success, engines with good power, a comfortable and roomy interior, great fuel economy, plus variants to suit different pocketbooks, one couldn’t ask for anything more. Now all we have to do is to wait for the price announcements during launch.