All-New Honda Civic Drive Review: Impresses In Its New Avatar

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2019 Honda Civic has been comprehensively reviewed by us explaining everything you should consider while trying to buy one

It has been a season of nostalgic nameplates returning to India with manufacturers bringing back evocative models and Honda wants to be right in the middle of it. It has resurrected a car which has cult following for years and after more than 6 years of absence, the all-new Civic has finally come back.

Sold in more than 170 countries, the Civic is the longest-running nameplate for nearly five decades and the largest selling model for Honda worldwide. It has big shoes to fill considering the vaunted characteristics of the eighth generation model that had jaw-dropping sporty performance and an interior way ahead of its time.

The prices of the 2019 Honda Civic start from Rs. 17.69 lakh for the V CVT petrol variant and it goes all the way up to Rs. 22.29 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom) for the range-topping diesel ZX diesel MT.

2019 Honda Civic Prices Ex-showroom (Pan India)
New Honda Civic V CVT Petrol Rs. 17.69 Lakh
New Honda Civic VX CVT Petrol Rs. 19.19 Lakh
New Honda Civic ZX CVT Petrol Rs. 20.99 Lakh
New Honda Civic VX MT Diesel Rs. 20.49 Lakh
New Honda Civic ZX MT Diesel Rs. 22.29 Lakh

The 10th generation Civic is described as the most ambitious new car product development ever undertaken by Honda and it has been significant in the brand selling more than 2.5 crore units across the globe. Will it live up to the expectations of its predecessor and create a new swag of its own? Let’s us find out right here!

Exterior – Compelling And Grows On You

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Ever since the new generation Civic debuted at the 2018 Auto Expo just over a year ago, its exterior has been a key point of discussion. While it can be said that the design is a big departure from the model that was on sale previously. You cannot help but identify the subtle similarities like the low roofline and the wide track with muscular lines.

The D-segment sedan has a striking front fascia accentuated by the wideness of the profile and the bonnet with raising shoulders. The thick chrome grille occupies the major portion up front housing the Honda badge and it runs across the entire width sheltering the sweptback and sleek LED headlamps with slim LED Daytime Running Lights adding extra character.

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The lower grades will get projector headlamps. The bumper has blade-like chrome bezels with round shaped fog lamps and the underbody gets decent protection. In fact, the India-spec Civic has its suspension raised by 20 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear to tackle the difficult speed bumps. The wing mirrors are slim so as to reduce drag and the left side ORVM has a camera that automatically gets activated as part of the segment-first Lane Watch system and it comes handy at many occasions.

Another class-first feature is the side marker lamps fitted above the front fenders for alerting by popping the lights on during heavy braking. The side profile is of the signature Civic with a coupe roofline inclining at the rear to form the C shaped LED tail lamps. The lightweight trunk lid can be lifted easily to avail 430 litres of boot volume and its depth allows for large usable space.

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Honda will offer 17-inch wheels on the top end variants while the base models will get 16 inches. The overall profile is aerodynamically efficient as the new Civic has the lowest drag coefficient of any sedan in its class. The large back glass, thin pillars and sunroof enable airy feel to the 2019 Civic while the road visibility for the passenger and driver is well sorted as well.

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Interior – Modern And Intelligent

Stepping inside the cabin, you will be treated with a black dominated theme while the appliance of ivory leather across difference surfaces of the interior is a neat touch. The soft touch materials do present an upmarket vibe but the hard plastics on the dashboards could have been avoided. The rear centre armrest is a good addition but the rear occupants do not have the provision for charging or control the touchscreen.

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For the segment the new Civic competes in, the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto could have been a tad bigger in size. It is responsive and can be operated without any hassle by the driver as the dashboard is indeed driver focussed.

Honda offers eight segment-first features in the new Civic including Agile Handling Assist, Walk Away Locking, Electronic Parking brake with Brake Hold and Remote Engine Starter in petrol variant among others. Each technology helps in different scenarios while six airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP and a whole lot of safety features enable a safer ride to the occupants.

The digital instrument cluster provides all the necessary information including the mode you are on in CVT. There are plenty of usable storage spaces inside but only one USB port is provided. The glovebox is deep enough to hold your certificates and other compact everyday belongings.

2019 honda civic first drive review india gaadiwaadi-22The eight-way adjustable powered driver seat is very useful to set up your desired seating position and the multi-functional steering wheel has controls for telephony and cruise among others. The smart entry system and push-button start/stop further enhance the convenience factors of the new Honda Civic.

Engine And Performance – i-VTEC Does Its Magic

The Civic is synonymous with the sporty performance of its i-VTEC petrol engines contributing to the huge tally of sales across the globe. Be it the hatchback or the Coupe, the legendary Type-R performance badge generates particular interest among buyers in international markets.

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In India, Honda has opted to use a 1.8-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine producing 141 PS and 174 Nm and is disappointingly mated to only a CVT which has buttery-smooth paddle shifters. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC four-cylinder DOHC diesel from latest CR-V with single turbocharger develops 120 PS and 300 Nm and all the power is fed to the wheels through a six-speed manual transmission only.

The biggest highlight in the new Civic that everyone has been talking about is the 26.8 kmpl claimed mileage in the EarthDreams diesel motor (more than City diesel). Having spent some time with it, the heaviness of the gearbox can be clearly felt and the throttle response is not as immediate as in the highly likeable petrol version.

Moreover, the driver has to work the gearbox to get until the 2,000 rpm range for the engine to kick out a responsive peak torque of 300 Nm and it will be cumbersome in jam-packed traffic conditions. Therefore frequent gear shifts cannot be avoided. Coupling with the higher kerb weight of around 50 kilograms, the diesel powertrain does feel to be in the back seat.

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The i-VTEC petrol, on the other hand, really steps up to the plate as the power delivery is linear and smoother. It is highly responsive complementing the steering wheel that gives apt feedback while cornering. Additionally, the ARAI-certified fuel economy of 16.5 kmpl is definitely manageable.

The engine revs freely helping the driver to ease past 140 kmph and the new Civic can top out more than 170 kmph. In the speeds above 150 kmph, the braking does make you a bit uncomfortable due to the twitchy sensation it creates. But otherwise, the braking system gives you plenty of confidence to push into three digit speeds and take corners effortlessly.

Ride, Handling And Comfort – Smoother And Well Defined

As for the comfort, the MacPherson strut at the front and independent multilink rear suspension do come in handy to maintain a stable ride throughout our testing schedule. The driver, as well as passengers, can enjoy a comfortable time at the helm even during long journeys as the chassis is well optimised for comfort.

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However, it comes at the expense of body roll as you could definitely feel it while cornering at high speeds. Despite the coupe roofline, the headroom is sufficient at the back while Honda’s claim of best-in-class rear cabin space is definitely agreeable. Since the dashboard and centre console are pushed up front than normal, the leg space while stretching for front passenger is adequate.

The ivory coloured leather upholstery brings a premium appeal and the seat cushioning, mainly the back support, will make you feel relaxed at the majority of the times. The same applies to the rear but the thigh support could have gotten a bit better in my opinion there.

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Verdict – The Comeback Just Got Real

The 2019 Honda Civic is a complete package if you are looking for an executive sedan with good fuel efficiency and comfortability. It has a packed interior with clever use of modern technologies. If your question is which variant you should buy? The opinions could be divided.

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If you really want to have some fun behind the wheel, the petrol CVT is the way to go. It is agile and weighs lesser than the diesel counterpart and has adequate juice at the tap when the Sport mode is engaged. If not enthralling, the smooth power delivery and ability to respond when you feel like pushing the car to its limit have held the key for its appeal over diesel.

If you’re really after segment-leading fuel efficiency and do not mind working the gearbox more in traffic, the diesel will be your idle choice. Finally, the biggest question of them all is whether the new Civic is any better than the old model or not?

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In a way, yes, if we see the whole picture. The tenth gen Civic may not be radical as its predecessor and as much fun to drive but it ticks all the right boxes and is practical and modern in every sense of the word. However, the elephant in the room has to be addressed and it deals with the pricing.

Honda has managed to sensible position the petrol CVT variant in terms of pricing as the entry-level model costing Rs. 17.69 lakh (ex-showroom) is the second least expensive in the segment comparing the petrol automatic variants. But, it is a conflict of interest on the diesel side as for example the diesel MT top-end priced at Rs. 22.29 lakh (ex-showroom) is more than Rs. 2 lakh costlier than the mid-spec diesel’s of Corolla and Octavia.

Moreover, Honda does not offer a base diesel manual with the Civic but its competitors Elantra, Corolla and Octavia do and in comparison, the entry-level Elantra is more than Rs. 5 lakh cheaper than the mid-VX Civic diesel. Despite having more features and technologies, the pricing could have been much better in my opinion.