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Rating 9 9

Honda Civic Petrol

12th Dec 2009 8:00 am

The Civic is probably one of the best cars you can buy

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  • Make : Honda
  • Model : Civic

The Civic looks like it’s from another generation, but that’s because it truly is. A modern saloon design with a cab-forward stance, the new Civic is shaped to cleave the wind. It bucks the current trend of trading sleekness for vertical space and is appreciably lower slung than the Corolla. A flowing design, with hood, passenger compartment and boot merging almost seamlessly, the new Civic takes the three-box car silhouette to the next level. In the nose section, the hood, bumpers and fenders blend together beautifully and give it that cohesiveness possessed by all great designs. And it’s got sharp styling too. Well sculpted, multi-element headlamps sit on either side of a prominent bonnet ‘V’, between a thick bar of chrome that plays the role of a grille.

Meanwhile, both the grille and chin look like they’ve been cut into a solid piece of metal. The facelifted Civic features a more sculpted look to the front  bumper. The grille side is angular like on the Accord . Proportions and detailing at the rear are exquisite as well. The boot is well formed and tight fitting, the design of the tail-lights have been inspired by a fighter jet according to Honda, while chromed double-barrel exhausts wrap up its sporty look.

The Civic uses a transversely mounted engine to drive the front wheels, has disc brakes for all four wheels and is equipped with anti lock brakes as standard. The Civic uses independent suspension all round with McPherson struts and lower ‘A’ arms up front. And it utilises multi-links at the rear.The Civic is relatively low slung and sporty. It boasts a rather smooth, cohesive design, one that works quite well. It also has great build and superior fit and finish.

The quality of interiors is simply wonderful. The Civic gives its competitors a run for their money when it comes to interior quality. While most car interiors look, well, like car interiors, the Civic’s insides make it look like a spacecraft! 

The Civic’s dashboard will simply take your breath away. A digital display mounted at the base of the windscreen puts important information right into the driver’s field of vision; its blue glow is carried over to the tachometer and other information pods. The radical, asymmetric central console serves up an ambience that is more jet fighter than saloon car. Of course, a traditional steering wheel would look out of place here, so in its place Honda has installed a sporty one featuring a futuristic, angular steering boss with ‘meshed’ spokes – it’s well built and nice to hold.

The Honda’s rear seats are low, but are well contoured, and with firm support. The seats offer good comfort but do feel a little low slung. What really improves the back-seat experience is the fully flat floor; as there's no transmission tunnel intruding into the passenger space the middle passenger doesn't have to hunt for space to keep his feet. The Honda also has comfortable, soft-feel elbow-rests, which are a nice touch. Thoughtful features like rear door pockets, a unique and very useful remote control for the music system built into the central armrest and reading lamps make this driver-centric, sporty car a credible chauffeur-driven option too. The front seats and driver comfort in the Civic is superb.

The seating supports in just the right places, finding a good driving position is easy and the steering wheel adjusts for both reach and height — a first in its class. The Civic is also very practical, with three generous storage areas available, apart from the four door pockets. The Civic’s cabin is also very well insulated. Next to no engine or road noise filters through. Though the thing that can bother you is getting in and out of this low slung car. 

The low centre of gravity, long wheelbase, wide front and rear tracks and rigid body makes it feel nice and planted at all speeds. Body roll is well contained and the quick steering coupled with good front-end grip makes it particularly entertaining around corners. Braking inspires a lot of confidence and the Civic’s steering is quick – the Honda darts into corners and body control is quite good. Stringing a set of corners together is something the Civic enjoys too.

The relatively high-profile tyres may have taken some edge out of the handling but even so, the Civic feels sportier. Even the firm low speed feel to the suspension does not match up as speed builds up. The Civic’s hydraulic steering is extremely light, which is a boon at city speeds, but sadly, it doesn’t weigh up sufficiently as you go faster and lacks sufficient feedback at high speed. As a result the Civic is bettered in the drive experience by cars in this price range and below.

The Civic uses slightly hard, short-travel springs and this means the ride over broken roads is slightly stiff. It does use 65-profile tyres that help at low speeds. You still get a fair amount of thumps and thuds on our roads though; the Honda’s suspension is fairly revealing. As speeds rise, however, the Honda’s good body control helps even things out. The Civic does suffer the disadvantage of low ground clearance though. A loaded Civic will scrape its belly over most speedbreakers. 

Honda Civic Petrol
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