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.