HONDA has continuously raised the bar for C-segment cars over the decades with the Honda Civic - one of the best-selling cars in the world today.
The first-generation Civic was introduced in 1972. Back then, it was a two-door sub-compact car well-known for being fuel-efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly.
In 1987, Honda introduced the fourth-generation four-door Civic. Fast forward to 2016, Honda launched its 10th generation Civic. For the first time, a 1.5-litre turbo engine option was offered in a Civic.
Honda Malaysia launched the 10th generation Civic in June 2016. The locally-assembled Civic came in three variants -1.8L, 1.5L Turbo and 1.5L Turbo Premium.
We spent a few days testing the 1.5L Turbo Premium and was impressed with what the Civic has to offer.
The Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC VTEC turbo engine, mated to a CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It generates171hp at 5,500rpm and 220Nm of torque from 1,700 to 5,500rpm.
Honda claims that the front-wheel drive Civic 1.5L Turbo can complete the century sprint in 8.2 seconds and its combined fuel consumption is 5.8 litres per 100km.
Standing at 4,630mm in length, 1,799mm in width and 1,416mm in height. It has 47 litres of fuel tank capacity and 519 litres of boot space.
The Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats (eight-way powered for the driver), LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation, keyless entry with push-start function, remote engine start and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Safety aspects of the Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium include six airbags, vehicle stability assist, emergency stop signal, anti-lock braking system, reverse camera, hill-start assist and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points.
The Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium retails at RM135,800, including insurance and six per cent Goods and Services Tax. It is covered by the standard Honda Malaysia five-year unlimited mileage warranty with the service interval of 10,000km.
We find that the Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium is a comfortable, powerful and dynamic sedan. At the moment, not many of the C-segment sedans have a turbocharged engine option other than the Korean and the German carmakers.
The exterior of the Civic is sporty, unique and sleek. The bracket-designed tail-lights enables the Civic to be easily identified from far, especially at night.
As for the interior, it is spacious, comfortable, modern and has a premium feel. The Civic has no issues with headroom, legroom and shoulder room, but we certainly feel that the car is lower than normal sedans.
It also has a large centre console armrest that can easily fit a small handbag.
Apart from that, there’s a cleverly concealed compartment below the infotainment system and air-conditioning dials. That is where the HDMI and USB ports are located. It also has a large space to store mobile devices.
The medium soft absorber and suspension setting tackle most potholes and rough road conditions smoothly. It is also very comfortable going over speed bumps compared with its Korean counterparts.
The Civic handles corners well. The steering wheel is weighted correctly and provides accurate and sharp turnings, as well as gives precise feedback of the road conditions to the driver.
The Honda Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium has a great deal of power overtaking on highways, and the CVT transmission is smooth. However, we felt a little uncomfortable with the vacuum cleaner-like sound when we floored the accelerator. It is because the engine holds on to the revs due to the CVT transmission.
Don’t get us wrong. It doesn’t mean that it takes time to get up to speed. In fact, it can rise over the legal speed limit effortlessly. It’s just the dragging sound caused by the nature of a CVT transmission.
The Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium has low levels of engine and wind noise, but the tyre noise is rather loud.
After a mixture of city and highway driving, the Civic recorded about 12 to 14km per litre. The odometer showed 16 to 18km per litre after we cruised on the highway within legal speed limit.
Subsequently, the system reported that it could travel around nine to 11km per litre after some pedal-to-the-metal driving.
Overall, the Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium is comfortable, performs well and is modern in looks. However, it has room for improvement. Other than reducing the tyre noise in the cabin, the Civic 1.5L Turbo Premium should come equipped with Honda’s lane watch blind spot display or Honda Sensing to further enhance its safety features, especially for the range-topping variant.