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The Honda Civic makes a comeback after the Japanese automaker skipped the 9th generation model for India. The 10th generation Civic which is being launched in India was launched globally in 2016 and was subsequently given a facelift last year. Honda is launching the Civic in India with both petrol and diesel engine options. The Civic is Honda's oldest model, also its most popular model, being their top-selling car in the world.
Exteriors - If there is one thing where the Honda Civic has a big USP, it has to be the design. The car looks striking with the wide chrome grille which extends all the way to above the headlight. The headlights are all LEDs and so are the foglamps, the vehicle getting side lights too on the front bumper. The rear gets boomerang shape tail-lights which are big but what is really the highlight is the side where the length of the car along with the sloping roofline give it a coupe-like appearance.
Interiors - On the inside, the Honda Civic has many familiar parts to the CR-V, like the instrument cluster and the infotainment system, both being 7-inch units. The dashboard is all black with added elements for a premium touch. The leather seats get beautiful white stitching and the seats of this vehicle are comfortable. The driver gets an 8-way power adjustable driver seat while the rear seat is positioned quite low to ensure headroom due to the sloping roofline, this does compromise on under-thigh support.
Honda has given the Civic quite a few features including Apple CarPlay, Android auto connectivity, remote engine start (on the petrol), passive entry, push button start, sunroof, lane watch, reverse parking camera with 3 modes, dual-zone climate control system, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, 6 airbags, hill start assist, agile handling assist, traction control, cruise control and steering mounted controls. The boot is decent sized at 430-litres.
Performance - The diesel Civic is powered by a 1.6-litre engine that outputs 120 HP and 300 Nm. NVH levels aren't great as the motor becomes quite vocal as you rev it hard, redline coming in at a respectable 4800 RPM. Turbo lag is well contained, the engine pulls cleanly and the mid-range is strong too. Thus, in terms of drivability, the diesel engine excels. It is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox which has short throws and offers smooth shifts, the clutch is light too. The claimed fuel economy is an impressive 26.8 km/l.
The petrol Civic employs a 1.8-litre i-VTEC motor that belts out 141 HP and 174 Nm. This motor lacks bottom end grunt and the more you rev it, the better the progress gets. Extremely silent at idle, the petrol mill gets quite vocal in the top-end, redlining at 6500 RPM. The issue here is the CVT gearbox as it isn't quick with shifts (although there is a Sport mode along with steering mounted paddles) and has the rubber band effect as well. The claimed fuel efficiency is 16.5 km/l.
Driving Dynamics - The Civic shares its platform with the CR-V and Accord and is 22 kgs lighter and 25% stiffer than its predecessor. The suspension is on the firm side and Honda has raised the ground clearance by 20 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear to prevent bottoming out on speed-breakers. The ride quality is good but bad roads do affect the car. The handling is excellent though with body roll well contained and the steering is a joy to use.
Verdict - The Honda Civic is making a comeback at a time when SUVs are becoming very popular, thus this D-segment sedan won't find it easy, more-so when the market has strong competitors which offer more features and better powertrain options. If Honda adopts the same premium pricing strategy as the CR-V, then the Civic won't find many takers but if priced right, this car could outsell the Toyota Corolla for being reliable yet flamboyant.
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