- Published On: 4 April 2017
- 4 min read
The executive sedan was one of the most stylish cars of its time in India. What's it like from behind the wheel?
The Civic, even today, looks modern, but that’s because it truly is. Its design is clever and aerodynamic, with the hood, passenger compartment and boot merging almost seamlessly. The nose is the most attractive - the hood, bumpers and fenders blend together beautifully and give it that cohesiveness possessed by all great design – the Civic doesn’t look dated even today.
The sleek multi-element headlamps sit on either side of a prominent bonnet ‘V’, between a thick chrome grille. Proportions and detailing at the rear are seamless and according to Honda, the design of the tail-lights has been inspired by a fighter jet. The chromed double-barrel exhausts wrap up its sporty appearance.
On the inside
The Civic feels built to last – fit and finish is great. The Civic gives its competitors a run for their money when it comes to interior quality. 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 central console looks straight out of a fighter jet. Honda’s also fitted this car with a futuristic, angular steering wheel with ‘meshed’ spokes – it’s well built and nice to hold.
The seats in the rear are low, but are well contoured, and with support is firm. They feel low slung but they’re comfortable. The Honda also has comfortable, soft-feel elbow-rests, which are a nice touch. Thoughtful features like rear door pockets, a 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 - finding a good driving position is easy. The Civic is also very practical, with three generous storage areas available, apart from the four door pockets. Honda has made sure noise stays out of the cabin too - next to no engine or road noise filters through.
The engine is very refined – it’s almost silent at idle and is less audible and buzzy once you accelerate. The Civic’s i-Vtec engine loves being revved. It is smooth and blessed with an amazingly enthusiastic top-end and a whole lot of punch. The Honda loves being driven flat out — 0-150kph takes only 21 seconds. It’s not the most responsive at city speeds though – the engine is quite flat until around 3500rpm, and this means you often need to downshift for quick overtaking. Luckily its gearbox is light, slick and direct.
The Civic's autobox uses a five-speed box that shifts with barely any lag. Paddle-shifters (a segment first at the time) add to the sporty charm of the Civic and the sport mode improves matters by holding on to a gear when tearing around a corner. 100kph comes up in as quick as 9.5 seconds. The Civic also comes with anti-lock brakes as standard.
The Civic returns 9.1kpl in the confines of the city. It manages a respectable 13.2kpl out on the highway. The automatic variant returns 8.1kpl in the city and 11.9kpl on the highway.
From behind the wheel
This car’s low centre of gravity, long wheelbase, wide front and rear tracks and rigid body makes it feel nice and planted. The quick steering coupled with good front-end grip makes it particularly entertaining when you dart 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. 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 feedback at high speeds isn’t great. The Civic does suffer the disadvantage of low ground clearance though. Be careful when you’re taking this car over a speedbreaker.
Is it worth the money?
The Civic is a great car - it’s comfortable, performance is quick, it’s packed with tech and fuel economy is decent. It’s also priced reasonably. The Civic more or less offers just about everything you could ask for.