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Technical analysis - Archive

03/09/2019
Dynastic succession

Honda Civic

 

Now in its tenth generation, the Honda Civic, a true cornerstone for the Japanese factory, comes completely renewed with four and five doors and new turbocharged engines both petrol and diesel

Duilio Damiani

ConceptCivic: i.e. a car for everyone, a car for the whole world. This is the driving philosophy behind the most emblematic model of the great H, a true cornerstone of Honda’s production and perhaps the most representative, which comes now in its tenth version: the 2018 model year. Far from concealing its “expansionistic ambitions” in the C segment, the Tokyo-based company has entrusted its banner to the vehicle that, after its debut back in 1972, represents the company’s longest-running success, fast approaching its fiftieth anniversary, a model designed for global scale distribution. The object of cutting-edge updates over the years, as one would expect from Honda, whose ongoing investments in research and development are part of the company’s legacy and among the most incisive in the sector (about 6.5% of the entire turnover is allocated to R&D), associating the Japanese brand not only to the automotive and motorcycle sector, but also to the aeronautical sector, robotics (the famous robot Asimo) and hi-tech energy systems, the true protagonists of our future.

 

A CUT ABOVE THE REST

A global car, true, but with a liking for the old continent, in fact the 4 or 5 doors layout meets the taste of a large portion of the market. The latest version features a sleek, very attractive design and high-performance, high-efficiency engines. Like the previous model, the production takes place in Europe, with the main assembly line located in the Honda industrial complex in Swindon, Great Britain (only the 4-door version is produced in Turkey); from there, then, a number of  vehicles leave for intercontinental export. As if to say, Japanese technology in European style.

Built on a new platform, larger and lighter, although stiffer, totally renewed compared to the 2011 generation, the current Honda Civic wants to underscore its image as a dynamic and stylish berlinetta, emphasized by a very aggressive front design. Slender radiator grille, light clusters extending towards the sides, profiled LED daytime running lights, generous air intakes and sloping windscreen, are all distinguishing marks that guarantee a stylistic continuity, so dear to Civic enthusiasts, while refreshing its now even more muscular look. Sharp edges at the front, elongated and streamlined at the back, double spoiler and eye-catching air extractors present on all versions, entry level included, while the more sporty trims rely on large spoilers, side skirts and a central double exhaust silencer.

The larger size, 4.52 metres in length, and a wheelbase close to 2.7 metres with a rather low centre of gravity, has a positive effect on internal space, suitable for five passengers with enough room for the luggage compartment, between 420 and 1267 litres, depending on the version, the presence of a spare wheel or with raised or reclined backrest.

Countless hi-tech features make life on board easier, starting with ergonomic controls surrounding the driver's seat. A rather uncomplicated dashboard incorporates the main instruments, obviously digital, with a central 7-inch infotainment system, from which all audio, navigation and other systems can be accessed via the Honda Connect 2 system. There is also a wireless charging station for smartphones, USB and Hdmi sockets, as well as steering wheel controls to manage most functions without taking your hands off the wheel. Apple Car Play and Android Auto systems, on the Civic for the first time, make interacting with the vehicle simple and fun. 

Although a mid-range sedan, the electronic equipment leaves no room for doubt: everything a driver needs is right there; countless Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, increasingly sophisticated and managed by sensors, radars and cameras, capable of anticipating and coping with the most common emergencies.

 

FULL TURBO AHEAD

Whether petrol or diesel, Honda’s latest generation of power units are characterized by powerful turbocharger systems. The first are decidedly sophisticated, though small, both with intercooler, high pressure direct injection and 4 valve distribution and i-Vtec and Dual-Vtc variable timing. Starting from the smallest, the 1-litre three-cylinder which, despite its compact size, can boast 129 hp at 5,500 rpm. The 1.5-litre four-cylinder version too is quite gutsy, with 182 hp of maximum power at 5,500 rpm.

However, high performance does not mean little or no respect for the environment; the declared consumption (in Nedc Cycle), in fact, is particularly low, with an average of 21.3 and 17.2 km/litre respectively and CO2 emissions of 106 and 133 g / km.

These units, unprecedented on the European market, are combined with a newly designed six-speed mechanical transmission, or a CVT transmission with paddle shifters at the wheel, making choosing and holding a gear easier, eliminating that annoying feeling of driving a “maxi-scooter”.

For those who aspire to maximum cost containment, the Civic range includes also a 1.6 i-Dtec turbo-diesel unit, not an absolute novelty, but in this case revisited and updated with particular attention to reducing internal friction, improving its dynamic efficiency. Its 120 HP at 4,000 rpm, with a maximum torque of 30.6 kgm at 2,000 rpm, can push the Civic to 201 km/h, with an average consumption of 27 km / litre and CO2 emissions in the range of 99 g/km. Probably the greatest innovation on the new Civic is the automatic transmission, a new nine-speed sequential unit that goes alongside the traditional six-speed manual gearbox.

The nature is that of a fast hatchback, underscored by the wheels, which are basically of a single size on all versions, with standard 235/45 R 17 tires or, alternatively, approved also for smaller 215/55 R16, useful perhaps as a second seasonal set.

And finally, there it is, the reachable and exclusive dream for the most sporty drivers, at a rather affordable 40,000 euro. Not bad for one of the most exciting vehicles in its class. The Civic Type R, which boasts a red H in the middle of the bonnet, represents more than a top of the range model, it confirms the inherent sporty tradition normally found in Honda’s engines. And of course, far from sacrificing comfort and luggage capacity on the altar of performance, given that the Type R retains enough room for five, and a dynamic management program suitable for extreme driving, "Sport" and "+R" mode configurations, as well as daily commuting, in "Comfort" configuration, simply by acting on the suspension's adaptive trim selector. Under the bonnet is a 320 hp 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, a roaring unit ready to dart from a 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds, capable of pushing the car up to a top speed of 272 km/h. Obviously the 20-inch glossy black alloy wheels with low profile 245/30 tires are meant exclusively for the Type R.

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