(articolo originale su driving.ca )
With more style, a nicer cabin and a balanced ride, the new Civic is destined to be a hot commodity
The 10th-generation Honda Civic returns to its sporty roots
Pros Ride/handling balance, cabin quality, room
Cons Finicky touch screen, tight rear seat headroom, no manual with the turbo engine
Value for money Excellent
What would I change? Rework the central touch screen
Honda is not the type of company to err, but in releasing the 2012 Civic it sure did. The refresh was widely panned by critics, which slowed the sales of this red-hot nameplate. In an unprecedented move, Honda made significant changes to the Civic the following year. It worked, but here we are two years later and Honda has released the 10th-generation Civic. This time around the rework has been greeted with enthusiasm, and rightly so — it has more flair than one has come to expect from conservative Honda.
Not only has the exterior style undergone a radical transformation, the cabin has been reworked to great effect — it uses better materials and gets more comfortable seating in all positions. However, the single biggest improvement is found in the fact the irritatingly complicated two-tier dash has gone in favour of a single-level affair that’s clean and uncluttered; this ranks as one of the most significant improvements. The other thing worthy of mention is the back-up camera — it has three different views ranging from fish-eye to one looking straight down.
If there is an interior nit to pick, it has to do with the central touchscreen. While the layout is fairly intuitive, some of the facets are fiddly and it occasionally took its own sweet time switching functions. Now this might be considered a flaw were it not for a couple of important things. First is the capacitive-touch volume control on the steering wheel — running a thumb up or down the switch changes the volume. Second, the system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These apps, once a compatible phone is hard-wired and paired, transform the operating environment into a work of art.
I only tried CarPlay, but anything one can do on a smartphone, one can do through the central system. In the case of the iPhone, simply say “Hey Siri” and you have access to just about anything. Placing a call is the same as using Bluetooth. However, when a text arrives, it’s flagged on the screen. Touch the screen and the message is read aloud. It also allows an instant answer to be dictated and sent — really helping to keep the driver’s eyes on the road. The integration is masterful; sometimes it takes untold messing around to pair a phone and get things working, but not here!
The rework brings a wider cabin and a 30-millimetre stretch in the wheelbase. This brings more rear seat elbow/shoulder room as well as some additional, and much needed, legroom. What does not change is the tight nature of the rear seat headroom. While passable for a six-footer, anyone taller will make friends with the rear window. That stated, the Civic does have a more usable back seat than many of its peers. Aft of that is a 343-litre trunk with 60/40-split/folding seat backs.
The latest Civic arrives with two very different engines. The tester was equipped with the base 2.0-litre, i-VTEC inline-four. It produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque. When relayed through the six-speed manual gearbox (a better choice than the optional CVT) and the front wheels, the engine delivers enough power for most eventualities. The reason is the motor loves to rev, which is just as well because the power lies higher up the rev range. The manual gearbox is all Honda. The throws are short, the gate is well defined and the clutch is light and bites in the right place. The auto-hold feature (pressing the brake holds the car until the clutch is released) then makes hill-starts a snap.
For the record, I clocked the run to 100 km/h at nine seconds, and an 80 to 120 km/h time of 6.4 seconds. Both are respectable for the compact class.
The better engine is the up-level 1.5-litre turbocharged four. It ups the output to 174 horsepower and, more importantly, 162 lb.-ft. at 1,700 rpm. Sadly, it is only available with the CVT. Regardless, it not only improves the acceleration times (around a second better in the 80 to 120 passing move), it cuts fuel consumption. Where the 2.0-litre engine consumes 7.8 L/100 km in the city and 5.8 L/100 km on the highway when teamed with the CVT, the 1.5-litre turbo, with the same transmission, burns 7.5 and 5.6 L/100 km, respectively. Now that’s a welcome bonus!
As before, the Civic’s suspension is tuned to deliver a balance between ride comfort and agility. The setup works well. The ride is nicely cushioned and the steering has a crisp feel, which makes it an easy urban drive. In this regard it’s a strong class contender. On the flip side, drop the hammer and push on through a series of sweepers and the Civic remains flat and remarkably unflustered even as it nears the limit. In this regard it is as accomplished as many so-called sports cars. In other words, the Civic has shifted from boulevardier and returned to its sportier roots.
What a difference a year makes! The latest Civic has style, a much nicer cabin and it arrives with the right performance and ride/handling balance. In short, it’s destined to be a hot commodity.