Price (ex-showroon, Delhi) : ₹17.7 lakhs – ₹22.3 lakhs

When we say the word Honda does premium come to your mind? Well there was a time when Honda had their tactics right and became one of the premium car brands in India. When the previous generation Honda Civic was launched it had everything one wanted from a mid-size sedan and it became the veritable choice in the segment. However this did not last too long as the conditions became adverse for the Honda Civic as the market was being introduced with smaller SUVs. Unfortunately Honda had to discontinue the Civic due to poor sales.

Honda Civic is one of the few cars that we have in D-Segment in India and Honda launching a premium mid-size sedan in India in the time where the market is full SUVs (which in-fact offer more) is a brave move. People’s love for SUVs have increased rapidly hence its going to be pretty difficult for the Honda Civic to become a predator. Fortuitous, for the Civic many Honda fans still remember the car and the Civic name has a plentiful fan-following. Now getting to the review.

Honda Civic is undoubtedly beautiful to look at

Exteriors

The new Honda Civic is undoubtedly striking at a first glance and majority of the people are going to love the design. The front look of the car is dominated by the bold signature Honda grille finished in chrome. The headlights are tasteful and give the car an upmarket look adding that little oomph to the design. The new Honda Civic is substantially longer, wider, and most importantly lower than the previous gen, the new Civic looks sporty and fresh.

The sloping roof gives it a fastback like stance

Coming to the side, the car looks perfectly proportioned with lines flowing along seamlessly. The Civic certainly looks refreshing in a world of three-box sedans, with its low-slung front, and notchback rear. But what makes the car stand out in the crowd is the fast-back like roof design which makes the car sporty whilst being elegant. The strikingly designed five spoke 17-inch alloys with added glossy chrome finish on the handle bars give the a very sporty and premium look.

The boomerang like tail-lamps looks sporty

The rear design of the car is something which you will either love or hate and there is nothing in between but to me it looks as good as the rest of the car. Unlike the headlights, the taillights are only partially LED. The boot of the car, it looks like it has a lift-back boot (like the Octavia) though it is a conventional sedan boot opening. The new Civic is definitely a hit on the design department. The whole car looks fresh and has its own flavor which is a good thing.

Interiors

Get inside of the new Honda Civic and trust me you won’t be disappointed. The inside of the car is as good as it is from the outside. The pleasing beige with black theme looks premium and makes the cabin feel airy. The cabin of the car is driver focused as the dashboard is slight tilted towards the driver. The steering is chunky and gives you great grip when you hold it. In the background of the lovely three spoke steering wheel is the digital instrument cluster (same as the CR-V). The lowered seating can give you the feeling like you are sitting in a sports car but it can be a bit of a pain to get in or out of the car.

The dashboard looks cool while being useful

The quality of the materials used in the car is great (to the most part). The plastics at some places could’ve been better. The problem comes when talking about the ergonomics, it is really surprising to see the interior falling short here considering how user-friendly rest of the interior is. The ports for HDMI, USB and the 12V charging socket are hard to reach and to access the USB port for the rear, one has to get into below the front center armrest to access it.

The infotainment system is 7-inch unit and has a bunch of features which Honda likes to call DigiPad. Although the infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive one around but you it gets Android Auto and Apple Car Play to ease things around. It also gets eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and a smart key (which can be used to turn the engine on and off, operate the sunroof and power windows and open the boot) and all these features are standard. However the higher trims gets more features like push-button start, automatic wipers and a fully-digital 7.0-inch MID in the instrument cluster that displays information including access to a connected smartphone’s phone book, call history and music, along with average fuel efficiency and the distance to empty. The car gets a lot of features but misses out on certain features like speed sensing auto-door lock which even cars two segments offer.

The interiors of the new Civic are spacious

The headroom at the rear seat of the new Honda Civic isn’t great, all thanks to the sloping roofline. Now to make room for more headroom Honda had to set the seats tad low but because of that getting in and out of the car can be a bit of a trouble and especially for elderly people who tend sit at the back most of time. The legroom at the back new Civic is adequate (Skoda Octavia is far better) and thigh support isn’t best either. The beige and black colours inside do help bring in the sense of airiness. The middle seat at the back is humped making it best for two and not three. In conclusion the rear seat experience in the back of the new Civic is above average and not best in class.

Engine, Drivability and Safety

Performance

The new Honda civic is being offered with two engine options. One being the 1.8-litre I-VTEC petrol motor which outputs 141 HP of power and 174 NM of torque mated to a CVT transmission (only option) with ARAI certified fuel economy of 16.5 km/l. The other is 1.6-litre I-DTEC diesel motor which outputs 118 HP of power and 300 NM of torque mated to a manual transmission (only option) with ARAI certified staggering fuel economy of 26.8 km/l.

Starting with the petrol unit, it’s smooth, quiet, and very, very refined. The engine is punchy but what robs away the fun of the I-VTEC motor is the CVT transmission. Although the CVT is very convenient in most of the times but its no match against the fun of the manual transmission with a I-VTEC motor. Revving the nuts out the new Civic means you are going to deal with the rubber band effect which is no fun. But if you aren’t an enthusiast and drive your car sanely to get from point A to point B then you won’t be disappointed.

Now coming to the better engine, the diesel one is fun to drive. Its nowhere near the Hyundai diesel engines when it comes to refinement as the engine is very vocal, more so as you rev it past the mid-range. The I-DTEC unit does not come with an automatic unit but the manual transmission is smooth and slick with short throws and a light clutch. This engine sure does excel is drivability though with good low-end lunch, turbo lag being very well contained. But there is no denying the fact that the transmission should have been swapped with each other and could have been so much for the keen drivers.

Drivability

The new Honda Civic is underpinned by the same platform that is also used on the CR-V and Accord which mean the new Civic is 22 kgs lighter and 25% more rigid than its predecessor. The steering wheel is delight to use, its light in the city at low speeds and weighs up very well at high speeds giving an plenitude of feel and feedback. The suspension is on the firm side but that benefits car at high speeds and handling is fantastic. Put the car in corner and it will give you abundance of confidence, the Civic stays true to its line with barely any body roll.

The firmness of the suspension also means that the car will not soak up the bumps on those bad roads as a soft suspension would but its very good for the most part. The new Civic is a delight to drive on the highways as the stability at high speeds is great and road noise isn’t much either.
The brakes are sharp, without being too grabby, and with discs being offered in all four wheels the car’s balance doesn’t get upset when braking from high speeds. Honda has increased the ground clearance of the new Civic by 20 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear, translating into no scraping on any speed breaker.

Safety

The new Honda Civic scored a full 5-star safety rating in ASEAN NCAP. Now this is great as Indians roads aren’t the safest when it comes to driving. The new Civic is being offered with a whole bunch of safety features like ABS with EBD, ESP, Traction Control, 6-Airbags, Honda’s lane-watch and ISOFIX child seat anchorages. Agile Handling Assist (which uses the brakes on individual wheels during cornering) and hill-start assist as standard.

Verdict

The new Honda Civic is a brilliant car that offers a host of features and is a jack of all trades but unfortunately a ‘master of none’ (love the Netflix series btw). The powertrains aren’t best in the segment, misses out on certain features and ergonomics aren’t great either. The new Civic is a comfortable car whilst looking sporty. With limited transmission options especially the lack of a manual transmission in petrol will be missed (heartbreaking for enthusiasts). The new Civic is priced at a premium compared to its rivals (expect the Octavia). The Honda Civic is the second top selling car in the whole world and that is for reason, with Honda’s reliability and after sales service with parts being available everywhere makes everything a tad easy for the owners. The car does come with few shortcomings but if comfort is your main thing then you won’t be disappointed with the new Honda Civic. But wait! If you got some extra money lying around or you can stretch your budget a little then don’t forget about the Skoda Octavia which offers more features, better powertains and more comfort.

Alternatives : Toyota Corolla Altis, Hyundai Elantra, Skoda Octavia.

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