All set to make its debut in Malaysia within the next couple of months, the updated 10th generation Honda Civic has been available for booking for about a month now, but details are still somewhat limited as the company has not revealed details like the number of variants and the list of variant-specific features.
But don’t worry, because we managed to sample the car recently in Thailand where it was launched in November 2018 itself, just to get a clearer picture of what is coming our way.
Although the Thai-spec cars which we tested are slightly different from what is coming here, most of the new key features will be the same.
What is new?
The big news with the new Civic is the addition of the Honda Sensing, which is basically a suite of safety and driver assistance features such as:
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed Follow (LSF)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Auto High-Beam (AHB)
Besides these features, the new Civic also receives the Honda LaneWatch camera like the Accord and the Odyssey.
Other standard features in the new Civic are Remote Engine Start, Electric Parking Brake, and a Front Sensor.
The car also comes with standard safety features including 6 Airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Multi-Angle Rear-view Camera, and ISOFIX.
On the exterior, the range-topping variant will come with new 18-inch wheels as opposed the current 17-inch rims.
Besides that, there is the new front bumper design that also features a new fog lamp surround. The finishing on the plastic panel is now smooth, as opposed to the old design which had honeycomb inserts.
At the rear, the design of the tail lamps and rear bumper are maintained, but a new horizontal chrome strip has been added in the rear bumper diffuser area.
Inside, there are no noticeable changes. The only difference is on the steering wheel which now comes with the buttons to access the Adaptive Cruise Control feature.
In Thailand, a new colour called Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic was also introduced, which is what you’re looking at right now. Whether the new colour will come to Malaysia remains unknown.
Any changes to the engine?
Unfortunately, there will not be any changes to the powertrain package of the Honda Civic.
Engine choices and outputs remain the same, with a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated engine producing 141 PS and 174 Nm of torque, and a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine producing 173 PS and 220 Nm of torque. Both engines are paired with a CVT-type automatic transmission.
How does it feel to drive?
The variant which we sampled in Thailand was the Civic 1.5 Turbo RS which came with the full set of equipment offered.
Our drive comprised a combination of highways, coastal roads, as well as a fair share of the infamous Bangkok traffic jam.
Essentially, the Honda Civic is still the same car. So, there was no noticeable difference in terms of performance and handling.
However, there were three big differences. Firstly, we felt safer thanks to the Honda Sensing features. With the LaneWatch camera constantly showing us the left blind spot every time we changed lanes or turned, driving in a place as busy as Bangkok was not stressful as we expected it to be.
In addition, features like the Collision Mitigation Braking System were also there to prevent the car from rear ending another vehicle in front, further adding to our peace of mind.
Secondly, the Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow made things so much more relaxing and convenient as we didn’t have to use our feet to accelerate or brake half the time.
Since the car was adapting according to the speed of the vehicle in front right down to crawling speed, all we had to do was just steer the car.
Last but not least, the addition of the Honda Sensing package with all the features mentioned above also made the car feel more premium, as these features were only available in more expensive models like the Accord, CR-V, and Odyssey before this. Now that the Civic has the same features, it felt as if we were in a car that costs much more.
With models like the new Mazda 3 and the new Toyota Corolla Altis making their way into the market, it was about time Honda updated the Civic.
On the plus side, the new features in the Civic like the Honda Sensing package make it a much better car to drive and to live with.
Aesthetically, features like the new black grille and 18-inch wheels on the range-topping variant make the Civic look even sportier than what it is now.
However, these changes cannot be noticed at a glance and only those with an eye for details will be able to tell if they’re looking at the new Civic or a pre-facelift model.
So, if you don't mind the fact that the Civic looks almost identical to the outgoing model, it is actually a much better product than what it was, and definitely has what it takes to give the new Altis a run for its money.
That being said, watch this space for more details on the new Honda Civic as more will be revealed when the car is launched.
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