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The flagship Honda Civic auto offers a ample package, admitting struggles to angle out adjoin an ever-evolving adversary set.
Australian sales of baby cars accept been falling rapidly of late. Long the best accepted articulation locally, the small-car chic now sits in third abode abaft boilerplate and baby SUVs, and the large-SUV articulation is bitter at its heels.
The accepted bazaar trends beggarly manufacturers are beneath burden added than anytime to accomplish their baby commuter cars as acceptable and able-bodied featured as accessible while advancement a aciculate pricepoint – and some are accomplishing bigger than others.
Korea’s Kia Cerato is bucking trends, up by 14 per cent year-to-date at the time of writing, overtaking aloft baron the Mazda 3. The accompanying Hyundai i30 is captivation abiding adjoin a falling market, while Japanese rivals aren’t accomplishing absolutely as well.
The Toyota Corolla is bottomward by over 15 per cent YTD, not helped by delay times on its super-efficient amalgam models, while the Mazda 3’s advance into exceptional breadth has credible it bead by a agnate margin.
Meanwhile, the Honda Civic is a adumbration of its aloft self, with sales bottomward by about a division compared to the aforementioned time in 2018. The aggregation afresh formed out a 2019 model-year amend for the auto ambit (though not the hatchback), which saw the Honda Sensing alive assurance apartment added broadly accessible beyond the line-up, but not abundant abroad changed.
Here on analysis we accept the flagship 2019 Honda Civic VTi-LX sedan, which is priced from $33,690 added on-road costs. The Modern Steel brownish acrylic you see actuality adds addition $575, bringing the as-tested bulk to $34,265 afore on-roads.
High-end versions of boilerplate cars accept a boxy assignment in the Australian marketplace. Accustomed the ever-increasing competition, manufacturers are not alone alienated with accustomed rivals in approved segments, but additionally advancing with SUVs, and alike entry-level versions of exceptional equivalents.
For this reason, the VTi-LX has aloof about every apparatus and accoutrement Honda can bandy at it, and accustomed the bulk it’s appealing able-bodied equipped.
Standard appearance accommodate accessory aeronautics with alive cartage updates for the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment arrangement (on top of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto affinity from lower grades), model-specific 17-inch admixture wheels, a powered sunroof, steering-mounted paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and acrimonious advanced seats.
That’s on top of accessories from abroad bottomward the ancestors tree, which includes full-LED headlights, a 10-speaker audio system, eight-way ability acclimation for the driver’s seat, leather-appointed upholstery, dual-zone altitude control, auto-folding ancillary mirrors, keyless access with push-button start, rear aloofness glass, parking sensors advanced and rear, Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot ancillary camera system, and DAB agenda radio.
Honda’s apartment of alive assurance appearance has consistently been accepted on the flagship Civic. Think free emergency braking with forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise ascendancy with ‘low acceleration follow’, lane-departure admonishing and lane-keep assist, road-departure mitigation, forth with automated high-beam.
All Civic models abrasion a 2017-stamped best ANCAP assurance appraisement based on bounded tests adjoin earlier criteria. In ANCAP testing, the Civic managed 34.68 credibility out of a accessible 37.
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Well into its third year on sale, the Civic auto charcoal an adorable vehicle, alike adjoin aboriginal rivals that accept hit the arena aural the aftermost 6–12 months.
Honda’s contempo designs accept been edgy, angular and aggressive, and the Civic is no different. While some cars age bound with beat aesthetics, the Civic has captivated up well, and in flagship VTi-LX trim looks upmarket with its abounding LED lighting, gloss-black exoteric accents and chrome highlights.
I alone adopt the attending of the auto compared to the accompanying hatchback, best conspicuously for its added acceptable adaptation and beneath polarising rear end. The VTi-LX does, however, attending a little arid compared to the lower-spec RS, which gets beyond auto and a added arresting rear spoiler.
Hop axial and its accustomed book again. The all-embracing dashboard blueprint minimises concrete switchgear and aims to maximise accumulator options – there are cubbies aloof about everywhere.
It’s in actuality breadth the Civic is starting to appearance its age a little, alike admitting you’d hardly alarm it ‘old’. The 7.0-inch touchscreen is appealing boilerplate in size, and the all-embracing attending and feel of the operating arrangement is absolutely old-hat.
Even with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto running, bulk times and acknowledgment aren’t as abrupt as you ability be acclimated to from battling models.
The all-embracing acumen of affection in the berth is appropriate but a alloyed bag. Up top there are nice, soft-touch abstracts on the birr and doors, admitting there are affluence of hard, cutting trims about.
In several areas, like the aperture armrests, for example, there can be a acrid bond amid plastics and trims, authoritative the Civic feel added like a tarted-up bargain car than an affordable exceptional car. Some of that can be acquainted as anon as you put your calmly on the council caster – the bland covering is nice, but the shiny, adamantine plastics on the hub and multifunction controls aloof feel actual bargain indeed.
While it may not be the best costly auto in the baby segment, the Civic offers abundance of allowance for cartage and luggage.
There’s above-average leg and arch allowance for rear passengers, and the seats themselves are absolutely comfortable. Amenities accommodate a fold-down centre armrest with two cupholders, a map abridged abaft the advanced passenger’s seat, and ample aperture bins.
However, there are no rear air vents and no rear ability outlets, which is black accustomed commuter adaptation is one of the Civic’s key affairs points.
Behind the 60:40 folding rear seats, there’s a 517L (VDA) baggage area, which is added than abundant for shopping, prams, airport luggage, you name it. While it’s an absorbing bulk of space, the Civic can’t bout the Skoda Octavia liftback, which quotes 568L with the rear seats in play.
Power in the VTi-LX comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol agent developing a appropriate 127kW (at 5500rpm) and 220Nm (1700–5500rpm), and beatific to the advanced auto alone via a continuously capricious manual (CVT).
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In agreement of performance, the drivetrain is altogether able of alive the 1.3-tonne (1316kg tare) Civic at burghal and artery speeds, admitting the acquaintance is blah somewhat by the CVT.
The manual has that archetypal elastic-band feel that isn’t cool engaging, and the connected revving of the agent transmits a buzzy, un-sexy agenda into the cabin. Don’t try flicking the manual into ‘S’ mode, either, because that aloof holds the revs alike added and makes it worse.
Once at speed, though, the CVT drops revs essentially to the point you may accept to double-check if the agent is absolutely on. Whereas rivals with six-speed transmissions and similar-sized engines will sit at 2000rpm or aloof aloft at 100km/h on the freeway, the Civic is bustling abroad able-bodied beneath that.
Not alone does it abate agent babble at speed, it’s absolutely accessible for ammunition consumption. During our time with the VTi-LX sedan, we saw the adumbrated readout bead into the mid-sixes per 100km with continued artery use, but in abundant cartage about town, the free-revving attributes of the drivetrain and abridgement of abandoned stop/start technology will see that bulk acceleration able-bodied into the mid-eights.
You can apprehend about 500km per ample of the Civic’s 47L tank, and it will appropriately run on cheaper 91RON approved unleaded.
As for the ride and handling, the Civic afresh does a appropriate job after actuality class-leading. There’s a accurately quick and absolute council arbor that accompanying with the low and advanced attitude makes the Civic feel absolutely activating and calmly manoeuvrable in any environment, while the adaptable abeyance tune does a acceptable job at bed-making out the assorted chastening and bumps of Melbourne’s patchy burghal roads.
That buried attitude makes the Civic feel actual sure-footed at aerial speeds, which inspires aplomb on the freeway, and the adequate ride agency acceleration humps and potholes are calmly dealt with.
Where the Civic avalanche bottomward is in agreement of clarification – a complaint we’ve had back the car launched.
Regardless of alley surface, there is a credible akin of tyre barrage entering the cabin, unless you’re gliding on the smoothest sections of tarmac. This apparently isn’t helped by the actual quiet engines at canoeing speeds, but the Civic can accomplish absolutely a agitation on rougher sections of highway, which isn’t the best for best stints abaft the wheel. It’s a abashment because the ride and administration accept all the adequacy of actuality a accomplished tourer.
We had alloyed animosity about the assorted Honda Sensing features, too. The auto aerial axle had a addiction of axis on the brighter ablaze action in inappropriate situations, generally with added cartage advancing in burghal streets. Weird.
Another affair was the adaptive cruise control, which at times would bang on the brakes for no credible reason, as if it were audition the agent in the abutting lane. I’d generally aloof about-face it off and booty abounding ascendancy myself.
I’m additionally alone not a fan of the LaneWatch side-mounted blind-spot camera in abode of a approved blind-spot ecology system. The capital annoyances are that it’s alone on the larboard side, while the angle and ambit arrangement can attending a little blocked through the axial display. It additionally requires you to booty your eyes off the alley and attending at the lowish-mounted awning rather than do a arch analysis or attending at your mirror.
From an buying perspective, the Civic is covered by Honda’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is bolstered by up to 100,000km of ‘Tailored Servicing’.
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Scheduled aliment is appropriate every 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first, admitting the Honda Australia website lists the account intervals by ambit or “when the Honda Agent Oil Monitor ablaze illuminates”.
The aboriginal bristles visits will amount you $297 a pop, admitting there are added items depending on interval. Replacement of the berth dust and pollen clarify is appropriate every 24 months or 30,000km ($45), while the anchor and CVT fluids will amount you $58 and $172 appropriately every 36 months (or 40,000km for manual fluid).
With those added account items included, the aboriginal three years of aliment will amount you $1166. Over bristles years (two added $297 visits) you’re attractive at $1760.
In the saturated small-car market, the Honda Civic presents a solid if alone above-average hypothesis in top-spec form. Real-world performance, abridgement and abundance are aloft boilerplate for the segment, while it offers solid bulk in agreement of price, accessories and space.
However, it’s let bottomward by boilerplate on-road refinement, budget-feeling berth elements, and an dull drivetrain.
With abundant rivals at this end of the small-car bazaar alms added premium, added aesthetic and better-featured packages, it’s accepting harder and harder for the Civic to angle out from the crowd.
Our advocacy would be to attending at the lower-spec VTi-L or RS, which action the aforementioned strengths but for beneath money.
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Attractive for a accord on this car?
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