Published on October 16th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Honda Civic 2.0 Navi Review : Still Setting the Standard
The Civic name has long perfectly represented what the average young driver looks for in a car. It’s traditionally sportier, lighter and more exciting than its competition, but the 9th-generation has taken a step in the ‘grown up’ direction. Have a look at that exterior, it’s definitely built with a professional in mind. With this update, the biggest change to the exterior comes in the form of the new honeycomb-pattern grille which replaces the slightly garish slab of chrome on the previous Civic. So the nameplate looks more like a Civic than the previous model, but not much else has changed on the exterior.
Some were expecting a much sportier car, and yes maybe 10 years ago there was a case for sporty, aggressive styling. But Honda has realised that consumers have changed they were faced with either sticking to an irrelevant and outdated philosophy to preserve some street-cred or move forward and stick to what the Civic has really always been about: the everyman.
Today’s everyman isn’t someone who spends a lot of money on aftermarket accessories or performance upgrades. No. What he’s looking for is solid build quality, great value for money and a manufacturer confident enough to stand behind its product with a long warranty.
And that’s essentially what this new Civic is geared for. Honda backs this car up with a longer-than-standard 5 year warranty with unlimited mileage. They even extend this warranty to the next owner as long as it’s serviced with Honda. The Civic is rather well built as well, with a lot of engineering emphasis going into the car’s chassis construction and material selection, but we’ll go into this later in the review.
This current iteration is served up in three variants – 1.8 S, 2.0 S and 2.0 Navi. We tested the highest spec 2.0 Navi trim level, which comes with all the bells and whistles includes auto levelling HID headlamps and side mirror-mounted signal lights, which are featured on the 2.0 S as well. It’s worth noting that the Navi version is very similar to the 2.0 S, but has more in the way of technology. With it comes the same impressive 7” Display Audio unit and steering controls for Hands-Free Technology we see on other high-end Hondas.
The touchscreen is a very responsive, slightly customisable and tightly integrated unit which manages to blend functionality and aesthetics well. But because it can be found on virtually every model of Honda sold in Malaysia, it doesn’t feel especially exciting. Having said that, it’s still one of the best units that come pre-installed in a car and audio playback is superb. Unlike the units we see in some of the City and Jazz models, this one also works as a reverse camera monitor and navigation system as well.
The Civic we tested came with leather seats and the dashboard is finished in black for a more premium look. I have to say that the choice of materials on the Civic are really good despite being a mostly plastic affair. Honda even got the interior lighting right, focusing on blue and white as primary display colours across the dashboard. Driving in this futuristic cabin at night felt just plain cool, especially with that Multiplex Meter displaying the speed digitally.
The cabin is definitely skewed towards the driver with controls for the radio and air conditioner angled ever so slightly towards seat no.1. It’s pretty subtle though, and since those controls are in the centre they’re still within the reach of the front passenger. Speaking of passengers, there’s plenty of space for 5 adults with rear legroom and headroom being more than adequate. It’s not quite a class over, but for the C-segment, it’s plenty roomy. Even the boot is above average in size and accessibility. Without a doubt, Honda aimed to provide maximum practicality with the new Civic. Sometimes it’s the little things, like how there’s a gap for a USB charger cable to fit through the centre compartment. Other times it’s just giving the consumer exactly what’s actually needed. And that approach to car making always leads to improvement in the safety aspect of the car.
It’s no secret that Honda has been pushing really hard for more and more safety measures on all of their current models, so we weren’t surprised to find that both 2-litre variants come with the sort of safety equipment you would expect from something in the more expensive D-segment. Of course the car comes loaded with Vehicle Stability Control and ABS, both of which are essential to making sure the driver has full control of the car during emergency situations. Dual front SRS airbags, side airbags with Occupant Position Detection system to prevent an unnecessary deployment and of course side curtain airbags. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that safety has overtaken performance as a selling point for the company’s product line.
The powerplant here is a 2 litre i-VTEC. Some have complaint that the engine’s single overhead cam and frugal nature have dramatically reduced the punchiness inherent to VTECs. Our experience was a little different. While the trademark VTEC surge is undoubtedly diminished, the Civic’s new party trick is excellent handling and large amounts of power at the top of the rev range. So when you really push it, you still get to hit high numbers.
So the new Honda Civic is more of a practical machine than ever. To most people, that’s a great, big plus point. Honda doesn’t have to rely on a flood of adrenaline to make the car more appealing than useful, especially since the average Malaysian isn’t ever actually going to take the car to its limits. And for the ones who are, hold off a while and maybe Honda will grace us with a Type R. We thoroughly recommend the Civic at this price point for its all-round practicality, competitive performance and ride, great warranty package, high quality build as well as its futuristic and roomy interior. And at the RM130,000 mark, you certainly get what you pay for.
Honda Civic 2.0 Navi Specifications
Engine In-line 4 SOHC i-VTEC
Transmission 5-speed Automatic
Max Power 155PS @ 6500RPM
Max Torque 190NM @ 4,300
Selling Price RM127,559.03