Friday 23 March 2018

Latest Civic kicks off whole new generation game. . .

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

It just so happened Honda had a new Civic here for demonstration to dealers etc when I was picking up an Accord for a test drive. So I took a brief spin in it -- complete with dealer plates -- around west Dublin.

Even before I sat into the ninth generation of what has become something of an icon, the changes impacted. It is undeniably 'Civic' but has a much stronger presence. That is because it is around 2.5cm lower and longer but, critically, a smidgen wider. The shorter wheelbase means there are longer overhangs front and back and those tweaked dimensions combine to give it a more robust look.


As well as that, the revolutionary wrap-around effect front (I loved it) has been tempered with a more conventional, but strong, grille proclaiming the 'H' logo which makes the marque so readily recognisable. The back is pronounced with its high tail-light cluster 'hip' and rear spoiler moulding. Not as sure about that.

The Civic gets here for the January sales. It comes as a 5dr only -- but there will be 11 models when you take four spec levels and three engines into account.

Ex-works prices start from €20,995 (1.4-litre SE petrol) and from €23,995 for the SE diesels.

So in I sat. There was a lot of elbow room -- testament to the width of the car. The seats are big and strong, the dashboard sweeps around (central screen is the main focus) and there was a distinct upmarket feel to the upholstery and materials used in the version I had.

There appeared to be lots of rear-seat space and a decent boot.

Despite the rear spoiler intrusion out the back window, visibility was fine all round. Honda says it put a lot of emphasis on developing the suspension to improve handling and ride. Nothing better than a series of tight roundabouts to test that. So off I went, zig-zagging into the November lunchtime. I enjoyed the all-too-brief drive but came away remembering it for its comfort, ease of drive, control and surefootedness.

Honda has given it a much more solid feel where the bump and grind of the road is well subdued. Look forward to a longer drive in the not too distant future.

The 1.4-litre (129g/km, 100bhp) has always been a favourite and there's a 1.8-litre (135g/km, 142bhp) but obviously the 2.2-litre diesel (110g/km, 150bhp) will be a biggie as well.

Standard equipment (SE) includes several airbags (including curtain bags), 16ins alloys, climate control, electric windows, CD radio with MP3, LED daytime running lights, stop/start, hill start assist, steering wheel remote audio controls.

ES spec (which they expect to be a big seller) adds: reversing camera, dual zone climate control, cruise control, front fogs, electric/retractable door mirrors.

And EX adds, among other things, leather upholstery, sat nav, premium audio system, heated front seats and a video plug-in port.

Hard to believe that since Honda came here in 1985, we have bought more than 42,000 Civics.

The ninth generation will push up that total, I'm sure.

Irish Independent

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Also in Life