[First Impression] 2016 Honda Civic VTEC Turbo “More Fun to Drive than Ever, Down to the Very Last Drop in the Tank”

Golfautospinn Posted: April 8th, 2016

News of the new 2016 Honda Civic circulated in the rumor mills for quite some time. Honda is finally ready to officially launch the 10th generation Honda Civic this March.

What’s special about this new Civic besides the new completely new body and styling? Consumers will now have the choice between 1.8 liter and 1.5 liter turbo engine instead of the 1.8L and 2.0L engines for the first time in Thailand.

As expected with the top model change, Honda increased the number of top tier model choices to 2 different sub-models. The top model, Civic RS comes fully equipped and ready to outperform all the other competitors’ models in the market.

One month before the official launch, Honda (Thailand) invited about 20 media members on a trip to the Buriram Raceway to test drive the 2016 Honda Civic RS. Each of the media members were allowed to drive the top Civic model twice around the track.

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The entire drive was a mere 7 minutes twice around the track. Even though I’ve driven on the Buriram race track numerous times previously, it would be difficult to give our readers an honest assessment on the Civic’s drive and performance in such a short amount of time. Another media test drive is planned for Mid-March where a more in-depth performance review can be reviewed afterwards.

Hiroshi Ito, Chief Engineer for the new Honda Civic project, Honda R&D Co., Ltd told us Honda is one of the most important models for Honda, with annual average sales 710,000 units spanning over 170 countries with total sales of 23 million units sold from 9 generations in 43 years since the Civic was first introduced.

For the 10th generation, the Civic will be produced globally in 9 countries with models ranging from a coupe, sedan, hatchback models to the infamous Type-R. Honda’s aim with the Civic is to create the best C segment car equivalent to European competitors.

“The Honda team is confident will develop a new standard by targeting the consumer who love to live life to fullest with an appearance, performance and an excellent comfort through an innovative automotive experience using the creative technological design combined with the latest technology.”

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The overall design of the Civic gives the car a very sporty feel. The car is wider, longer, and lower to the ground than the previous model. With a more aerodynamic look, the design puts a greater emphasis on highlighting the body’s lines & curves.

The front of the car resembles a shark’s mouth. The hood and bumper encloses the front lights. The large dimmer lights are situated on side just after the front bumper. The lines of the car run all the way to rear giving the Civic an aggressive, strong, and tough look.

The LED head lights, day lights, and rear lights come standard in the RS model. This gives the car a keen and sharp feel. In general, the exterior design passes the eye test. The Civic should be a car aftermarket enthusiasts will enjoy modifying once available.

The overall body of the car feels sportier with a wider base & a lower clearance than the previous generation. The car’s is 50 mm wider, lower than 20 mm, longer by 25 mm. In addition, the new Civic’s wheelbase is longer by 30 mm resulting in a much wider cabin.

Honda stated the rear passengers will have up 70 mm more in leg room. The rear storage will be 20% larger totaling 530 liters. I jumped into the backseat to check it out myself. The backseat is definitely as advertised – larger and more spacious.

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There is plenty of head room in the car but I had to bend down a bit because of the lowered dimensions. The seats are larger but do not hug the body. Which made many of us wonder if we would experience discomfort while sitting for long durations?

Touching again upon the lowered clearance, elderly individuals could have difficulties entering the Civic. The bottom edge of the rear doors is thicker than normal, the sunken floor, coupled with the lower car makes it potentially difficult for Grandma & Grandpa to sit down in the Civic easily.

Honda did not bring the 1.8 liter CVT engine with automatic transmission for us to try this time around. 1.5 liter turbo VTEC Earth Dream engine provides a maximum power 173 horsepower at 5500 rpm and a max torque of 220 Nm at 1700-5500 rpm.

Despite the high performance engine, the Civic provides fuel efficiency and environmental friendly performance emitting only 132 grams per kilometer meeting Euro 4 standards. Power is transmitted through the CVT transmission delivering responsive performance compared to dry clutch transmissions.

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It’s a pity, the new Honda Civic 1.5L can only be fueled up to E20. The Honda Engineers did not explain in detail why the Civic could only be fueled to E20. However, they did confirm the 1.8L can still be fueled with E85. I strange issue, we will have to circle back to ask on the next test drive.

After driving 2 rounds, the administrator drove around the track in about 6 minutes – not any faster or slower than anyone else. At a quick glance and reaction, the Civic performed better than the previous generations. The Engine was responsive and worked seamlessly with the CVT transmission.

The lower seat gave our drive a sportier feel. The steering well felt on point and gave a good balance & resistance. The sportier suspension supported the sportier feel without sacrificing the feel of a family car. The results were somewhere in the middle without the Civic becoming too sporty or domesticated.

The control of the car during on the track went by easily with the engine, suspension, power transmission and control system responding better compared to previous generations. It is obvious the new Civic is much improved over previous generations, bringing the Civic closer to a the status of a “sport sedan.”

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The acceleration from 0-100 km per hour was less than 10 seconds, slightly above 9 seconds from counting in my head. The Honda team took our cell phones away before we entered the track so this is my best estimation. The Civic reached speeds of 150-160 kilometer per hour without any issues.

The CVT transmissions was so smooth, I did not notice the shift between gears a t all. Changing gears did not take away from the engine at all. Some slight choppiness but nothing out of the norm and not a downside of the CVT.

The smooth suspension of the Civic is tailored to reflect the new sportier look. However, the suspension is not stiff like a sports car. The Civic is tuned to be a family car with a sportier & fun driving experience. For the more extreme driver, additional tune up work needs to be done.

The interior is equipped in a smooth minimalist style. I did not have time to play around with audio or on board equipment at all. From observation, the plastic material was not luxurious or all too sporty. The left side controlled the radio and the right side controlled the cruise control on the multifunctional steering wheel. The functions were slightly adapted from previous generations.

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Alright in a mere 6 minutes, this is already a detailed reviewed for a short amount of time. We will have to wait for a more detailed review when I get my more time with car. Honda succeeded in moving away from the Japanese look and shifted to a more Western appearance. The result is a Civic that stands out from previous generations.

Don’t worry, keep a close right here on Autospinn! We’ll have more details for you readers in near future.

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