Honda Siel Motors India limited have had great success with all their model launches in the Indian market. This includes the likes of the Honda City, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V and the Honda Civic. I have purposely excluded the Honda Jazz because it didn’t sell as much as the company would have expected it to be. But then my center of attraction today is the Honda Civic in India. Writing a review about the Honda Civic in India is something which I am still wondering as to how I missed it. The Honda Civic is one car which would excite anyone, even if he isn’t a fan of Japanese engineering. The reason as to why the thought of a review cropped up is because of the launch of the new variant with a sunroof. I have actually seen many modded versions of this car with the sunroof but then Honda fitting on one in lieu of customer feedback is a good thing. Wish, they would have heeded to customers request to slash the Jazz’s price. As they say, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”. It was kind of Honda to lend us a new Honda Civic with the sunroof for a review. Here is a recount of what happened en route.
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Stunning is the first word which comes to my mind when I see the Honda Civic. No wonder, even after been on the Indian roads for approximately 5 years, it still commands second glances. The Honda Civic in India has got a midlife refresh with those blacked out head lamps. They are also a bit more squared than what they were before the refresh. The Honda badge and the chrome grille look stunning. The side skirts (yes, there are side skirts available even on the base version) look cool. The fog lamps are also big dinner plate size things which enhance the overall boxy look. But then I would prefer the earlier look of the car and that is the rounded design. For the new look, the ORVMS have been given additional duties of locking in the turn indicators. The tyre size is 195/65 R 15 whereas the wheel rim size is 15X6J. The alloys also look sporty and gell with the overall sporty theme that the car exudes. The side profile actually paints a picture of this car that it is a souped up version of some road going car, exactly like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
The rear profile in the meanwhile also now has square tail lamps instead of the round ones earlier. The Honda Civic was a tough cookie to crack in the market at that time due to its inimitable looks and talks of performance. Cut to 2011, the demand for the car has now waned and car buying public are looking for value for money cars and ones which have a diesel power plant. The twin tail pipes also signify the boy racer style element for this car. Tail lamps by the way are complete LEDs.
I am sure its not only me but all of those who must have seen the Honda Civic in India’s interiors go wow the very first time you saw it. It is unlike any other car present in the market even today. It has got that Playstation feel to it. I am not referring to the build quality which anyways is good but not as sturdy as the ones to the likes of Toyota Corolla. The Japs are known to make nicely engineered cars but then some manufacturers like Suzuki or Honda don’t build them like a tank. That job is left to the Germans or even Toyota for that matter. The headsup display was unknown of in 2006 when the Civic was launched in India but then after the Civic, those graduating onto different cars would be searching for that headsup display. The front seats are placed low. By the way, the car sits very low as compared to competition. This would be on of the reasons why we wouldn’t find many Civic drivers going fast in city speeds.
Once I was seated inside, I felt like a racer with that 3 spoke light steering wheel and the low driving position. Seats are pretty much comfortable but then I don’t particularly fancy low seats. There are audio controls as well as cruise control on the steering wheel besides our car was the automatic one with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. The sunroof is a good thing for this car but then it adds to the cost of this car. I will elaborate on that later. The interiors are all in beige color. One disappointment is that Honda have only given the car good interiors but not enough gizmos to play with. There is no climate control and the stock 6 CD changer system also sounds just about okay. Moving onto the rear seats, I found them comfortable but not so much as the Toyota Corolla. While been chauffeured around, I found the seat to be good in all aspects except that for long journeys, the low seating would take its toll on your knees. The rear floor is also flat enabling the Honda Civic in India to be a perfect 5 seater. Boot space is 405 liters and it is easily loadable as well.
Handling and ride quality
The Honda Civic in India is tuned to be on the softer side. The suspension is made up of McPherson Struts with Coil Spring and Torsion Bar at the front and Trailing arm type Double-wishbone makes up for the rear. Been on a softer side makes the car to bottom out with a full load of passengers, a trait seen on most of the Honda cars. This soft suspension setup however provides the car with a good ride quality over broken patches. But then up the speeds and the Civic somehow seems to lose it composure if sharp bumps come its way. I just hate cars which sag when you load them up. But then putting my likes and dislikes aside, the Honda Civic’s steering wheel is a bit on the heavier side. In city speeds, it takes just a bit more effort to turn it rather than what one would apply for a Toyota Corolla Altis. The steering wheel is also an hydraulic unit and this explains the extra pressure required. But then on the highway, the steering wheel provides the right amount of feedback needed to drive the car enthusiastically. It lets the front wheels tread the path that you want them to go to. It handles sweetly and if you have a Civic, I am sure that you wouldn’t resist the call of the open highways and twisties.
NVH is a bit on the higher side since this car needs to be egged on to make any serious progress. For a certain period of time, I did enjoy the wail of the I-vtec motor but then take in 2 hours of that same sound and it becomes noise. You actually get tired of hearing it.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Honda Civic in India boasts of a 1799cc, SOHC, 4 cylinder petrol engine which makes 132 Ps of its maximum power at 6300 rpm whereas the top torque of 17.5 kgm is developed at 4300 rpm. It is mated to a 5 speed manual or 5 speed auto with paddle shifts. It is the auto one which I had with me. I knew that the Honda Ivtec engines make their power higher up in the rev range and the Honda Civic is no exception. In the city traffic, it wouldn’t go beyond 2nd gear. If you try to slot in the 3rd gear, the car may stall and you would be the brunt of all those honking behind you. But then stretch it on the highway and you would revel in the Ivtec glorious wail. The 0-100 kmph dash came up in only 12.1 seconds whereas the top speed is 186 kmph. The engine quite effortlessly moves to its redline.
Brakes are ventilated discs at the front and solid ones at the rear. There is brake assist, EBD and ABS to assist with the stopping powers. Compared with the others in its class, the Honda Civic gets smaller discs brakes. Stopping times are okay but then when you start comparing, the Civic’s braking times fall short of the others.
Safety is handled by the G-con body frame, 2 air bags, 3 point seat belts and the collapsible steering column. Fuel efficiency is not so good as the competition but then this is where the Ivtec engine comes into play. Ivtecs have long been known to have a good mix of fun as well fuel efficiency to them. The Honda Civic automatic’s fuel efficiency is 7.9 kmpl in the city whereas on the highway, it stretches the liter of crude to 16.5 kmpl. If you are more of a city player, then you shouldn’t go for the Honda Civic.
The Honda Civic in India is more of a poor man’s BMW. It has more road presence than its Japanese as well as German competitors. It is a car, however, which would appeal more to the young at heart and not to those nearing middle age. It is a fun to drive car without losing too much on the fuel efficiency front as well. It has got good futuristic interiors, Honda reliability and also a sufficient boot. Its down sides are the not so flashy fuel efficiency in city, low seating and fear of scraping on speed breakers. The Honda Civic is available in 5 variants in India. One gets a choice of manual or an auto transmission with paddle shifts. The Honda Civic price in India starts from Rs 12,21,500 and ends at Rs 14,27,000 for the top variant. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. The bad part is that the sunroof, if you fit it from a local shop would cost you only Rs 18,000 whereas if you get a factory fitted unit, then it would be a whooping Rs 44,000 that would be charged by Honda Siel Motors India limited.
Technical specifications of Honda Civic in India
Engine details: 1.8L In-Line 4 cylinder Engine with i-VTEC
No. of Cylinders: 4
Maximum Power: 132 PS @ 6,300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 170 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: PGM-FI (Programmed Fuel Injection)
Valve Configuration: SOHC
Bore x Stroke: 81 x 87.3 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission details: 5 Speed Automatic with paddle shifts
Drive Type: FWD
Front Suspension: McPherson Strut, Coil Spring with Torsion Bar
Rear Suspension: Double Wishbone, Coil spring with Torsion Bar
Steering details: Hydraulic Power Assisted Rack & Pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.3 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Solid Disc
Top Speed: 186 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 12.1 seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 7.9
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 16.5
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 50
Emission Norm Compliance: Bharat Stage III
Tyre Size: 195/65 R15
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Wheel Size: 15 x 6J
Alloy Wheel Size: 15 inches
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4
Cargo Volume: 405 litres