Honda Civic petrol CVT review
What is it?
The 10th-generation model of one of the world’s favourite sedans. But is it even relevant in this new age of SUVs?
Design & Build
- While the new Civic just isn’t as futuristic as the 8th-generation model was way back in 2006, it’s still a cool looking car nonetheless.
- It’s long, wide and low, which gives it an extremely sporty appearance. While the front of this car, with Honda’s characteristic design language, looks pretty standard, it’s the rear – with its boomerang shaped lights – that makes this car stand out.
- Adding to the slick appearance is the 2019 Civic’s sweeping roofline which gives it a very 4-door coupe-esque look. This, combined with those good-looking 17-inch alloys, ensures that the new Civic is quite a looker.
- The cabin of the car continues the sporty theme with a driver-oriented cockpit. While the design of the dashboard might appear similar to that of the City in images, it actually is quite different and a much better place to be in than the former.
- Build quality is pretty average for a Rs 20 lakh+ vehicle. The interior is a mix of soft and hard plastic. Overall, there isn’t much to complain about the build quality as long as you don’t expect European standards here.
Space & Comfort
- The 2019 Civic is long and wide, and that translates inside the cabin as well. It’s a roomy car with enough space for 5 passengers.
- It’s worth noting that there is a central hump in the rear footwell, so the rear central passenger will not be really pleased on those long road trips.
- The legroom on the 2019 Civic is pretty fantastic. I’m 5’10”, and with the front seat adjusted to my driving position, I still had loads for legroom at the rear to sit comfortably in the car.
- But the headroom is an issue though because for that sweeping roofline. A person of my height just has enough headroom at the rear, so taller passengers who’d like to buy this car for being chauffeured around need to take note.
Engine & Gearbox
- The Civic we tested was the petrol variant, simply because it consists of a majority of this car’s sales in India. Of course, the diesel variant generated a lot of hype at launch, but people are moving away from diesel and it shows.
- The petrol engine here is a 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder i-VTEC unit which produces 140 bhp of power and 174 Nm of torque. It’s a slightly modified version of the same unit which powered the older Civic in India. It comes mated to a 7-step CVT automatic gearbox. There is no manual transmission option with this engine.
- While this engine it scores full points on refinement, it lacks outright performance which you’d expect from a sedan of this segment. The CVT, unsurprisingly, is tuned for better fuel economy. So when you combine all the factors, you get a car that is a bit of an underwhelming performer.
- The 0-100 km/h sprint takes well over 11 seconds on the 2019 Civic, which is definitely not slow as a whole, but when you consider that the Octavia 1.8 TSI can achieve the same in less than 9 seconds, it leaves a lot to be desired.
- There are 7 steps in this car’s CVT gearbox which work well in everyday driving. You can lay around with these ratios via the steering-mounted paddle shifters as well. But when you floor the gas pedal, the rubberband effect becomes annoyingly prominent.
- That CVT gearbox shines in the city though. It responds well to throttle inputs and its power delivery is extremely linear. So for daily commutes, the Civic makes for an easy-going and extremely refined vehicle.
Ride & Handling
- The near-perfect ride and handling balance is perhaps the new Honda Civic’s biggest forte. The car goes around corners like a true sports sedan – quite a refreshing thing to report in an age of top-heavy SUVs which roll like a boat around corners!
- The steering balance here is spot on, and the new Civic’s low stance ensures that there is no vertical movement when you quickly change direction. So, if you seek joy out of your every single drive, this car is worth serious consideration.
- The ride quality is quite impressive too. Bad road surfaces go quite unnoticed in this car, unless of course, it falls in a reasonably big pothole. Talking of potholes, this new Civic will not scrape its belly on every single one of them like its predecessor.
- So, the 2019 Civic turns out to be one of those few gems under Rs 30 lakh which steer beautifully while, at the same time, still being impressively comfortable on India’s horrible roads.
- The top-end ZX variant of the car comes with a ‘Lane-Watch Camera’ that’s neatly tucked inside the passenger-side wing mirror. This allows you to view the passenger side blind-spot on the infotainment screen while taking turns or parking the car. Neat feature indeed!
- The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the 2019 Civic has most essentials like Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. But don’t expect new advanced AI and telematics-based features here.
- The new Civic’s boot capacity, at 430 litres, is on the smaller side for a D-segment sedan.
- So is the Honda Civic relevant in this age of SUVs? Definitely yes! It looks great, comes well equipped, handles beautifully and is quite comfortable too.
- The car makes the most sense for those looking for a self-driven premium sedan because the limited rear headroom makes it less-than-ideal for the chauffeured audience.
- We desperately wish that Honda grants more power to this car. While it’s not slow, more power, combined with its already fantastic handling, would make it a perfect enthusiast’s pick.
Check out our 2019 Honda Civic video review below: