Great stories usually start with epic background, but I must start my review with a broken gearbox. Not an epic start, but still a start nonetheless. When my Mitsubishi Lancer’s box finally gave up, I was on the market for a new car and tried several sedans before settling in to Honda Civic VTi. With a young and growing family I needed a car that provided ample space and storage, but I still loved that zippy feeling when driving a car. Therefore an SUV was already out of the equation. They’re just too big for my taste, and a small SUV doesn’t provide that much value proposition.
The current Civic is the tenth generation in the family. With competition around the world growing increasingly intense over time there is so much at stake for Honda. I’m sure their designers tried really hard to win back the heart of its fans. The front design is pretty good as it features a sharp and modern look with DRLs installed as standard across all models, and the back side gives a hint of the liftback design. The rear brake lamp is too awkward in my opinion, as Honda should’ve gone to a more horizontal design. The good thing is that the long wheelbase makes the door opening wide, making it easy for family members to get in and out of the car.
The interior is where I like to be the most, because it is spacious and has clever storage - useful when you have young kids. On the central console you will get a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - although it doesn’t have built-in GPS, you can use your map application. There’s a small compartment below the phone deck where you can plug your cable in and keep the mess hidden. The driving position is really good, and the seat is comfortable, meaning I didn’t have any problems in finding the position that “clicks” with me. Remember the long wheelbase I mentioned earlier? That really helps in the back seat area, giving it a lot of room for the kids not to feel squishy and contained. A central armrest is useful to hold drinking bottles and small toys. The boot space is huge, making it really easy to load prams, groceries and even a small bike. Those last two items serve as a big tick for a car in small sedan class. The bad things about the interior is that you don’t get the niceties of material; it’s a base model and it’s more function over luxury. One other thing annoys me is sometimes you can hear rattles in the dashboard, although my car had only done 14000km on the clock.
Time to turn on the ignition and hit the road. The 1.8-litre engine is easy to live with for an everyday car, and what I mean by that is it doesn’t give you crazy acceleration, or a raucous engine sound that can make you scream “Hail Megatron!” But it’s powerful enough when you step on it when you need to. What I’m surprised with is how the CVT behaves, because it’s not like the old boring one. It seems to be sensitive enough to know when you’re going to need a downshift, giving you extra RPM - and that’s a good thing. Put it in Sport mode and it holds the RPM in a higher state - but you don’t get any paddle shift/stick to change up and down, which is too bad. Anyway, going back to the road; entering corners, the steering feels sharp enough to follow your command, the suspension and the tyres feel solid and confident to hold the body, making your weekend getaway a little bit more fun. The fuel consumption is pretty good too, as with my 50km daily commute in Melbourne’s notorious traffic, the computer trip usually displays 7.2 - 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
A couple of other things to close my review is about safety technology. This base model is equipped with the necessary ABS, ESC, cruise control and also hill start assist system - but it’s lacking active safety technology such as AEB, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, etc. It doesn’t even have parking sensors. My conclusion is that the Honda Civic fits my purpose for a basic everyday car plus weekends with family. It’s a zippy, fun to drive, and economical car that is spacious enough for a young family; although it’s possibly worth spending the extra dollars to get the safety technology installed to the car and going up a level or two rather than the base VTi.