Since its launch in 2016, the 10th generation Civic has quickly become a staple on Philippine roads. Its combination of seductive styling, sporty driving dynamics, spacious interior, and fuel efficiency makes it an excellent all-rounder. There’s no right or wrong variant with this Civic, thanks to its ability to conform to each buyer’s need. About four years since its initial release, how does this Civic, specifically this mid-grade 1.8 E, stack up against the newer competition?
Honda Cars Philippines managed to sell 2,511 of these in 2019, putting it on top of the compact passenger car sales chart. One reason for its popularity is the Civic’s fastback profile, which received a refresh last year. The changes, however, are so subtle. Not that it’s a bad thing, since its futuristic and modern design has aged really well. Honda’s designers only changed the alloy wheels and front bumpers for this iteration, giving it a slightly more dynamic look than its predecessor.
Likewise, the Civic’s only major change in the interior is very minimal, most notable of which is the revised 7-inch touch screen infotainment system. Nevertheless, the Civic’s interior is still reasonably stylish and upmarket. Soft-touch plastics adorn the top of the dash and door trims, though if a premium experience is what you’re looking for, the Mazda 3’s interior is considerably more luxurious. Still, plus points for the sheer amount of practicality, as expected in a Honda product. The center console is ginormous, with a very configurable cup holder situation. Plus space for the front occupants is generous with plenty of support in the seats for long drives.
It’s the same situation at the back, which has always been a Honda strength. The Civic still offers one of the most spacious back seats in the class, despite the car’s swoopy design. Likewise, trunk space is also very generous for the class, offering 428 liters of space behind the rear seats. Of course, if you want more space, you can always fold down the rear seats.
As for the infotainment system, the software is still the same, but the most important change is the addition of hard buttons and a volume knob, replacing the capacitive soft keys that aren’t to everyone’s liking. This makes the infotainment system easier to use since you do not have to take your eyes off the road just to know what or whether you are actually pressing on the button. The interface is alright, if not groundbreaking, and the overall response could be better. On the upside, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Being the 1.8 E, this means it is powered by a 1.8-liter inline-4 i-VTEC petrol engine that produces 141 hp at 6,500 pm and 174 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine is mated solely to an Earth Dreams CVT with Sport Mode (S in the gear selector), but no paddle shifters. This engine is relatively powerful for the displacement it has, and that’s largely felt out in the open road.
While CVTs are notorious for its ability to drone the engine, that’s not the case with this Civic, or any Honda with a CVT for that matter. Put your foot down, and the transmission does its best to mimic a traditional torque-converter automatic. Fake gear ratios give the illusion that the Civic actually has real gears, which means there are none of the constant dronings of a CVT constantly holding the revs of an engine. It puts the power down to the road in a linear fashion, giving the Civic a good amount of pull whatever the situation.
Take this car onto a twisty road, and the Civic happily obliges. The steering becomes weighty as you go faster, and along with the responsiveness it provides, the Civic is one of the default choices in the class if you want sportiness out of your compact sedan. Yes, most people buy a Civic as a way to commute from A to B with no problems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun during your commutes to the office.
Despite the relatively sporty nature, the Civic rides well over bumps and potholes. Its cushy independent rear suspension and well-tuned front suspension is part of why it also has a reputation for being a safe bet to anyone simply looking for a compact sedan to be driven on the daily. It just so happens it offers much more dynamism than something as vanilla as a Corolla.
Fuel economy is likewise a Civic strength, aided by the fact that this has a CVT. If 10.3 km/l during a week’s worth of use isn’t frugal enough for you, then I don’t know what is.
The Honda Civic has always been a safe bet for those anyone looking for a reliable and comfortable compact sedan but with a level of sportiness and dynamism. Its ability to be many things to many people is why ever since this generation’s release, the Civic has dominated the compact passenger car sales charts. With competition getting ever more fierce, the Civic still manages to stand tall–a testament to Honda’s ability to overengineer a car that’s way beyond the customer’s expectations.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.5 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.