Ninth gen­er­a­tion de­liv­ers the goods

Smaller out­side but even big­ger in­side than re­cent Ac­cords, Honda’s new Civic has ar­rived in New Zealand, Dave Moore writes.

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

When you com­pare the first Civic of 41 years ago with the new ninth gen­er­a­tion ver­sion the only con­nec­tion is the name. Con­nect the dots of each Civic through the years and it all forms an ex­po­nen­tial growth curve, mean­ing that newer smaller Hon­das have slipped into the range to do the orig­i­nal Civic’s job.

The 2012 Civic Sedan range ar­rived in New Zealand this month and the good news is that de­spite its ex­tra cabin vol­ume most mod­els are cheaper than the equiv­a­lent out­go­ing ver­sions.

As be­fore, the 2012 Civic is avail­able in three ver­sions with the man­ual 1.8 S model start­ing at $32,900 com­pared with last year’s $33,800. Au­to­matic, asks an­other $2000.

The 1.8 S uses an im­proved ver­sion of the pre­vi­ous 1.8-litre I-VTEC petrol en­gine, de­liv­er­ing the same 104kw and 174Nm of torque, though the fig­ures do not im­part the im­prove­ments in the mid-range with a flat­ter, more amenable torque curve, that is no­tice­able on the road.

The 2.0 S model is an au­to­matic-only and comes with leather and a power glass and shade two-way sun­roof, and asks a rea­son­able $38,500 com­pared with the old car’s $40,500.

The 2.0 S still uses a 2.0-litre I-VTEC four­cylin­der en­gine but this time in­stead of be­ing a sep­a­rate twin-cam unit, the en­gine is now an en­larged ver­sion of the smaller sin­gle-cam­mer, putting out 114kw and 190Nm of torque.

Fuel con­sump­tion for the 1.8 is listed at 6.8 l/100km in man­ual form and 6.7 with au­to­matic, and the 2.0 litre re­turns 7.5L/100km com­pared with the ear­lier model’s 8.4 l/100km.

The hy­brid Civic costs a lit­tle bit more at $43,500 thanks to im­prove­ments to the model’s pow­er­train which is now closer to that of the com­pany’s re­cently-launched CR-Z hy­brid sports car, though un­like the Z car the Civic can still be driven on electricity alone.

The hy­brid is pow­ered by a Jazz Sport-de­rived 1.5-litre petrol en­gine, paired with the lat­est ver­sion of Honda’s in­te­grated mo­tor as­sist sys­tem, pro­duc­ing a com­bined 82kw and 172Nm.

All the new Civics have a nose-down, tail-up at­ti­tude, a neat soft-wedge pro­file. The win­dow sil­hou­ette is nar­row and crisp, and pointy lozenge­shaped front lamps slide into the new smi­ley-face chrome-mous­tached grille.

The hy­brid adds a wee ves­ti­gial spoiler, its own unique IMA hy­brid grille and blue tones to its head­lights and tail lights.

From the rear, the new car looks a lit­tle like a minia­turised C-class Mercedes-benz, which is a good move, be­cause the rear of the old car could eas­ily be mis­taken for the Holden Cruze sedan.

CIVIC SEDAN: The 2012 Civic Sedan range ar­rived in New Zealand this month and the good news is that de­spite its ex­tra cabin vol­ume most mod­els are cheaper than the equiv­a­lent out­go­ing ver­sions.

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