Summarize

Revised Civic improves a great package

Honda’s recently titivated Civic once again shapes up very well on paper, but how does it do on the road? Very well, actually, if our driving impressions of it are anything to go by. 

Once again, this 1.5T Executive impressed – the little fifteen hundred punches well beyond its weight to driver better than adequate performance. It packs a pretty good continually variable transmission too. 

CVT tech has however moved on a bit since this one first arrived not too long ago and certain direct rivals today also better mask that constantly droning soundtrack. That said, it’s still as as good as a torque converter auto and they promise it’s more economical too. Not that most owners will ever notice the hum anyway.

This generation Civic has always delivered an upmarket feel in a liberally equipped rich-accented soft-touch cockpit and now it’s even more sophisticated and a quieter space thanks to improved noise insulation and an even user-friendlier driver-car interface. That quiet is immediately noticeable, so those new deadening measures clearly touched the spot.

Civic still packs in a surprising level of specification and kit, but the biggest step forward has to be the revisited seven-inch LCD infotainment interface, complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and other compatibility to not just make this the most convenient and connected Civic yet, but it’s far easier to operate too.

That’s thanks to a most welcome return to hard buttons and a convenient volume control knob in place of the impractical outgoing screen touch solution. Our only question is why do we still need to physically accept that we are driving every time we set off, or the screen just keeps snowing…?

It is a Honda, so rest assured it’s well strapped together. Optical updates include a redesigned grille, a bolder, three-dimensional bumper and new styling details to further emphasise that unique Civic style, while fresh chrome detailing further highlights a wide, low stance nicely completed by scythe-spoked 17-inch alloys.

Best of all is how Civic runs – the little 127kW 220Nm Earth Dreams 1.5-litre VTEC turbo petrol four-pot musters maximum torque across a broad band from 1700 to 5500rpm to deliver a creamy drive and quick test results as it reminded me of those pioneering wild VTECs all those years ago.

It's quick – our test kit trapped it at 7.75 seconds to 100km/h and it took 15.6 seconds to reach 400m at 147km/h and then it pulls from 80 to 120 clicks in 5.87 seconds to slots this unassuming Honda sedan straight into the middle of hot hatch territory. Now that’s an unexpected and most welcome bonus! – Michele Lupini

Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Honda Civic 1.5T Executive CVT
Engine:    127kW 220Nm 1498cc turbo petrol I4
Drive: CVT FWD
TESTED: 
0-60km/h: 3.74sec
0-100km/h: 7.75 sec   
0-160km/h: 18.98 sec
400m: 15.6 sec @ 147km/h
80-120km/h: 5.87 sec
120-160km/h: 8.26 sec       
CLAIMED:       
VMax: 200km/h 
Fuel: 5.9 l/100km
CO2: 140 g/km
Warranty/Service 5y 200K/5y 90Kkm
LIST PRICE:         R507K
RATED:    83%