First there was the earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Japan before a further postponement due to a subsequent natural disaster in Thailand in October when a cluster of major component manufacturers that supply Honda’s global manufacturing operations fell victims to massive flooding. After all those trials, would there be tribulations? Has the new Honda Civic been worth waiting for?
Well the honour for Europe falls to Irish motorists because Ireland is the first country in Europe to launch the new ninth generation Honda Civic to the motoring public. In the last few days, I have driven what will be the best selling diesel and petrol versions of the new model.
First to arrive in Irish showrooms is the exciting and highly specified ES 2.2 litre diesel to be followed later this month with the 1.4 litre and 1.8 litre petrol engine options. The range will then be completed next month when all grade levels will be available. The new Civic is available as a five-door hatchback and when the range is complete there will be 11 models from which to choose.
Branded by Honda as a ‘revolutionary evolution’, nearly all of the components are new to the Civic or have been further developed with areas of focus on the suspension set-up to improve the ride and handling over the diverse demands of the European roads.
The designers also focused on maintaining the class-leading interior space of the eighth generation Civic, while improving the overall packaging, the quality of the interior, and space efficiency. Honda claims to have the highest level of standard specification in its class and, on close examination, none of the top-selling contenders comes close.
The new evolutionary exterior design is smoother, giving improved aerodynamic performance and a reduction in weight to raise the car’s overall performance. The new Civic is slightly lower, wider and longer than its predecessor with a styling that further highlights the sporty and modern elegance of the new car. The new styling also results in notable improvements in efficiency, higher performance and lower CO2emissions.
Everyone knows Honda is synonymous with quality and, to reinforce this, the Japanese carmaker recently won the biggest German car quality survey. With the new Civic, Honda's standards of refinement will match the expectations of premium car buyers and should help make conquests to Honda, once they get them test driving.
Honda asked its engineers to improve on everything in the out-going model. With this in mind, the engine and transmission needed to maintain and improve on the high performance driving experience, while improving the overall efficiency of the engine resulting in lower running costs. This has been achieved in the amazing iDTEC diesel, which now achieves nearly 20 per cent better fuel economy. Furthermore, the diesel options now fall into the tax band A category and as such qualify for the lowest annual road tax tariff of €150. The list price of the new Civic SE 2.2 i-DTEC diesel is €24,445 ex-works, while the SE 1.4 i-VTEC entry level model is priced at €21,395 ex-works.
For me the new Civic is much more mature and a more attractive car than the out-going model. The 1.4 petrol version is quiet, refined, and offers confident handling. And do not be put off by the size of the diesel engine at 2.2 litres. It still slots in to Band A and delivers an unmatched sporting performance of any other entry level compact family car. It delivers an exciting 150bhp output and 350Newton metres of torque.
Frank Kennedy, sales and marketing director at Universal Honda Limited, spoke with the Advertiser at the launch: “We have sold more than 42,000 Civics since the launch of Honda in Ireland in 1985 and yet I cannot remember a more anticipated launch than the revolutionary ninth generation which goes on sale this week. The new Civic was exclusively developed for the demanding European motoring environment and we are certainly pleased with the range of Tax A band diesel options, which are so important market in the Irish market.”
Finally, yes you can certainly say the new Civic does its duty and much more.
It has just arrived in dealer showrooms, so if you are in the market for a compact family car that will not disappoint, check it out.