Hands-on with the all-new Civic

Published December 3, 2021, 8:01 AM

by Inigo Roces

Behind the wheel of the RS variant

Just last week, Honda took the wraps off the highly-anticipated all-new Honda Civic. Launched virtually by Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) on their official Facebook page, the iconic sedan features a new clean-cut look along with a range of high-tech features, and a standard VTEC turbo engine for a powerful and engaging driving experience.

Prior to its launch, Honda was kind enough to give us an afternoon with the vehicle to get to know its new features, details in its design, and most importantly, how it drives.

Mature look

Beginning with design, it gets a pair of newly shaped headlights with Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) standard across the range. The side flaunts a long hood and sloping roofline for added character while its sleek lines give it an elegant and sporty stance. The rear has a new pair of LED taillights. It’s paired with unique wheel options for each variant, 16-inch rims on the S, 17-inch alloys on the mid-range V, and 18-inch matte black wheels on the RS.

Easily the looker of the bunch is the RS variant which gets the lion share of exclusive features like 18-inch matte black wheels, and black finishes on its side mirrors, door handles, sharkfin antenna and trunk spoiler, along with chrome-finished dual-exhaust pipes for a sportier look.

Redesign aside, the Civic has also grown now longer by 29mm and its wheelbase is longer by 37mm when compared to its predecessor. Its front pillar was also pushed back by nearly two inches, which elongates its hood for a premium silhouette. Visibility has also been improved, all thanks to the design changes with its door mirrors.

Driver-centric interior

The 11th generation all-new Civic’s interior bears a minimalist design. It has been finished with quality materials, from its soft touchpoints to the honeycomb pattern found on the vents. Depending on the trim level, the all-new Civic comes in either fabric seats, or a fine combo of suede and leather upholstery exclusive on the RS.

Drivers will notice the new digital instrument cluster. It’s a seven-inch digital display with analog dial for the lower trim levels. Nonetheless, it comes with both audio and Bluetooth functions. The RS gets the full 10.2-inch full-digital which can be controlled by steering-wheel mounted buttons.

For in-car entertainment, all variants come with a touchscreen display audio that either measures 7-inches or 9-inches. Both screens are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable. These infotainment systems power 4 speakers for the S, and 8 speakers for the V. Another reason to opt for the RS is the larger screen with Wireless Apple CarPlay, which means no need for a cable. The RS also gets the 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Keeping cool in the cabin is easy with automatic climate control with rear air vents available for both the V trim and up. Dual zone for the front is exclusive on the RS variant.

Honda may not have mentioned this in the brochure, but the new Civic also has a remote start feature, able to power up the vehicle and cool the engine before you even get into the vehicle.

Other smart convenience features include auto-headlights and wipers, speed-sensing door locks, multi-view reverse camera, and keyless entry system that are standard for all grades. Extras like the LaneWatch Camera (to check your blindside for motorcycles), and the Walk Away Auto Door Lock function are exclusive on the RS variant.

Turbo for all

Perhaps the best feature of the new Civic no matter the trim level is the 1.5-liter 4-Cylinder DOHC VTEC Turbo enginefound in all grades. Formerly exclusive to the RS in the predecessor, all new Civic owners will get to experience the enjoyable performance of Honda’s new Turbo VTEC engine.

It can produce 178-PS and 240-Nm of torque paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).The compact sedan even gets distinct driving modes including Econ, Normal, and lastly, Sport, that is particularly found in the RS variant.

Smart Safety

Truth be told, much of our time with the new Civic was spent experimenting with the Honda SENSING suite. As part of Honda’s mission to provide “Safety for Everyone”, the Honda SENSING suite is comprised of all the most desirable active safety features available today.

These include Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning (RDM with LDW), Auto High-Beam (AHB), and Lead Car Departure Notification System (LCDN).

The new Honda SENSING system uses a single monocular camera with a wider field of view combined with improved software offering better vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian and road marking recognition

It’s the closest we can get to near-autonomous driving thanks to features that constantly monitor everything going on around the car. The systems can also be turned on or off individually making it as safe or less intrusive as desired. It’s best enjoyed in roads like the new Skyway Stage 3, whether flowing or slowing down to a crawl.

It may sound complicated, but it’s quite easy to understand as the graphic interface in the instrument cluster lets you know (via icons and graphics) which systems are working and if there any dangers around.

All-grown up

Perhaps the key takeaway from our short time with the new Civic is how it already feels like a class above. Those still wishing for an Accord will be delightfully surprised to see what the Civic now offers. Its luxurious interior, large car feel, driving feel that can shift from luxurious to sporty, and dizzying amount of convenience and safety equipment all bring it very close to that Accord feeling. That’s certainly delivering more than it promises.