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About this blog

How is it like to live with Honda's new Civic powered by a tiny 3-Pot engine? I decided to find out. 

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[Civic 2018] The Drive...

It's been a while since the last entry where I rambled on about the minor details but now for the all important part how does this actually drive. I've done over 5000 Km's now and I guess spend enough time with the car to give my honest feedback on how it handles etc.  I'm not going to dwell on the statistics and figures since that is readily available on the internet - but for formalities sake the Civic comes with the P10A2 engine - Honda's 3 cylinder turbo charged engine which has somewhere between 125-130 BHP.   So the overall driving experience ? Well it's adequate and after the break-in period it seems the car is actually quite eager than it was initially. There is a bit of turbo lag and coupled with the torque at low revs you feel a bit like driving a diesel ....no complaints though.  A question I usually get from some people is whether this model comes with the much maligned DCT - well surprise surprise it does not. Honda have mated the P10A2 with a CVT. Of course there is always the manual and that is actually supposed to be great as per reviews from the UK - but considering I use this car to drive daily to and from work in the colombo traffic I had to be a masochist to opt for a manual (which I'm not - and god bless future me when I try to sell a manual in Sri Lanka ) . Those who have driven the GP5's and Graces know that the Dual clutch set up is actually a blast to drive - which is not the case with the CVT.  My previous car also had a CVT gear box and frankly I'm not a fan of them at all. But then given how DCT's fared locally I guess having a rubbery CVT over a DCT setup is not a huge deal. All grades of the FK6 comes with paddle-shifters  - now I know it's a bit funny to see paddle shifters and CVT in the same sentence but what the setup actually does is have more of a simulated shifting mechanism going when you use them. When you're in normal 'Drive' mode you can use the shifters to change gears but the car is too eager to override you and kind of spoils the fun. However if you change your gear to 'S' then the HUD will display an 'M' indicating that the car is ready to receive manual input and a blinking indicator also indicates when the time is right to shift up. Of course if you don't shift at the right moment the car will give you some time and after a while will override you.  S mode, and the 7-Speed CVT  with the shifters is a little fun time to time but I think  it's there more as a gimmick to be perfectly honest. I will upload a video on this later on  and update the entry.  There  is an ECO mode which can be enabled/disabled by a switch on the gear shifter console. Turning off the Eco mode will give you a more fun driving experience as the car is much more peppier. For more fun on an open road shift to S and use the shifters.  I use the E03 expressway daily and that's where this car really feels  home at. I mentioned the low end torque - around 2250 RPM there is a sweet spot and you can feel that pull. Due to it's dynamics the car feels very well planted and very stable at high speeds. You just feel the car hugging the road and hurtling forward - which is a really nice feeling. The handling is quite good -the steering is a little lifeless but adequately sharp and the ride is very controlled.  I drive an SR which does not have the adaptive damper system found on the EX.  The ride is generally smooth even with some potholes - though I cannot give any feedback about the rear  since I've never actually traveled in the back seat.   Road noise is something I've always associated with Honda's and once again this is no exception though the road noise insulation is comparatively better than that of smaller cars like the Fit.  But it does a good job of cutting out the racket from that noisy 3 pot engine - which believe me is quite loud and rough when you actually open the hood and take a look. But inside the car it's generally quiet.  To sum it up ... Cars with downsized engines for the sake of reducing emissions and improving gas-mileage are not meant to be fast performance cars in the first place. But Honda have tried to give the driver  a bit of feel-good factor with the fake air vents and the paddle shifters and the overall 'sporty' feel. I wish it didn't have the CVT gear box and the steering was a little less lighter. But the noisy little 3 pot engine pulls really well given it's size and the weight of the car.  The 1L Turbo Civic is no Type R but for a bird with clipped wings it flies pretty well.  And now for the FAQ Section ---------------------------------------------------- [1] "Nice car bro how does it do on fuel ? " :   I drive in generally bad traffic I wouldn't claim it to be the worst since I don't travel to areas like Rajagiriya/Dehiwala etc. And the car returns around 7-8 KMPL. On general I get about 10 KMPL in a 50-50 City/Suburban drive. On the Expressway I get around 6L/100Km which means about 16.6 KMPL. On the average long distance drive on non expressways depending on the time of the day the car will do between 12-16 KMPL.  [2] "The car is a bit low isn't it? "  : One fear I had earlier about the car before purchase is it's low ground clearance - somehow I have found it to be ok so far. I recently traveled on one of the most horrible roads I have seen in the western province - it was a tiny impossibly narrow dirt road with immense pot holes and pieces of rock jutting out  leading to an almost forgotten home for the senior citizens where we had to give dinner. It was a hellish drive in pitch darkness but somehow i got through without a single scrape. For a better understanding I will try to upload some daytime pics of the said road.  [3] "Aren't the back seats a bit cramped?" Leg-space wise no. There's quite a lot of leg space . The thing is due to the curved shape of the roof some may feel  that head-space is a bit lacking. The only person to complain so far was my 6'3" /125Kg cousin. So unless you're some  behemoth you are OK. Having said that I must say the Civic is a little too driver oriented with a lot of care given to the driver and lesser focus to the passengers: for instance the seat height adjustment is not available for the front passenger.  It's a little darker in the back too.

matroska

matroska

[Civic 2018] A look at the interior

The first thing that struck me when i sat down to drive this for the first time was the really low seating position - it did not take a lot of getting used to though. The height is of course adjustable and provides a much comfier driving position.  The passengers seat on the other hand though cannot be height adjusted. The rear seats too don't have the fabled "magic seats" functionality where you can fold up the seats to increase space in the rear - but you can fold the seats down to create a humongous amount of boot space - I do not quite remember the exact capacity but it's quite a lot. Due to the shape of the roof , while the rear seats are quite comfortable and have a decent amount of space for your legs you might feel a bit of head room is missing. But it won't really translate into a problem - unless you are from Marhsall Eriksen's family .  The SR grade (and the SE) for that matter comes with fabric seats  - and  the interior is black by default (for all grades) . So no "Baij Interiyal" advertisements on the classifieds for this model then.  The materials for the seats are quite "scruffy" and the interior is a dust magnet. The material used on the seats particularly are prone to attract a lot of dust and small particles of whatnot.      There are speakers on all four doors - something I noticed in other contemporary Hondas as well - the doors also have the same dust-attractive upholstery.   I told you there's only a repair kit - but the good news is there is a bit of space in the rear that can double up as storage space or a spare wheel well - so if you're paranoid about having only a repair kit, you can easily carry around a spare      The cockpit is contemporary Honda fare. The steering wheel itself is quite plush and has a nice feel to it - though the steering itself is light which I will talk about when i have an entry regarding handling. The usual controls are all there including the cruise control buttons and beneath the wheel you can find the paddle shifters (again paddle shifters + CVT is something i would talk about later) The control for the lane keep assistant is also in the steering wheel.    Mind you the Wiper control stalk is on the right and the headlight control stalk is on the left  - takes a bit of getting used to if you've previously driven JDM's only. The "Auto" mode in the Wiper means that it will enable the rain sensing wipers and depending on the amount of rain you get the speed will adjust as well. Nice touch but i personally feel it's a bit too dramatic. If i remember correctly the SE grade does not have rain sensing wipers.  This being the SR grade you do not get a push start you need a key - the Push start button is there only on the EX trim.        With the honda sensing package you get some features like proximity alerts, automatic breaking and lane departure warning. These can be turned on and off and the switches are located near the ignition on the right hand side along with the headlamp leveling switch.  The shifter console includes the parking brake (yes there's no separate lever for that), the brake hold button (so your foot can be taken off the brake in for example color lights) there is also a button to toggle the eco-mode as well as to turn on and off auto-braking. Between these two buttons you would find the adaptive damper  button on an EX-trim car.     There cubby hole is quite small and disappointing given the fact that this is not an alto- and there are no individual cup holders etc - there is a circular holder that can easily accommodate a bottle in the storage area below the slide-able arm rest. This storage area also has a usb port that can be used with the infotainment system. However it has to be said both the usb outlets in front are not in the most accessible places. The other usb slot is practically invisible and hidden by the armrest console along with the HDMI port and  Next to that is the 12V circular power outlet. Mind you there is another 12 V power outlet in the boot as well - handy when it comes to plug in your car vacuum.  There is also dual zone climate control - other than the dedicated climate control panel fan speed etc can be set via the touch screen.   

matroska

matroska

[Civic 2018]First Impressions and the basics

Here's  a write up on my Daily Driver - the new Civic 1 Litre Turbo - I've so far done just a bit over 1500 Km's and  since the engine was new didn't really push it to the max and I have not yet been able to do a really long trip  or a drive uphill to  BUT I will continue to update the blog based  on the experiences as well as services etc.  For a start I will touch the basics as well as all the cosmetic stuff and then get into the overall driving experience and later on the services etc. There is also a dedicated thread in the forum that is quite informative. But I hope this blog will also prove useful to someone.  First of all the basics.... In a nutshell the 2017 Civic is the 10th generation in the line up. The particular model I have, and is getting popular in SL  goes under the model code FK6 and has a P10A2 engine which has a measly 988cc but is turbocharged.
The car is made in the UK (at Honda's Swindon Plant). I have heard that the agents now bring it down as well. (6.2M for the SR) 
There are 3 grades for the 1L turbocharged civic. SE, SR and the EX.  The SE is the most basic model with the EX being the highest (the Tech pack is a further extension of the EX) There is roughly a 5,000 GBP (~ 1 Mil LKR) price difference between the SE and the EX. The SR on the other hand sits comfortably in the middle - it does not have stuff like adaptive damper system that comes on the EX. The Honda UK website lists down the differences of each grade under a section called 'Build your Honda' or something. If you're interested do have a look.  There are 7 colors available and the Rallye Red is the standard . Every other color will cost around 500 GBP more . There is also the  "Orange Line Pack" - which is basically an accessory kit that adds a touch of orange into everything - I've seen a few such cars in car sales in SL. Though I initially contemplated Sonic Grey, ended up with a Polished Metal Metallic specimen.  With the 2017 Budget a new tax structure was introduced and under the engine capacity based taxation  you'd be paying 17.5 m in taxes  (1,754,976 LKR  to be precise) for a brand new car with reasonable creature comforts and a bunch of bells and whistles which costs something between 4-5 mill based on the grade ( see above )   First Impressions  For me the new  Civic hatch  looks like someone started designing and spent too much time  doing a good job with the front and then ran out of time to design the posterior and hastily put an end to it. This explains the rather weird looking behind. The Sedan version I have to admit looks better. There's also waay too much plastic in the rear so much so that it looks like a joint venture between Honda and Arpico.  There's a bit of aggressive styling at the front. The car is quite wide and it has a solid ground hugging look to it.  As for the supposed vents you see at the front and the back - well those are fake. They're simply pieces of plastic made to look like vents.  And yes it does have fog lights. I like the factory fitted black 17" alloys. Note the SE comes with 16" Alloys as opposed to the 17" found in the SR.  Being a brand new car it came with a humongous bible-like user manual (thankfully in English) - along with the wheel lock nut as well as the tool kit and the tire  repair kit (glue and the inflator which by now we are used to)  If any of you intend to buy one from a regular car sale make sure they give you  your wheel lock nut.     

matroska

matroska



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