Honda’s radical car designs can alienate some customers but, love them or not you can’t ignore them. This has been the case for the Civic over the last few manifestations, and the latest effort is none the less extreme in some people’s view. The preceding model did little to endear everyone; however, the new one goes a long way to rekindling my admiration for the car.
Still, despite the designers splattering the bodywork with all sorts of flairs, creases, kinks, fins and spoilers, it does look just a tad more conventional than the last couple of models. You do get double takes from those that see it but somehow it gets a more positive response than I remember the old one achieving.
Leaving looks aside, what you get under the bonnet of this week’s test car – the Honda Civic 1.0-litre VTEC Turbo Premium – is what this new car is all about. Like a number of other brands, Honda have gone down the road of a 1.0-litre, three cylinder engine with a high speed turbo. These lighter engines are the trend at the moment as car makers try to entice buyers away from diesel and back to petrol.
Honda does supply a diesel too, and if you are in the realm of high mileage and long commutes then, diesel remains a viable option. On the flip side, with CO2 emissions tumbling and our road tax system encouraging us to trim them even more, these small three-pot power units are now delivering exceptional power and lively performance not known before from engines with such a low cubic capacity.
Honda’s VTEC version is pretty high up there in the pecking order. While it doesn’t quite rev out as far as some past Honda petrol engines, the balance between it and its delightful low-geared transmission and the smaller horsepower allows you happily mix day-to-day driving with a bit of whizzing around in the countryside. It is also really quiet compared to what we get in some others.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.