So, after week and a half of driving a 9th gen Civic 1.8, here’s a short review of the car.
Car look much better seen in real life, than in pictures. For those, who don’t like the design – I would encourage you to see the car somewhere – you may change your opinion. Body panels seem to be well-fitted. I don’t like the gaps around the hatch door. You can almost put a finger in there. The door should be fitted more tightly in my opinion. But other than that, everything’s fine for me.
Overall feeling of good quality. Everything’s seem to be well put together. Materials are also very good – soft dashboard! I really like the design and love the rev gauge in the center. Nice thump sound when closing the doors is reassuring. Good “hugging”, sporty seats. What I (or my passengers from the back seats) don’t like is the fact, that under the front seats there’s no place for feet. Passengers at the back can’t stretch their legs.
Controls are, generally, well-placed. Climate control buttons could be located higher and made bigger, perhaps – I always have to look first, before I change the temperature. Radio on/off button is placed in a stupid place among the radio station change buttons and is quite small.
Could do with more storage place in the cabin. Glove box is pretty big but aside from the armrest compartment and door-side pockets this is basically it.
The boot is huge! And when I say huge, I mean HUGE!
Engine is still a little bit tight, but it’s getting smoother and more powerful with every driven kilometer. It’s barely audible on idle, has nice gurgling sound up to 4k rpm. Above 4k rpm it’s typical 4 pot vacuum cleaner sound. i-Vtec here works by turning into something like eco mode, from my observation, below 3k rpm, if you take it easy on the accelerator. It’s very quiet then. When you press it harder, there’s sometimes a slight hesitation and then the engine starts to pull quite strongly, with a sporty sound.
The engine seems a little bit sleepy up to 4k rpm. Above that there’s a small wave of power coming in. The bigger one comes after around 5.3k rpm. I haven’t redlined it yet but in higher revs, the engine is quite strong. I have to say I like this sleepiness in lower revs, because it lets you drive the car very smoothly, and then if you want, turn into a naughty mode, by waiting with the gear change a little longer. It's not a speed demon, but effortlessly propels the car.
Econ button? No way. Throttle response is so week, that it can be dangerous and certainly irritating. In heavy traffic you can never close that gap before somebody pulls out in front of you. Now I know how truck drivers feel. The economy is not worth the stress.
Start/stop button? It’s good if you stop for more than 10 seconds, but I found it shutting off the engine on every stop, which is irritating if you drive in a traffic jam and you start and stop every few seconds for a long time. It stops even a cold engine in winter which is, for many reasons, stupid. I’d like to be able to program it so that it does not engage automatically with every ignition. I don’t like turning it off each time I start the engine and would prefer to just turn it on when I feel it’s of some use.
But overall, engine is smooth, has a nice pull in higher revs, has pleasant sound, and is quiet when treated gently.
Fuel consumption? 9.4-10l/100km (on the computer) (90% heavy traffic) but the engine is still not fully run in and I have a heavy foot.
Stiff, sporty, the body feels firm and very well put together. The car goes where you want it to go. It gives you a lot of confidence. People criticizing the use of a torsion beam should drive the civic before they start bitching. The suspension, although sporty, takes even the bigger potholes with a reassuring thump. When driving above 130 kph on bumpy surfaces the car becomes fidgety because of the stiffness. Softer suspension would take the bumps in.
However, in spite of the stiffness, the ride is quite comfy.
Few turns from lock to lock allows for good tight-space maneuverability. Also, every movement of the steering wheel is translated into a correction of the car’s route. There’s no dead-play.
VSA system is late to intervene but it's OK with me. When it does it seems quite brutal in extreme situations but maybe it should. It can, for example, slow a wheel to stop the car from understeering.
Brakes are OK.
Back visibility through the back window is poor, but I got used to it. The wing mirrors are so big (like in a van!), that it’s not a problem.
To sum up:
+Great design, that grows on you
+Very good quality
-Suspension can be fidgety in straight line on bumps at higher speeds
-Low roof line at the back, and lack of free space under front seats not good for tall passengers