The Honda Civic sedan received a mid-life refresh late last year and we’ve spent some time behind the wheel of this mid-spec model the 1.8 Elegance arguably the sweet-spot of the range.This model is the 10th generation Civic and embodies a fairly overt departure from the Civic sedans of the early 2000s. It has a low and wide stance, the ride height is only 127 mm but we assure you that’s more than enough to travel over the everyday lumps and bumps you may encounter.
The subtly updated exterior offerers the Civic an upmarket aesthetic with dual-colour alloy wheels and lashings of chrome about the front grille. There are sharply chiselled lines on the front end and a proud three-dimensional bumper. The rear swoops down similar to that of GT four-door coupè but a regular sedan style boot-lid remains melding into a short rear overhang. I’ve found myself liking the design from some angles and not from others. As ever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Once inside it’s refreshing to sit in a vehicle with a low easy to adjust seating position. Unlike the Corolla the Civic offers oodles of adjustment in the steering column and the seat can be jacked up nice and low to the ground. Regardless of your seating position, you can always see the carved bonnet wings making it easy to place the car on the road. The interior materials are mostly very posh with soft leather seats, pleasantly tactile switches and soft-touch finishes on the dashboard and in the door inserts. There are, however, some hard scratchy plastics on the lower reaches of the facia but nothing that doesn’t feel absolutely nailed together. The high-quality materials are great but its the intuitiveness of the layout that really impresses with all the controls falling easily to hand. It seems as though some manufacturers overlook this being distracted by the unnecessary use of the infotainment centre. A clear-to-read digital drivers display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the easy to use infotainment system make for a slick and modern feeling cabin.
On the road the Civic prefers a laid-back driving style and it rewards you for doing so. The CVT will allow the motor to tick along at a low 1 500 rpm at a 110 km cruise with road noise is pleasantly hushed. In terms of comfort and suspension absorption, the McPherson strut system up-front and the multi-link setup at the rear do a good job of keeping the ride supple as well as body roll in check. The Civic is refined and one of the quietest rides around but is let down by a lack of overtaking punch. If you mash the pedal you won’t make much more progress than you would at half throttle. If you don’t hurry along fuel efficiency is more than acceptable for a vehicle of this size and you’ll make the progress you’d need to as long as you aren’t in a hurry needing to overtake slower moving trucks on a dual-lane motorway.
The Civic sedan has been updated with just enough class and polish to justify the price. Its a quiet and comfortable cruiser that’s larger inside than the dimensions suggest. If you can forgive the lacklustre engine and enjoy a smooth cosseting ride that the Civic 1.8i Executive offers much in a dwindling segment.
In a nutshell –
Honda Civic 1.8 Executive CVT
Standard heated seats, spacious interior, comfortable and supportive seats, the rock-solid sense of Japanese reliability
Performance is sedate and more expensive compared to the equivalent Corolla makes it a hard sell
Engine: 1 799 cc, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 104 kW @ 6 500 rpm, 174 Nm @ 4 300 rpm
Performance: 0-100km/h 10.1 sec (claimed), top speed 200 km/h
Tyres: 215/55 R16 Yokohama Advan dB
Economy: 6.3 l/100 km (claimed)
Transmission: CVT automatic
Luggage capacity: 430 litres
Fuel tank: 47 litres
Price: R408 500