WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS CAR?
Turbo. Everything is turbo now. And finally Honda jumped into the game offering a thoroughly revised 'everything' to usher in the new era of 'phush, phoosh' driving.
Power form the 1.5 litre engine is 174 hp at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. That's a very wide range where all that torque is available. And it's evident each time we floored the throttle at highway speeds. It approaches triple digits like a housefly that has mistakenly entered a table tennis tournament and got hit by the champs bat.
DOES IT WORK?
Performance is linear due to the CVT. Drop the transmission into sport mode and you get the horsepower about 500rpm lower. It's a big-ish car pulling like a much smaller car. While the steering doesn't convey everything on the roads, it does offer a meaty tactile feel with its thick rim and gradual stiffening at speed.
ON THE ROAD
They've made two significant changes. They have shortened the steering lock to lock form the previous 3.1 turns to 2.2 turns. And the new Honda has fluid filled bushings for engine mounts and lower suspension components for added vibration/noise reduction. The car is quite as a classroom where the teacher has just had an emotional outburst. There are things to learn. One of those is that the turbo blow-off is nearly silent. You don't want drama? This is it.
Also another big change is the profile design. It is now a fastback shape that gives it a sleeker, pouncing shape similar to that Jaguar hood emblem. What car doesn't want to be a Jaguar emblem? And then there is that uniquely cool boomerang shaped rear taillight that ensure everybody knows what just went past. I hate the wheel design though. A butch shape like this needs beefier wheels. Nothing beats a TE37. Our sub-editor Mahbub Hussain dislikes the rear buttresses, and says the rear lip spoiler saves the day. I quite like it.
Everything has been pared down a little it seems. Traditional cues have been brought in to simplify. Gauges and dials are minimal with everything focused on the driver. Turbo guage is the best I've ever seen. I love my buttons but I don't miss the distinct hideaway of buttons here.
The fan should have had a simple dial or button up front instead of requiring access via the display. Car guys would prefer a bit more turbo noise - one of our sub-eds think its too quite for a turbo car. Enthusiasts might want a bit more "phoosh".
We had nearly a full tank of fuel. And it was a weekend. So we drove. And drove. And pushed it to only to see it still returned and average of 12kmpl. Makes you wonder what you can do when you drive gently.
I prefer small cars but this bright red Civic brings together my inner 18-year old hoon and impending mid-life crisis into a civilised coffee meeting. It has left behind all pretense of being an economy car. There is more space than you know what to do with. It handles sharp, goes like stink and stays level on the corners without sacrificing composure over our massive man eating potholes. In the end, it also does everything else you want it to in a city like Dhaka: that is to look better than everything else in its class while keeping you cool.
PRICE: TK 42 lakh
Available at DHS Motors.
Photos: Rahin Sadman Islam