Marcus De Guzman / Kelvin Christian Go | August 11, 2017 10:07
All Fired Up
If there is one car that has impressed us all at AutoIndustriya.com, it would be the tenth-generation Honda Civic. Quick, comfortable, spacious and sleek in design, it comes as no surprise that the new Civic (codenamed FC) is popular. It's a powerful, high-tech and (dare I say) practical turbocharged sedan, but what if one wanted a bit more flair and pizzazz with their Civic?
If that's the case, there's the Modulo Sport; essentially a ‘power suit’ for the FC Civic, it gives the car a more eye-catching presence thanks to the array of Modulo accessories.
The design may already be a year old, but the quasi-fastback sedan FC Civic still oozes aggression and sophistication. I've already said it before, but the Civic gives off the illusion of motion even while standing still. This is due to the fact that the four-door has a long hood, short deck design which the highlights the car's low stance and wide track. The long flowing lines and flared wheel arches and also give the Civic more character than the previous generation.
As this is the Modulo Sport, the car comes standard with an array of goodies that make it stand out from the rest. It gets unique front and rear bumpers, along with distinct side skirts and exhaust tips. The rear spoiler carries over from the standard RS while the door sills have new side step garnishes. Fitted in the wheel wells are matte black 17-inch alloys which also come from Modulo. While they look good, I would have liked them more if they were finished in gunmetal or silver. Shod around those wheels are Yokohama Advan dB tires that measure 215/50. All in all, I liked how Honda was able to subtly spruce up the Civic without overdoing it.
As always, the interior of the all-new Civic is always a nice place to be in. A mixture of futuristic and traditional design encompasses the cabin, along with acres of soft-touch plastic, leather upholstery and faux metal trim. The three-pod instrument panel will always be a sight to behold, especially when you start up the Civic and see the start-up sequence of the digital rev counter, speedometer and multi-info display. Smooth leather wraps around the three-spoke steering wheel which also benefits from a telescopic rack.
The Civic has one of the most natural driving positions in its segment. Everything is within reach from the 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and my feet were easily able to get into a comfortable position. The leather seats also have good side supports which came useful when driving spiritedly. There is also plenty of space for the rear passengers thanks to the 2700mm wheelbase. With the sloping roofline, Honda actually made the rear bench lower to accommodate taller passengers, a nice touch if I do say so myself.
In-car entertainment is provided by a seven-inch tablet-inspired touchscreen that fits neatly on the center dash. It supports several inputs including AM/FM radio, USB, Aux, Bluetooth and navigation. There's even Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. While I do like how easy it was to navigate through the menus, I do wish that they make the system respond to commands quicker and update its processing speed. On the plus side, the system does have great audio quality.
There's even a dual-zone automatic climate control that keeps the cabin cool. Only trouble is, one can only adjust its fan speed and cooling function via the touchscreen. While I do like its quirkiness, I would have liked it more if it had more tactile buttons and dials. At least the temperature control can be adjusted with dials.
Delivering power to the wheels is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo with i-VTEC and Earth Dreams technology. Despite its small displacement, the engine produces a healthy 173 PS along with 220 Nm of torque. For the first time, there is no manual gearbox available for the PH-spec Civic. Instead, it gets one transmission option, an Earth Dreams-developed continuously variable transmission (CVT).
A small engine it may be, but there's plenty of power available on tap. Plant your foot on the accelerator and gobs of low-end torque is sent to the front wheels. There is some turbo lag as the Civic does make use of a single turbo only, not a twin-scroll. The benefit however, is that it has smooth power delivery. Paired with the CVT and the Civic RS actually makes for a nice cruiser.
Take it for a stroll around town and the Civic is a well behaved runaround. If one keeps the revs low, one can drive the turbocharged Civic like a naturally-aspirated four-door. This can be done by avoiding to spool up the turbo for it to not generate boost. Around town roads and city streets, the Civic will average around 9.0 km/l. If one wanted to be a bit more frugal, the Civic RS does have an Eco Button.
Hit the highway and the healthy power output means the Civic can easily overtake almost any vehicle on the road. While some may lament the loss of the manual gearbox, the CVT actually keeps the engine at optimal boost. What this means is that the CVT actually avoids the unnecessary drop in revs on a traditional automatic or manual gearbox. For those that want a more engaging drive, the Civic RS comes equipped with paddle shifters. Drive it sensibly on the open road and it will return about 15 km/l. Not bad for a turbo four-cylinder.
Don't mistake the Civic's looks and on-road performance for it to have a bouncy ride. While it is sporty, the Civic actually has a pliant ride. It's suspension is firm enough that it allows the car to take on corners, but soft enough to give the occupants a lofty ride in any situation. Rough roads and rutted streets pose no challenge to the FC Civic, while body roll was practically non-existent. For a car that feels a lot bigger than its actual size, I have to commend the engineers for making the Civic a cozy and agile car.
So the Civic RS Modulo Sport has good looks, great handling and ride quality, and a punchy turbo engine. But what about its price? With the additional exterior goodies, the Modulo Sport actually retails for Php 1,537,000. Compared to the standard RS (which already sells for Php 1,425,000), the Modulo Sport is Php 112,000 more expensive.
This puts the way Modulo Sport way above the competition which may be off-putting for some. But for those that want their Civic RS looking sharp and ready for action, the Modulo Sport is the way to go. If one wants their Civic painted Orchid White Pearl, be prepared to pay an additional Php 20,000 (this goes for any variant).