When Honda launched the tenth-generation Civic, we felt that it finally went back to its roots especially after a lackluster ninth-generation model. After the EK, many (including us) felt the company lost its way, and tried way too hard to be too conservative with a brand that tuners and enthusiasts worldwide had embraced.
The Honda Civic (FC) sedan got just about all the right ingredients for what a modern C-segment model should be. Modern styling, ergonomic interior, good driving feel and just the right amount of equipment.
Unlike my colleagues, the 1.8 version of this Civic generation is my favorite as I find it a more sensible choice than the 1.5-liter turbo ‘go fast, but not really that fast’ version at nearly half-a-million more.
When Honda updated the FC chassis Civic after three years on the market, we didn’t really know what to make of it. The changes were so subtle that you’d need another look or two to spot the differences. Not that there was something wrong with how it looked, but more of there’s nothing much to change.
It gets a new face with a more pronounced 'solid wing face', the bumper gets the most obvious change with a more consistent look with the contrast elements integrated into one piece. New chrome trims add some highlight to the foglamps. The side and rear appear to be carried over. Finishing off the 2019 look is a new set of gun-metal alloy wheels.
Step inside and the only visible changes will be the infotainment system which gets rid of the confusing ‘slide to adjust’ volume controls on the steering wheel and main control panel. There’s also added buttons for a better tactile feel. Climate control functions were also made independent for easier adjustment. I’m glad they didn’t change anything else as the driver’s seat is one of the most engaging in its segment.
The backseats are quite comfortable and offer a good amount of legroom and headroom. It comes with two cupholders integrated to the foldable center armrest. It's just missing rear air vents, which could come in handy on hotter days. Thankfully, this doesn't have the leather seats; while great to look at and supple to sit in, leather upholstery tends to get hotter if you're parked under the sun.
Under the hood is the same R18Z1 1.8-liter i-VTEC SOHC inline-4 engine which is rated at 141 PS with 174 Nm of torque. Performance-wise the engine is still one of the more powerful units in its segment in relation to displacement and the numbers don’t lie. It’s mated to a CVT which is perfect around the city and flat open roads, but a bit annoying to drive if your route involves uphill roads and steep inclines.
For the frugal ones, you can switch on 'Eco' mode to restrict the engine and climate control for less fuel consumption. Despite being the more urban version, the Civic 1.8 E is pretty much a point and shoot car despite the electronic steering still biased on the comfort side. The right combination of its suspension and wheelbase give it the perfect mix of comfort and handling.
Consumption-wise heavy traffic conditions logged about 7.2 km/l. Normal city driving, on the other hand, yielded 10.1 km/l. Meanwhile, out on the highway, it can easily average 16 – 17 km/l of fuel.
For 70,000 more than the ‘base’ 1.8 S, the E version offers LED headlamps with auto function, remote trunk opening, and additional connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All these are a good value proposition considering that they’re not easily adaptable features that you can get outside the dealer.
For someone who grew up during the exciting Civic generation, it feels like something grown-up but still fun. At Php1,185,000, it is definitely one of the better choices for those looking for a c-segment car, and it comes as no surprise that the Civic is the top seller in the class.