Now hear this
There’s a lot of truth in the view that if you want to improve fuel economy, start with the driver. So, despite all the hightech design aerodynamic tweaks and lightweight materials, there’s one component all the new “green” drive systems
have in common: some kind of driver behaviour adjuster. We’ve become accustomed to a fuel consumption readout and,
more recently, a gearshift indicator to prompt the driver to shift into a more appropriate gear, usually higher. Honda’s
Civic adds coloured bands on the edge of the driver’s line of vision that glow an icy blue if you’re being extravagant, or a lush green if you’re an economy champ. Clicking the Economy button on the dashboard lights up a leafy logo in the instrument cluster to remind you that you’re in Eco mode – not that you’d have missed the significantly less enthusiastic throttle pedal response that follows. In the event, largely thanks to obediently following the in-car nanny’s promptings, our initial around-town figure of 8,4 litres/100 km dropped pleasingly to 7,0 despite a dash out to the country trying to make up lost time in the Honda Civic sedan.
Comprehensively equipped with lashings of gadgetry, leather and a smooth-revving, punchy 1,8-litre engine, the Civic is quite the “pocket battleship” upscale compact sedan.
Coincidentally, at the same time as we were test-driving the sedan, Honda launched the 5-door version of the Civic. With a design aimed at Euro buyers, the Civic is likely to grab attention on the local market.
Honda’s love affair with high-tech displays continues: the instrumentation incorporates Honda’s intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), a colour TFT screen that shows vehicle, entertainment, Bluetooth connectivity and support-related data.
It’s lower and wider than before, but its practical aspects include what Honda says is the roomiest interior of any car in
its segment and a class-leading 401 dm3 boot. A full suite of safety features, from airbags to stability control, is standard.
Engines on the Civic are the familiar 1,8-litre petrol Four, now producing 104 kW at 6 500 r/min and more fuel-efficient
than before, and the 2,2-litre i-DTEC turbodiesel, rated at 110 kW.
Honda says it has completely revised the Civic’s suspension and electric power steering system to improve handling, comfort and stability.
Prices (5-door): from R248 000. Including a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.
Go to New on the block (July 2012 issue) to download wallpaper images of selected cars.