Having had that epic whinge, I need to point out that this dashboard and touchscreen layout has a lot of redeeming features. It is clear, the display looks great and the instrument cluster equally so. The green ring around the tachometer that glows when you’re driving efficiently is rewarding to look at too. I did acclimatize well and came to love the slider control on the steering wheel for volume. I’ll give Honda that one.
I’ll also pay the argument that their dashboard and interior design is clean and futuristic.
I expected the infotainment system to hinder me forming a bond and enjoying this car but in the end it really didn’t. I think the Android Auto helped a lot with that, but also the other redeeming features.
Aesthetically, the new Civic is all killer, no filler. From the angled, space-ship taillights to the command-centre cockpit and the detailed front end the Civic packs an aesthetic punch previously unrivalled in the segment. There are equally good-looking cars, but this one visually looks like a leap forward. It has made the others seem dated in one fell swoop.
The 174 hp/162 lb-ft turbo 1.5L engine is a genuine gem. I remarked in an earlier update that I found it coarser than I expected but as time grew I noticed that less and less. In the meantime the power was accessible nice and low making the Civic feel peppy around town and making short work of any overtaking moves I needed to make elsewhere. The CVT transmission is well-matched and the result is a smooth drive. Even the CVT drone I was expecting was pretty much non-existent. Cars fitted with a CVT often feel like a manual with a slipping clutch when you put your foot down, not so here. Somehow Honda has tuned it to give good response.
This is the company that produced one of the best manual transmissions in the marketplace, so maybe they’ve managed to put that knowhow to use in the CVT era. If they were all like this one, we’d whine about them a lot less.
Fuel economy is rewarded too. We drive almost all city, my stop-start commute is murder on the petrol tank yet we finished the three months on an average of 7.8 L/100 km. That number compares well to the official ratings of 7.6/5.5/6.7 L/100 km city/highway/combined.
So far this year Civic sales are up 11 percent year-on-year and I predict that to continue. The new Civic not only has curb appeal but will win over most people who drive it. It’s priced well and has Honda’s reputation behind it.
One of my neighbours asked me recently where the Civic went – I explained that I’d returned it as its test was complete.
“Oh I just bought one!” he said. “What did you think of it?”
I told him I think he made a very good decision.