Test Drive: 2010 Honda Civic Sedan Sport car test drives honda
2010 Honda Civic Sport. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2010 Honda Civic

Almost five years after its introduction, the eighth generation Honda Civic is still at or near the top of the passenger car sales charts in Canada. This is surprising when you consider that it’s not available as a hatchback – it’s offered only in sedan and coupe bodystyles – whereas its arch-rival, the Mazda3, is offered as a sedan and hatchback. (The Corolla is also offered as a hatchback, but it’s called the Matrix).

I often wonder how many Civics Honda Canada would have sold had they imported the sharp-looking Civic hatch from Europe.

Even after five years, the Civic’s aerodynamic styling still looks quite stylish when compared to its competitor’s recent redesigns, such as the Mazda3 sedan and Corolla sedans’. Inside, the Civic’s unconventional two-tier instrument layout, with digital speedometer on top of the dash and a traditional tachometer behind the steering wheel, was a bold design move in 2005 that could have derailed Civic sales – but to the surprise of critics, including me, it didn’t – although it’s worth noting that no other vehicle manufacturer has rushed to copy Honda’s dash design.

Test Drive: 2010 Honda Civic Sedan Sport car test drives honda
2010 Honda Civic Sport. Click image to enlarge

It will be interesting to see what Honda will do with the next generation Civic which is supposed to arrive in 2011 as a 2012 model. I’ll be rooting for an additional hatchback model and a new instrument panel.

Changes for 2010

For 2010, there are no major changes to the Civic sedan, except for the addition of a centre armrest and auxiliary port on base DX models. The Civic sedan is still offered with the basic 140-hp 1.8-litre SOHC 16 valve i-VTEC four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. As before, the Civic Si sedan gets the high-revving 197-hp 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve i-VTEC engine and a six-speed manual transmission, while the fuel-efficient Civic Hybrid develops 110 combined horsepower out of its 1.3-litre SOHC 8-valve i-VTEC four-cylinder engine and Integrated Motor Assist electric motor and generator. The two-door Civic Coupe also uses the 1.8-litre motor while the Civic Si Coupe uses the 2.0-litre powerplant.

Test Drive: 2010 Honda Civic Sedan Sport car test drives honda
2010 Honda Civic Sport. Click image to enlarge

The Civic sedan Sport ($21,780), which was introduced last year, is sandwiched between the DX-G sedan ($19,580) and the well-equipped EX-L model ($23,680). Over and above the standard equipment in the DX-G sedan, the Sport adds 16-inch tires and alloy wheels (up from 15-inch), four-wheel disc brakes (from front disc/rear drum), body-colour mirrors and door handles, chrome exhaust tip, power heated mirrors, power tilt/slide glass moonroof with sunshade, variable intermittent wipers, unique black cloth seats with contrasting silver stitching, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, leather-wrapped steering wheel, outside temperature display, map lights, rear centre armrest, and USB device connector.

Our test car was an Alabaster Silver Sport sedan with the optional five-speed automatic transmission ($1,200), a Freight charge of $1,395, and air conditioning levy of $100 for an as-tested price of $24,475.

Test Drive: 2010 Honda Civic Sedan Sport car test drives honda
2010 Honda Civic Sport. Click image to enlarge
Driving impressions

Though it’s called the Sport, this Civic has the same 140-hp 1.8-litre engine as the base DX and premium EX-L Civic sedans – it doesn’t get the 197-horse 2.0-litre engine of the Civic Si sedan, or its six-speed manual transmission. But it does get rear disc brakes, an upgrade over the DX’s rear drums, and 205/55R16-inch all-season tires, an upgrade over the DX’s 195/65R15-inch all-seasons.

The Sport designation refers mostly to its appearance: sporty 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, chrome exhaust tip, body-coloured door handles, sunroof, and rear lip spoiler spruce up the outside while a unique velour/cloth black and white seat covering is unique to the inside.

As far as performance goes, the Civic Sport is on par with the other non-Si models: according to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, 0 to 100 km/h comes up in about 8.6 seconds (with manual transmission) and you can probably add about a second with the automatic transmission. AJAC also recorded a 100 km/h to 0 braking distance of 42.8 metres.

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