Monday, May 23, 2016

Used Car Review - Honda Civic (2012-2016)

Myk Belmonte checks out the subdued appeal of an otherwise sporty car.

2012-2016 Honda Civic

Everyone knew what happened in the latter part of 2008 with the global financial crisis crippling nearly every car manufacturer around the world. The Detroit Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) went into serious trouble with two of them declaring bankruptcy and flying to the White House just to ask bailout money, the Japanese experienced falling sales despite their vehicles meeting the people's needs during that time, and the Koreans bucked the trend by having an increase in sales.

Honda developed the ninth generation Civic at the height of the global financial crisis in which led the company that consumers (during that time) wouldn't care about high end features and top notch quality as long as the vehicle was fuel friendly and affordable. That mindset cost them against several models such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, which sold more in the United States and became more plushier and of high quality. Initial reviews were poor and Honda introduced a quick update for 2013 in the US. Different countries get different Civics of this generation like most get the sedan, Europe has hatchback and wagon versions, and the Type R is the remaining variant from the nameplate sold in Japan, as the Nippons prefer minivans and hatchbacks.

The Civic nameplate is one of the popular ones in the Philippines, especially it was Honda's best seller for several years and beating the Corolla in the sales race. Things went bad for Honda Cars Philippines as the latter part of 2011 they had to endure the crippling effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Thailand, with the latter causing them stock depletion. Launched in February 2012 in the form of the EXI variant which featured stability control, side airbags, cruise control, back up camera, and 60/40 fold rear seats which was later on removed in models imported from Thailand that saw introduction in July of the same year. Updates occurred in May 2014 which was its mid-life change that had the upper models wear Modulo or Mugen bodykits and the deletion of the manual transmission while November 2014 had the manual and the non-bodykit variants return.

Value and Costs
Nowadays, you may score for a ninth generation Civic at the tune of P580,000 to P750,000. Unlike older iterations of this model that are commonplace in the used market, this one comes out a few times in the classifieds block and online selling sites. Do take note that Japan sourced models are a rare specie, since only a few were brought in and sold for a limited period of time, so if you were able to spot one for a low price you've got a winner here. For the Thailand imported units, better head for the facelifted units since these were better equipped than the older ones.

The good news for the 1.8 engine it is the same with the previous generation (albeit with slight differences) which makes maintenance costs somewhat lower while the 2.0 engine has some shared components with the CR-V. Like any car, do check the vehicle for any hidden quirks and problems since these may be a bargain point, slashing the overall price.

Exterior and Interior
You may know or not know this one but this one shrunk in size in all aspects which was one wrong move that they did in developing this vehicle, especially that cars aren't going smaller each time they are redesigned. Outside, you may tell it looks bland and designed during a lazy rainy day or worse, take a clay replica of the Civic FD and have some changes outside. Yes, some say this lost its mojo but think of this one as a rocker college dude who wears a suit and tie during their graduation ball, mellow and subdued. Facelifted models had the 1.8 E wear Modulo bodykits while the top end 2.0 EL gets Mugen ones.

It is the same banana when you go inside, gone are the daring and futuristic interior and in place is a more silent looking interior which has a luxurious appeal. Some details from the previous generation model were retained such as the two tier instrumental gauges which has two levels for the speedometer (don't worry, it is still digital) and the tachometer. New additional items for for this generation include rear folding seats, cruise control, and an LCD screen situated beside the speedometer which lets you view vehicle settings, audio settings, average fuel economy, or even the time. One negative inside are some cheap interior fittings, a step down from the predecessor.

Sure, the R18Z1 1.8 carrying 139hp at 6,500rpm and 174Nm at 4,300rpm and the R20A5 2.0 having 153hp at 6,500rpm and 190Nm at 4,300rpm are either carryovers from the FD Civic or shared with other Honda vehicles, but these are solid performers. One new feature is the ECON driving mode which adjusts the drive-by-wire throttle control unit to improve fuel consumption. Still, this vehicle is rev-happy and has that kick known for.

Driving Impressions
Does this one still drives like the older models? If we are to answer, although it has some sportiness in it, it drives more in the veins of a luxury sedan. The previous generation model was criticized for hard seats and its ride is on the firm side, good thing it received more comfortable seats and a softer ride although high speeds will punish you with lots of noise.

Honda had experienced troubles and making some bad decisions which had cost them their reputation and image. Yes, it trades in the sporty image for a more mature image which caused some fans to look elsewhere. But in the end, Honda made an evolution by making it more mature than before, although this one lacked some character and appeal.

The Good:
  • Comfortable to be in
  • Feature loaded Japan sourced model
  • Peppy engines
The Bad:
  • Not for everyone
  • Noisy
  • Some cheap touches
The Pick: 1.8 S

Engines: 1,799cc R18Z1 and 1,997cc R20A5 I4 gasoline
Power: 139hp @ 6,500rpm (1.8), 153hp @ 6,500rpm (2.0)
Torque: 174Nm @ 4,300rpm (1.8), 190Nm @ 4,300rpm (2.0)
Fuel Consumption: 8-10km/L (city), 10-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear double wishbone

Price (New): P948,000-P1,378,000
Price (Now): P580,000-P750,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sylphy, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla Altis
On Sale: 2012-2016

Honda Cars Pasig - (02) 988-1288

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