Since 2016, one of the most popular sedans on the market has been the Honda Civic. The model got a lot of attention back then thanks to its 1.5-liter turbocharged motor found in the top-of-the-line trim. The RS Turbo was the first turbocharged Honda in the Philippine lineup, and it also was one heck of a looker. Fast forward 5 years and the 10th generation model is reaching near the end of its lifespan, but as old as it is, is it still a worthwhile buy?
Judging by the leaks and the news about the 11th generation Honda Civic, it seems that the big H is creating something that will appeal to more mature audiences. As progressive as it looks, the 10th generation still captures the youth and eagerness that we have come to love with the Civic.
The edgy lines and slimmed down face following the latest facelift make the Civic a head-turner for those that pay attention. It’s still a great-looking car. On top of that, the aftermarket is ripe with a lot of dress up parts and body modifications that owners can purchase to change up the look of their car. Many have already done this, turning their Civics into replicas of more performance-oriented models like the Type R and the Si that’s only available in the US. Whether or not you should modify your car like that is all a matter of preference. However, even without these modifications, you’re still left with a good looking car.
Tired or Tried Performance?
It was great then, it’s still great now. The 1.5-liter motor is still one of the best in the business. With 171 hp and 220 Nm of torque, you can expect an exciting drive. Paired with a stable and comfortable chassis, and you have a car that will give you a sporty drive, with a not too sporty ride.
Thanks to its multi-link suspension, even on 18-inch wheels as found in the RS model, we were pleasantly surprised at the ride comfort as per our testing. It absorbed bumps and potholes with ease, and when you wanted to, the car handled sharply. It was point and shoot for us, and the engine was able to power out of corners with ease.
It still has one of the best CVTs in the market. While other models with CVTs feel a bit numb, the transmission in the Civic RS Turbo is sharp and noticeably more eager than its competitors. Lower trim levels don’t get paddle shifters and the turbo motor, but they do a decent job in terms of responsiveness and maximizing the engine, just don’t expect it to be as exciting as the RS.
If you’re used to seeing cars with 10-inch infotainment screens and fully digital gauge clusters, you will be half disappointed in the Civic. In 2016, the infotainment screen wowed us not because it had herculean proportions, but because it was a fully-featured unit. In a time where Bluetooth was just about the most advanced tech that you can have, the Civic beat everyone to the punch with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard for the 1.8 E and the 1.5 RS variants. As time went on, the 7-inch display size “shrunk” compared to 8-inch, 9-inch, 10-inch, and even 12-inch screens.
The gauge cluster also is a bit dated by today’s standards, not with the information it displays, but the screen has lower in resolution and refresh rate compared to the newer systems coming out in new cars. Don’t get us wrong, it is still a great display, and it certainly looks cooler and more refined compared to budget digital clusters found on more affordable cars.
All-in-all, the loadout is what you expect from a car today. We still rank the Mazda3 higher in terms of tech specs because of its 360-degree camera system whereas the Civic only comes with a backup camera and no sensors whatsoever. It’s manageable, but we were hoping for a bit more following the refresh, perhaps Honda’s blindspot camera could have been a wonderful addition, as found on the CR-V and the Accord.
So is it worth it?
If you ask us, the price tag of P1,615,000, more if you want it in white, is out of reach for many. We’re not too keen on the price because the Civic is a bit old already. Pre-excise tax, it was a great buy under P1,500,000 for the RS model, but the years following weren’t so kind to the compact sedan. If you wanted a Honda Civic RS back then, it was a great value proposition. You get the latest tech and the best engine that can be had in the Philippine lineup prior to the Civic Type R. Now, however, it’s a different story.
If you want turbocharged power, but in a 3-cylinder package for a lot less, you can get a Geely Coolray, which retails for just about P1,200,000. You’re also getting a crossover with more ground clearance and a bunch of other tech features like a larger display, and active park assist.
If you’re hunting for more power and the CVT grinds your gears, then you could go Korean and opt for the Kia Forte GT. It has 201 hp, and a 7-speed DCT, which won’t be so great in traffic but a joy on the open road. The only downside to this option is that you’re not getting as nice of an interior, and a semi-independent suspension. It’s also priced around the same as the Civic RS.
If you want a car that handles better than the Civic, has a better tech package, and arguably is more of a head-turner, then the Mazda3 sedan or Sportback will suit you. What you give up are space and a turbocharger, but it’s priced lower.
At this rate, it seems like we’re beating on the Civic a bit too much. Granted, the platform is older than a lot of its rivals, and its tech pack can use an update, but for Honda Philippines to stick to it so long, and considering the amount of inquiries dealers are still getting, it just goes to show that the Civic has stood the test of time. It continues to be one of the best selling compact sedans regardless of its rivals’ efforts to usurp it.
However, we’ve used the RS Turbo variant as our main point of comparison. For lower trim levels, it’s hard to beat the value of the 1.8 E that comes in at P1,188,000. You get fewer trimmings, but the same tech package as the RS. No turbo though, but it still rides on the same chassis and can serve you well as a daily driver. It’s the most popular variant in the Civic lineup, and it’s also reasonably priced, so if you ask us, if you want an exciting Honda Civic, you will have to pay through the nose to get it, but if you like the look of the Civic, the feature loadout and the fact that it is still one of the more comfortable options out there, then the 1.8 E should serve you well and is worth it for the most part.
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