A lady’s take on the FB-generation Honda Civic

From quick fling to longtime partner
by TopGear.com.ph | Nov 18, 2018
PHOTO: Top Gear PH
CAR MODELS IN THIS ARTICLE

One of our writers once likened the Honda City to a girl who is ‘first- girlfriend material’—or a girl who is okay for the time being until someone better comes along. I reprimanded him for his chauvinism, but what he’d said also got me thinking: If the City were something you’d buy as your first car until you could upgrade, then what about the Civic?

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Some will say it’s the car you’ll stick with—or, to use the girlfriend metaphor, it’s the person you’ll take home to mom. In car-speak, it clues people in that you’re past the first-car phase. And maybe that is what the current-gen Civic really wants to convey: It has gone from being a show car to being a sedate family vehicle.

When the model’s Japan-sourced units hit the country early last year with a not-so-friendly price tag, it got mixed reactions. Honda diehards and purists gave it the thumbs-up; JDM fanatics dismissed it as boring. Later in 2012 came the slightly-lower-priced Thai-spec civics, an example of which is this 1.8 E test car. It goes for over a million pesos like the EXi, and packs featurs like a jack-knife key, automatic door locks, and silver door accents. And here’s a feature that will please ‘spirited’ drivers: It has paddle shifters. That’s something extra you won’t find in the EXi.

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So, what will you miss from its Japan-made counterpart? That one had a backing-up camera, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, Vehicle Stability Assist, a leather tiller, and foglamps. The 1.8 E isn’t exactly a budget alternative, but it’s P66,000 cheaper, and that sum can buy you a lot of other things. Besides, Honda Cars Philippines has long exhausted its stock of EXi units.

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True, the EXi variant does have the JDM premium, but this one’s not bad, too. I can do without the extra accoutrements of the EXi. Besides, it has a decent mileage turnout—11km/L from Mandaluyong to Alabang in Econ mode, for instance. The ride is also pretty comfortable. I had the chance to be both a driver and a passenger in the car, and I can say that I will gladly go on a long road trip in this. It was a joy to ride all the way to Tagaytay, just as it was easy to drive to Mandaluyong. I now understand what Honda fans see in the brand.

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Like with most cars these days, there’s a lot going on inside. But I like that the 1.8 E has just the right amount of toys, like the simple audio panel (no monitors here, just a multi- info display), the Econ button, and the tiller controls, to name a few. Too much technology can be overwhelming. Admittedly, the two-tier dash layout still takes getting used to, but it’s not a deal-breaker. In fact, it kind of grew on me after a while.

So, will I shell out over P1 million for this one? Maybe when I’m ready to settle down in my thirties. (Stephanie Asi-De Castro)

Note: This article first appeared in Top Gear PH’s March 2013 Issue. Minor edits have been made. 

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PHOTO: Top Gear PH
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