Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: October 12, 2020
The Civic platform is as diverse as it is iconic. Offered as a classic four-door sedan, two-door coupe, or even a hatchback, there are plenty of ways to get your commuter fix. And enthusiasts pining for some extra spice from the drivetrain will find plenty to like from the Si and Type R models. Everybody knows about the Civic, and everybody has or knows someone who owns one. It’s the deity of fun, affordable, and cost-effective automotive tools, and that claim clearly hasn’t changed for 2020.
The tenth-generation Civic was launched back in 2016, and we couldn’t stop praising its tight handling, wonderfully rigid and balanced chassis, competitive pricing, and ergonomically sound interior. Hopping back into Honda Civic in 2020 spec in the fully-loaded Touring guise only reminds us why it’s our favourite Japanese compact sedan.
The exterior styling was always a hit or miss with most people, but after a few years of constantly being exposed to them in traffic, I’ve come to accept the sharp angles, sloping roofline, and messy front end. It has aged rather well for what is essentially a five-year old car. Most vehicles get a refresh once they hit the half decade mark, so we should be seeing a brand new Civic soon.
The same goes for the interior. It’s a clean and minimalistic design with plenty of clever storage cubbies and pockets, as if Marie Kondo had a say in the final blueprint. The flurry of plastics decked out over the dashboard and center console comes with the price, but when you look at the new Mazda3 GT and its luscious leather dashboard and Teutonic-levels of craftsmanship, you can’t help but feel a little sour with the Civic’s plastic-heavy look. What hasn’t aged so well is the infotainment unit. Messy and unintuitive, the frustratingly limited 7-inch touchscreen has us utilizing Apple CarPlay any chance we get. At least there are hard buttons flanking the sides of the screen for high-use functions, as well as a proper volume dial. Honda listens to customer feedback, after all. Case in point? The new 2020 Civic Type R.
The moment we stabbed the throttle and swung the wheel, we remembered just why the Honda Civic received so many praises about its wonderfully agile and lithe driving dynamics. It comes with no horsepower trump cards or fancy suspensions, rather it’s good old-school chassis balance, an engaging steering rack that remains faithful to the front wheels, and a relatively responsive turbo-four engine. While not exactly biblical, it is more than enjoyable for the average driver. Much of that lies with the characterful 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-four engine. With just 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque being routed through a CVT, it’s not an enthusiast-grade spec but the gearbox is relatively muted and does without the harsh vibrations and noise that typically comes with CVTs. Acceleration is fluid and gentle, building up boost and speed without much drama, but there’s enough in the barrel for quick overtaking on highways.
The Honda Civic is not a car you would brag to your friends and family about, but it’s the understated vehicle of the decade, providing eager driving dynamics with an affordable price tag for the masses, an engaging steering rack to satisfy spirited drivers, and a practical silhouette for those with cargo volume and passenger capability as a top priority. The best part is that the traits follow through no matter the body style. Coupe, sedan, hatchback. Have it your way. The Civic remains as attractive as ever.
Model: 2020 Honda Civic Sedan Touring
Paint Type: Aegean Blue
Base Price: $28,900
Price as Tested: $28,900
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,630 / 1,798 / 1,414
Curb weight (kg): 1,339
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-four
Horsepower: 174 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 162 lb-ft @ 1,700 - 5,500 rpm
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD