26 October 2011

2012 Honda Civic Asia - clearer details on China 1.8 VTi

In mid September, we have seen the China version of the 2012 Honda Civic. It was photographed at Chengdu motorshow and the picture variations are quite limited. Almost two month down the road, the car has start to filter out to dealership and more photos are now available. This is the first time we see the new interior in black color. It managed to somewhat hide the cheapness-look to certain extent, but not by much. We can also see that the Navi screen does help a bit to reduce the awkwardness of jumbo button audio system, but again, not by much. For coverage of 2012 Honda Civic at Chengdu Motorshow, refer to my previous post at http://malaysia-motoring-news.blogspot.com/2011/09/honda-civic-sedan-debuted-at-chengdu.html#more . The review of Arab spec 2012 Civic can be read at http://malaysia-motoring-news.blogspot.com/2011/08/honda-civic-arabasia-first-design.html#more

Externally the new 2012 Civic Asia is slightly smaller than before. The length is now stands at 4535mm (5mm shorter), 1755mm wide (no change), 1450mm tall (+15mm) and rides on 2670mm wheelbase (30mm shorter). Despite this the trunk space is 14.15 litres bigger, due to more efficient packaging bringing it to 464 litres now. Weight has been trimmed by a shade too.

The weight reduction and increased in interior space is the indirect results of using High Strength Steel (HSS) in the body structure. As much as 55% of stamped panel is made from this material. The utilization of HSS typically results in lighter structure for a given strength and the reduction is reinforcement panel liberates more  usable space. Lightweight plastic parts are employed in engine bay and fuel tanks too.

Apart from that, the 2012 Honda Civic also employed more aerodynamic drag reduction device. Under bumper air guides, flat under tray and front and rear spats are among the incorporated bits and pieces that contribute to a more slippery aerodynamic profile.

In China, there are 3 variants of 1.8l namely base model 1.8 EXi, 1.8 VTi and 1.8 VTi Luxury. The 2.0l model meanwhile is available in Type S guise and Type S Luxury. The model we are looking into detail here is the 1.8l VTi.

Exterior Design - body panel, engine compartment, lighting and closure design
The new 2012 Civic is one non-adventurous example in design department, with plain styling for pretty much everywhere you look at. This has been debated in many internet media for quite sometimes. This version is however miles better than the USDM version which is plain and lack any garnishing to lift up the looks.
No horizontal bar in lower air intake like the Arab/US model. Foglamp has chrome surround
Rear end is similar to Arab model, except the Chinese lettering

The signal indicator is at the inner end of the headlamp instead of outer edge like USDM model
Good integration of headlamp with fender, hood and grille. But not for the gap between bumper and fender
Chrome garnish on the grille
More after the jump

Rear combi from side view. Again bumper gap with body does not looks zero gap
Foglamp has chromed housing, all in meshed pattern side air intake
Side mirror with simple integrated indicator, gone is triangulated design of FD generation
Chrome door outside handle in recessed door panel with depression surrounding the handle
Soft wiper as in current FD Civic
Engine compartment of 2012 Civic
Headlamp mounting bracket, hood stand base and front structural design

Hood insulator fixing and front portion of hood inner panel
Hood stand bar

Flat undertray for improved aerodynamics
Interior Design - seats, door trim, instrument panel and boot
The VTi spec gets an all-black interior including black leather seat with white stitching. The swath of darker shade has toned down the el-cheapo feeling perceived from Dubai review earlier. As mentioned in my previous articles, there VTi version has gained a silver strip on the door trim unfounded in the Dubai cars. But for the China spec cars, the silver insert for the door trim is found on VTi model onward only as the base EXi car has the same door trim as the Dubai car observed earlier. 
The instrument panel is slightly inclined towards the driver, with the center console angled to the left. As expected, overall architecture is boxy, with clearly defined edge for all panels. The middle portion of the instrument panel is in lighter hue, painted in dark silver. Same color treatment is found in the gear console too, which now is a simple rectangular affair. The air conditioning control (auto aircon in VTi) is mounted lower and in simple rectangular black panel.
Front cabin section
Rear seat accomodation
The separating lines of top section of instrument panel flows into the door trim above the door inside handle and then dived down towards the armrest. Upper section of the door trim and instrument has different texture treatment from the lower section. White stitching on the leather and silver accents break the monotone of the interior. The power window switch panel is unpainted.
Floor console has many variation of material, texture and colour. The main centre console below the gear is all black with bigger grain, while the rest is more finely textured. Silver paint is used surrounding the gear level and handbrake base panel. Twin cup holder is covered by sliding  lid painted in similar shade of silver with very minimal chrome used in its handle.
Another view of floor console. The base panel is silver painted all-the way to the armrest. From this angle, the cabin can be summarized as all-black affair punctuated by silver garnish with minimal expensive chrome.
Illustration of front door trim design, with silver insert on VTi model onward
Closer inspection of leather covered front door trim armrest
Closer look at the silver panel insert at the VTi door trim
Driver's door power window switch
Door inside handle and lock knob are silver paint . Note different texturing in upper and lower portion of door trim
464 litre of boot space with split-fold seat back. Lower and side wall are trimmed in carpeting material
Seat folding mechanism in the boot. Boot hinge is goose-neck type which eat some space when closed down
There is also a luxury version of China 2012 Civic VTi. It gets the touch screen Navigation unit. The cabin look is as below.

The images above depicted that the China Civic differs only slightly to the Arab model. The slightly different front bumper air intake design, chromed fog lamp surround and different interior trimmings. It remained to be seen how the Japanese model is shaping up although it would be a very tall order to expect a total redesign of exterior and interior details. However, with no right hand drive Asian model in view yet, there's still a hope. But, more likely than not, this is the Civic we have to live with for the next 6 years.

All photos are from autohome.com.cn