07 February 2012

First image of RHD 9th generation Honda Civic

We have witnessed the photo of 9th generation of Honda Civic since July 2011, but all of them are in Left Hand Drive (LHD) format, meant for Arab and mainly China market. The other photos are mostly irrelevant, as the USDM model are different aesthetically exterior wise, and the European version is simply a dream over here in Malaysia. Massive flood in Thailand did not help either, as surely this has a significant impact on Asian CKD program. Just ask Honda Malaysia when the City FL will arrive!

1.6L model photo here, it lacks the front fog lamp
Wait no more, thanks to the Singaporean market. Singapore is one the market where most car for all specs are being sold here. Furthermore, if there is a model for Asian Right Hand Drive (RHD), Singapore is very likely to have it first. So here it is, perhaps, a first ever RHD model for the ninth generation Honda Civic.
Side profile is not as solid and slab sided like FD, but sleeker. Like large Honda City though
Contrary to conservative Honda marketing in Malaysia, Singapore Civic can be quite choicely specified. For the 8th generation, not only it has a range extended down to 1.6L capacity, the interior color also is not fixed, unlike Malaysian buyer who can't choose the interior color of their Civic.
Fussier than the FD, but half a year of exposure has made the design easier to the eye
While it is not yet clear on the interior color, the Singaporean bound Civic can be bought in one of the four option. The entry level is 1.6L, followed by the 1.8L and the ICE-driven is topped by the 2.0L variant. Green environmentalist can opt to get the Hybrid version. The engines are carried-over from the 8th generation, while being upgraded for "greener" green-credential, which include items like the ECO button. More after the jump.
R16 photo here, exclusive for Singapore market only due to their tax structure
The 1.6L is powered 1,598cc lump which kicks out 125PS@6500rpm and 151Nm@4300rpm. The 1.8L version meanwhile is 1,798cc in capacity and still producing 142PS@6500rpm and pulled 174Nm@4300rpm. While the 1.8L model retained its innovative R18 engine,the designation has been moved from R18A to R18Z, perhaps indicating some internal massaging has been done. The 2.0L version has shifted from the current K20Z engine to the newer R20A engine, whose 1,997cc lump now produced 155PS@6500rpm and 190Nm@4300rpm. I don't know if this is coincidence or what, but note that the peak power and torque occurred at identical engine speed for R16, R18 and R20. Perhaps they are really modular and behave really identical among each other.  The Hybrid is powered by the 1.5L engine hooked to the IMA hybrid assistance, which is an improvement from the outgoing 1.3L Hybrid setup. There's no transmission option other than the 5 speed automatic for the pure gasoline and CVT for the hybrid. Hardly a disadvantage, but in the days when Kia is sprinting with 6 speed automatic, and its parent Hyundai is allegedly developing 9 speed autobox, Honda's 5 speed torque converter, by virtue of number, appears so 70's.
Light detailing, no fancy stuff here. Rear reflector mimic Accord, but looks cheap

The exterior design of the 9th generation has been widely debated since half a year ago, but for a recap, the new Civic continues to adopt a mono-form body silhouette like the current FD generation, but the overall shape has been fine-tuned with sleeker aero touch and the packaging has been improved too. As a results, engineering wise, the 9th Civic is 30mm shorter in wheelbase, 5mm shorter overall and 15mm taller than before. However, aesthetic-wise, the 9th generation Civic looks a bit like the elongated Honda City, which is subjective verdict of course!
Layered IP layout retained, but boxier in execution. Design greatly simplified. Chunky steering though

Smaller foot print does not resulted in cramp interior. More spacious in fact

Despite the reduction is wheelbase, cleverer packaging has resulted in greater rear knee room, courtesy of lower floor mounting. Boot space is 14L up too, which now stands at 464L. However, there is a distinctive proved of cost cutting judging by the amount of hard plastic utilization. Gone are the days of FD Civic shiny silver coated gear console, and in comes the black, straight and finely textured plastic. The audio and stereo controls too has been subjected to similar reduction in aesthetic expensive-ness. Perhaps its Honda 2012 theme, to offer that "slightly-cheapened-feeling" across the board, from Civic to CR-V (like what reported by Autocar UK in 2012 CR-V review). For greater comparison with the FD Civic, head to MMN comprehensive design comparison articles based on GCC model, click HERE. The taste of China version can be seen HERE.
Simple gear and centre console. Consistent cheapness across the board. 

According to Oneshift test drive report, the 9th generation of Honda Civic is generally quieter, with better NVH quality all around. While the engine is a smooth-revver, the lack of additional gear ratios has make the gearbox hunting extra hard for gears. The handling is a tad better than the current one, which is due to slightly shorter wheelbase which upped its agility. Interior space is on par with current car, with slight improvement in rear knee room. However, the greater portion of hard plastic is not negligible as there are aplenty of them.

For a recap on the specs, the new Civic is 4,525mm long, 1,755mm wide and 1,435mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,670mm.  As for the chassis hardware, the new Civic continues to be suspended by McPhersons strut up front, while rears are taken care by the double wishbone geometry. Brakes are disc all round, with the front one ventilated.  For the rest of the detail equipment level, it is pointless to elaborate as Singapore car can be significantly different is its spesification compared to Honda Malaysia version. It is wiser to wait for our local model to arrive first.

Speaking off Malaysian version, since Singapore has never been capable in manufacturing their cars locally, it simply means that the parts supply chain for the RHD version is not on stream. While even the Japanese haven't been introduced to this new Civic yet, some form of production should be already on the way, albeit in Thailand if not in Japan. So Melaka made new Civic should not be too far off. I don't think we are going to get the 1.6L version though and Civic is marketed as semi-high end model in Malaysia, furthermore the 1.8L pricing is quite keen at sub RM120k. If the 1.6L is priced at RM110k, there is a possibility that it will encroach into the Honda City territory.  

Souce of photos and drive impression : Oneshift.com

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