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The Malaysian automotive industry may have been overshadowed this year by the new Perodua Bezza, but the launch of the new Honda Civic is still one of the highlights of 2016. The talk of the town until a couple of weeks ago, the tenth-generation FC model carries Honda’s hopes to propel the Civic nameplate back to the top of the C-segment after the disappointing outgoing FB.

Today, we have here the range-topping RM135,800 1.5 Turbo Premium variant for your perusal – it’s the most expensive of a three-level range that also includes the RM113,800 1.8S and the RM127,800 1.5 Turbo. All prices are inclusive of insurance and a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

Visually, the new FC Civic marks quite a departure from the FD and FB models that came before it. The distinctive “monoform” design of previous generations has been substituted for a sleek, sporty fastback design, with a glasshouse that swoops elegantly towards the rear of the car.

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At the front sits Honda’s Solid Wing Face, with slit-like headlights (full-LED here, halogen projectors with LED daytime running lights on other models) linked by a full-width chrome bar. The sporty front bumper has three air intakes low down; fog lights are fitted as standard, with the Turbo Premium gaining LED units.

Moving back, the teardrop shape of the glasshouse is accentuated by a rising shoulder line and a sweeping line above the front wheel arches. After two generations of having the mirrors mounted on stalks on the door tops, the FC reverts back to traditional A-pillar-mounted items. This Turbo Premium variant receives chrome door handles, while the others make do with body-coloured units.

At the rear, there are distinctive C-shaped tail lights with LED light guides, although the rest of the functions (brake, indicators, reverse) still use bulbs. The rear bumper design mirrors the one at the front, and hide dual exhaust tips on turbocharged models – these variants also gain 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels instead of the 1.8S’ smaller 16-inch items.

A legacy of the FC’s US-led development are the side markers located on the sides of the tail lights and ahead of the front wheels, which are compulsory in America – these indicate the length of the vehicle.

Speaking of length, the new car measures in at 4,630 mm long and 1,799 mm wide, making it a full 105 mm longer and 44 mm wider than the ninth-gen FB it replaces. The larger footprint is coupled with a 19 mm reduction in height (1,416 mm) for a sleek appearance.

Inside, the FC moves from the FD and FB’s dual-tier dashboard design to a more conventional one reminiscent of the current City. Instead of a small speed readout above the traditional analogue rev counter, the new car has a regular instrument cluster, although all Malaysian-spec models come with a full-colour LCD screen for the rev counter, speedometer and multi-info display.

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There’s a very HR-V-esque tall transmission tunnel, with storage space underneath and HDMI and USB ports, as well as a 12V power socket. An electronic parking brake (with an auto brake hold function) frees up space for twin cupholders and a massive console box underneath the armrest.

Standard kit on all models is very comprehensive and includes keyless entry, push-button start, Remote Engine Start (starts the engine and air-con within a 10-metre radius) and Walk Away Auto Lock (locks the car in 30 seconds, or once you are beyond two metres away), cruise control, single-zone automatic air-conditioning and an eight-way powered driver’s seat.

Also fitted on all models is a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with a touch-operated slider for controlling volume, as well as a Display Audio seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a multi-angle reverse camera and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

Turbo models gain leather upholstery (with a Mazda 2-esque carbon-effect centre stripe), an auto-dimming rear view mirror, paddle shifters and brushed aluminium trim, while the Turbo Premium also adds navigation and dual-zone auto air-con.

Safety kit is also top-notch, with all models gaining six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and ISOFIX child seat anchors. Unfortunately, none get the Honda LaneWatch blind-spot monitor that is fitted on the Thai-spec 1.5 RS.

Under the bonnet, buyers get a choice of two engines. The cheapest 1.8S variant gets a 1.8 litre SOHC i-VTEC naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that has been carried over from the previous-generation Civic. Outputs are rated at 141 PS at 6,500 rpm and 174 Nm of torque at 4,300 rpm, sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

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Higher-end models receive the new 1.5 litre direct-injected VTEC Turbo mill – related to the engine in the Jazz – that develops 173 PS at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm. Honda claims combined fuel consumption figures of 6.3 litres per 100 km on the 1.8 litre model and 5.8 litres per 100 km for the 1.5 litre; the latter will also do 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, versus 10.4 seconds for the 1.8.

Want to know how the new 2016 Honda Civic drives? You can read our review – all the way from Chiang Mai, Thailand – here. You can also browse full specifications and equipment of all Civic models, as well as compare them against its competitors, on CarBase.my.