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It’s getting closer now, the new Honda Civic. Following Honda Thailand’s through-the-generations Civic heritage video to usher in the tenth-generation model and the spotting of lightly disguised units roaming the streets, Thai journalists have been given the chance to briefly sample the new Civic on track ahead of its official launch. Initial specs have been confirmed, along with the release of these four on-location shots.

The tenth-gen Civic, looking very striking in this dark shade of grey, will be powered by a 1.8 litre engine carried over from the previous generation. The SOHC i-VTEC unit has an unchanged 141 PS and 174 Nm of torque, but the R18A is now paired to a CVT gearbox in place of the current car’s five-speed torque converter automatic.

But the powertrain you’re more interested in is the 1.5 litre turbocharged engine, which replaces the 2.0 litre NA in the Civic line-up. The downsized, direct injection VTEC Turbo unit, with intake and exhaust valve timing control (Dual VTC), is claimed to have the performance of a 2.4 litre naturally aspirated engine, but without the big NA’s fuel consumption.

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Rated at 173 hp at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm, this Euro IV L15B7 DOHC motor is paired to a CVT automatic with steering paddle shifters. Thailand used to have a manual transmission base variant, but the 10th gen Civic is automatic-only. Honda is currently testing a 1.5L turbo + 6MT combo in the US, but such a variant is unlikely to reach our region.

Other under the skin points include EPS steering, front MacPherson struts, rear multi-link suspension (stabiliser bars at both ends) all round disc brakes (fronts are drilled, ventilated), twin tailpipes (strangely hidden) and 17-inch alloys with 215/50 rubber.

Available equipment on the range topping 1.5 Turbo RS include LED headlamps, LED rear signature lamps, front electrically adjustable seats (eight-way for driver, four-way passenger), dual-zone auto air-con, keyless entry with push start, cruise control, Honda LaneWatch, engine remote start, seven-inch touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay, navigation, reverse camera and six airbags, among other things.

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First revealed in October last year, it didn’t take long for the 2016 Civic to win its first award, the 2016 North American Car of the Year. We’ve already detailed the tenth-gen, and you can dive deep into the new model’s dimensions, construction, chassis, powertrains, safety and even accessories.

By the way, the “best ever Civic” wasn’t just benchmarked against traditional rivals like the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra/Sylphy, Mazda 3, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Cerato, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta; but also “luxury compact class vehicles” like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. The premium-badged Europeans were used as benchmarks for ride, handling, steering and NVH, as well as interior quality and refinement.

The Civic FC’s Thai launch is just around the corner (next month’s 2016 Bangkok Motor Show would be a fitting stage), and we’re expecting the radical-looking C-segment sedan to surface in Malaysia later this year. Excited yet?

2016 Honda Civic


Honda Civic through the years