The new Honda Civic has just been launched, and ahead of today’s event we managed to speak to the car’s large project leader Tomoyuki Yamagami. One of the key areas Honda focused on was ride and handling, and the company has apparently aimed high, benchmarking the FE against premium models in addition to the usual C-segment competition.

“Within the C-segment there were the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3; as for the benchmark for the ride we also looked at the Audi A3 and A4 which are perceived as higher-segment [vehicles], as well as the Volkswagen Golf,” said Yamagami.

Particular attention has been paid to improving ride comfort and this has paid off with the Civic already being well-received in this regard, Yamagami added. “We believe this is why we are getting a good response from the countries we have already launched the car in.”

The new Civic benefits from a significant amount of under-the-skin tweaks. The body has been stiffened in key areas such as the subframes and floor and utilises nearly ten times the amount of adhesive compared to the outgoing model. The result is an eight per cent increase in torsional rigidity and a 13% increase in bending rigidity, providing a stable base for the rest of the improvements.

The Audi A3 and A4 and Volkswagen Golf were all used
as benchmarks for the new Civic’s ride comfort

These include more linear and responsive steering, revised suspension components and tuning and new bushings and wheel bearings. The rear track has also been widened to increase stability, while a new Agile Handling Assist (AHA) system applies braking force to individual wheels to reduce understeer in the corners.

According to Yamagami, the Civic has been tested extensively in Europe, where high-speed stability is key – hence the increase in wheelbase by 33 mm. “In crosswinds and when the body turns, the driver can actually feel the improvement in stability,” he said, adding that the implementation of AHA and a stiffer steering rack has clawed back the agility lost by increasing the wheelbase.

To recap, the new Civic is priced between RM125,635 and RM144,350 and powered exclusively by an upgraded 182 PS/240 Nm 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo engine. The car also now comes as standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance systems, such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist and a new Lead Car Departure Notification System. You can read our full launch report for details and our first impressions review to get a feel for how it drives.

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