Honda Civic reborn

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Compared to the 2017 Honda Civic 1.8 E, which I had test-dated a short time ago, the 2018 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo had some upgrading on the body.

A wing spoiler topped her rear, and a glossy jet black grill complimented her sleek LED headlamps with daytime running lights.

This more provocative and aggressive sister stood symmetrically low with perfect aerodynamic proportions, too.

Inside, the multi-function keyfob will not only lock/unlock the car doors and pop the trunk, but also remote-start the engine and automatically turn the air-conditioning on—a very convenient way to cool your hot car interior before you get in.

You could also quickly release all that interior heat by pressing the unlock-button for a few seconds. This rolls down all four windows.

The car comes with a state-of-the-art alarm system, immobilizer, push-button start, and a smart key system. You never have to remove the keyfob from your pocket or bag to open the doors, trunk, and even to start the engine.

Have you ever locked your keys inside a car? No problem. A smart chip in the keyfob makes sure you never lock your car with the keyfob in it. It just won’t lock.

Walking away from the vehicle with the keyfob in hand locks all the doors, turns off all the lights, and arms the alarm system. Just make sure you turn the engine off first.

The 2017 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo is fitted with leather seats, leather shift knob, and door and dash accents neatly trailed with white stitching.

The whole interior feels solid, and yet soft to the touch. The ladies will love the lighted vanity mirrors on the sun visors.

The newly redesigned tapered shoulders of the front seats are actually very comfortable. They also make the whole compartment look roomy.

Great driving position and correct pedal placement made it a pleasure (with less fatigue) to drive. The driver is rewarded with an eight-way adjustable power seat.

Both driver and front passenger are protected with front and side airbags. The rear passengers can be assured they will also be safe with the side curtain airbags installed on each side.

This is the largest Civic to date. There is so much leg and head room at the rear, it can sit three adults comfortably.

The ergonomic design prowess of this sleek compact car truly amazes. The rear 60/40 folding seats add so much versatility to the already huge trunk space.

What more can you ask for? Maybe a 3-point retractable seatbelt and adjustable headrest for each of the three rear passengers? Plus perhaps Isofix (the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars) as standard feature?

The tilt/telescopic steering wheel did not really grab my attention. It looked like it had control buttons from a Nintendo 64 game pad. It may look outdated, though, but it was full of functionality: cruise control on the right, and full audio/phone/connectivity/info menu controls on the left.

The paddle shifters, just slightly behind two control panels, give you manual override for the responsive Earth Dreams CVT transmission.

As soon as you touch the engine start/stop button, the on-board computer boots up with a ballet of digital lights, and a well-laid-out LCD instrument panel comes to life.

Every information you need, such as audio, mobile, connectivity, fuel efficiency, turbo boost, and compass is at your beck and call.

It also is in sync with the main nav, reminding you when to turn using arrows and meters.

A 7-inch TFT-LCD infotainment system touch screen seems to project itself out of the center dash. Some may like it flush with the dash, but you’ll like the way it grabs your attention. It is a command center for audio connectivity, smartphone connection, bluetooth/WiFi, Internet browser, settings, info, downloaded apps, dual zone climate control, and rear parking camera.

The multi-mode screen is also used for navigation. Its main menu and features are similar in format to the high-end Garmin GPS brand. It’s also Apple IOS CarPlay- compatible.

You’ll love the gadget storage and connectivity tray with a 12v aux power sitting below the center console and hidden from view—a great feature to hide all the wire-spaghetti and gadgets, yet still remotely controllable through the infotainment screen.

Use it to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to play your personal music. Use your phone’s mobile data to listen to your favorite online music apps or radio stations. You can even surf the Internet via WiFi, or play downloaded movies via HDMI connection.

I converted the 7-inch infotainment screen into a television by connecting my digital TV box to the HDMI port—a mecca of endless entertainment possibilities.

Strategically placed on the side of the CVT shifter lever are the brake hold button, electronic parking brake switch, and the econ switch.

It has a deep and large center console bin with two cup-holders and an adjustable sliding armrest. Hidden inside is an aux USB charging port for rear passengers.

In total, the Civic has four cup holders, and four bottle holders.

This car can talk. Its warning system speaks through the audio system.

For example, it warns you or your front passenger that the seat belts are unfastened. It keeps on telling you till you give in to its command.

Starting from Pasay City, my 227-kilometer drive brought me to Bonoan Binloc, Pangasinan, located in between Dagupan City and San Fabian.

On its long stretch of beaches, you will find black sand with some traces of tiny shiny bits supposedly from the gold mines of Benguet flowing through the Cayanga River.

A picturesque coastal highway to La Union via Damortiz is off the beaten track with the Lingayen Sea and sunset on your left following every curve of the car.

I drove on high-speed highways and paved provincial roads all the way to Bonoan, and it was the perfect chance to test the Honda Civic RS Turbo’s power and speed.

There never was a dull moment behind the wheel. Under the bonnet is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC Earth Dreams VTEC turbo engine with 173 horses capable of 216 Nm of torque.

It was so responsive and quick. The turbo kicks in at about 1,700 rpm, with the power seemingly endless. I never doubted its ability to overtake on a whim—it just never let me down. I love this car.

It easily did zero to 100 km/hr in 7.89 seconds. You should hear the engine’s roar when that turbo pressurizes. Yes, I floored it several times, and I bet this car could do more than 180 km/hr without much effort.

What made this ride truly magical was its economy. I averaged 21 km/l on my less aggressive drive back home to Manila.

Steering through tight turns was sharp and responsive. It rides low, and grips the corners with smooth cutting accuracy.

This Civic is equipped with vehicle stabilization assist, 4-wheel disc brakes, and ABS with electronic brake force distribution, thus making it reliable and dependable when you need it most.

Other features include one-touch lane change signal and hill-start assist.

I drove over a lot of uneven patches of road, and I was pleasantly surprised with its low road noise. Even though it had large 17-inch wheels and tires, it rode pretty smooth, quiet, and comfortable.

Honda has put a lot of attention to noise by adding sound deadening sheets underneath the carriage.

For an additional P400,000, you can get 35 added horses, and of course, the racing red RS and turbo badges.

This is the 10th generation Civic, the most popular Honda model in the world, and it is back with a vengeance—a Civic reborn—larger, faster, sexier, and more economical.

No wonder it was chosen as the Car of the Year by the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI).

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the compact 2018 Honda Civic 1.5 L RS Turbo a perfect 10.



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