Honda hatchback back with a bang

By BRENWIN NAIDU

ENTHUSIASTS will know that if you want to feel involved and immersed in the driving experience, then it’s best to opt for a manual transmission. One feels as though they are playing an important part in keeping the car in motion, making progress through the power band, rather than simply making steering and brake input.

However, if you’re living in a city like Johannesburg, you have to concede: driving manual isn’t always fun. I often try hard to think if there has ever been a day, driving in Egoli, where I’ve never had to sit in traffic. For motorists in manual vehicles, the congestion comes with that ritual: handbrake up, netutral. Wait. Engage first. Clutch control, handbrake down, move a few inches forward. Stop. Repeat process.

So then, it would make good sense to look around for something with an automatic transmission, if you’ll be driving regularly in such conditions.

The Honda Civic – which really made an impact with its futuristic looks when it was introduced, received a bit of minor nip-tuck some time ago. One of the major additions to the revised version, was the introduction of a model with an automatic gearbox.  Honda’s press release says that while a manual transmission is the usual choice with vehicles of this kind, there is a growing demand for automatic ‘boxes. Now, while there are aesthetic changes, you’ll have to look closely to spot them.

That said, going under the knife has given the Civic a crisper appearance. Up front, it sports a new grille and a slightly tweaked front bumper – it’s subtle, but it helps. They’ve also dressed it up with some sharper-looking 17-inch alloy wheels.

Under the hood, that automatic gearbox is coupled with a 103-kilowatt  1 799 cc engine, and Honda promises a 0-100km/h time of 8.9 seconds.

Attention has been given to the Civic’s innards too, adding new finishes, leather upholstery and nice-to-have features like heated seats – should be a hit in winter.

Expect to pay around R267 900 and R279 900 for the Civic, this includes a standard 3-year/100 000 km warranty and 5-year/90 000 km service plan.

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