Saturday, June 16, 2007

good motoring
New car on the block
H. Kishie Singh

THE new Civic that Honda has unleashed seems to have met the expectations of the drivers who strive for perfection in four-wheelers.

In short, the car is lovely to look at and delightful to drive. Added to all this are latest gizmos and gadgets that will keep the prospective buyer spellbound. The Civic is available with a manual gear box and an automatic gear box. The auto gear box is a first in the industry. Put the lever into D for drive, step on to the accelerator and off you go. The car will move off in low gear and select the gear automatically, depending on your speed. However, should you need to be in a gear of your choice, i.e. while overtaking you need a lower gear and more power, pull on the pedal on the left side and the car drops a gear. If you pull on the right hand pedal, the car goes into a higher gear. The pedal comprises two levers mounted just behind and on the steering wheel at finger-tip reach. This technology is straight out of a Formula One cockpit. A classic example of the race track providing R and D for passenger cars.

The interior of the Civic is a cockpit design. The speedometer, fuel and temperature gauge are at windshield level, providing a heads-up-display (H-U-D). This means the driver has only to lower his/her eyes only a fraction to read the instruments. Less eye and neck fatigue. The tachometer and other information are housed in a second console which is set in a traditional manner in the dashboard.

It should come as no surprise that the Honda Civic has won nine Indian and 46 international awards. 

The cab-forward design, where the driver and the front passenger sit, allows a clean view of the road. It also gives more space in the rear seat. The sharply raked windshield is in line with the bonnet, which gives the car an exceptionally sleek exterior.

The aero-dynamics are such that the four cylinder, i-VTEC 1.8 litre engine propels the car up to 200 km/hr. True to its design and philosophy, the engine is a single overhead can.

The music system is by Alpine and houses 6 compact discs, mp3, WMA compliant with SVC. That stands for Sound Volume Control. This means that the audible decibel level in the car remains the same. If the sound level outside the car goes up, i.e. road noise, tyre hum and wind noise, the volume automatically turns up. It is linked with the accelerator. The accelerator is drive-by-wire and not cable linked as is common with most other cars. Another first. The handbrake is Z shaped. This means it is located further up in the centre console and creates a space for storage. The arm rest slides back and forth to provide extra luxury.

The Civic has four disk brakes, ventilated at the front, solid at the rear. The brake system is complimented by ABS (anti-skid), EBD (Electronic brake distribution) and BA (Brake Assist ). BA allows the braking to continue in case of panic-braking if the foot has come off the brake pedal.

The leather covered rear seat accommodates three in comfort because the floor is completely flat. Yet another first. The rear seat arm-rest has a set of audio controls in case you are chauffer-driven.

The Civic rides on 195/65 R 15 Bridgestone tyres. The tyres are made in India but the alloy rims come from Japan. Pre-tensioner seat belts are standard as are dual air bags. The crumple zones are there but in addition the Civic features an impact-absorbing structure referred to as G. CON as a result of the G Force Control. It should come as no surprise that the Honda Civic has bagged nine Indian awards and 46 international awards. The price for the 5-speed manual is Rs 10.97 lakh and Rs. 11.67 lakh for the auto gear box.

Happy motoring!