The Honda Civic is and will always be a driver’s car

A new generation Honda Civic is here – that statement surely makes me feel old as I also witnessed the launch of its predecessor some time ago.

Actually, the popular compact sedan has been here since last year but due to health risks at the start of 2022, I never had a chance to try it out on public roads. Well, until recently during a test drive organized by Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. for the members of the media.

It was a quick 250-kilometer round-trip down the Summer Capital of the South in Tagaytay. It wasn’t as extensive as far as our usual reviews go, but it was enough for me to judge the new Civic as it went through its paces. And boy, it was a treat.

First, let’s discuss the most controversial part of the 11th-generation Honda Civic – the design. In photos and at my initial encounters last year, the Civic was right in the middle. I wasn’t enamored by it though I didn’t hate it either. 

But with this recent encounter on public thoroughfares, it instantly grew on me. I was at the front of the convoy just behind the lead car. Whenever I glance at the rearview mirrors and chance upon the other media unit behind me, I couldn’t help but admire the Civic’s presence. The sharp LED DRLs were a stern statement plus the wide commanding stance exuded a sporty appeal.

Sure, it looks a bit restrained compared to its predecessor but that isn’t a bad thing. The new one has its own charm – a mature one, I should say. It may not attract the usual boy racer fans of the nameplate, but I won’t be surprised if current and future owners of the new generation model will be people who know their stuff.

Plus, I couldn’t also help but appreciate the new Morning Mist Blue Metallic color that’s found in the lower V and S Civic variants. It just looks fantastic; so much so that I wrote about it even before this experiential story.

However, the Civic’s charm doesn’t end with its exterior design. Even at initial seating, the car just welcomes you with open arms. It doesn’t want to intimidate you with its host of displays and bevy of buttons. Instead, it wants you to feel it, understand it, move with it – just like a hot date with a person who actually listens. The honeycomb pattern across the dashboard made things even more special – just like when your hot date dressed up for your night out. Most importantly, this feeling translated to a pleasant drive. 

The route we took to our destination wasn’t the usual – we took SLEX then CALAX, then we exited at Silang to go through the tight barangay roads leading to Silang town proper. There we found our way to the bypass road headed to Amadeo then went up to Tagaytay.

But we didn’t stop there. We continued on to Nasugbu where we encountered the mountain passes leading to the Kaybiang tunnel. But before reaching the famed tourist spot for drivers, we took a turn that leads back to Tagaytay through Magallanes, Cavite.

It was a hodgepodge of fast highways, tight Tagaytay ridges, provincial straits, fun-to-drive mountain passes, and tight barangay alleys but the Civic one recurring trait that allowed us to conquer them all with relative ease – it is and will always be a driver’s car.

Going up to speeds was easy while tackling sharp curves at speeds wasn’t an issue except for minute body rolls. And that’s the beauty of it – the softness adds to the overall ride comfort while not taking away from the sportiness of the car. And despite the relative heft of the car, tight streets weren’t challenging since you get a great view around your vehicle.

Plus, the new Civic enjoys the advantage of the Honda Sensing suite of safety features. Available across the lineup even in the base S variant, the Honda Sensing package makes driving the sedan a whole lot safer and convenient in varying road conditions. I especially love its adaptive cruise control that you can use at low speeds. For a car north of P1.2 million, this is a surprising feature to have.

Overall, I’d say that it’s impossible not to fall in love with the Civic especially with a considerable seat time, even on its base form. I’d expect its quirks I have yet to discover may not affect this, but who knows. Its status as an icon is still well represented here but in a different manner, without shedding its rank as a driver’s car.

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