The Honda Civic S doesn’t have insecurities

Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI) did something nifty when the previous generation Civic was having problems. Cars are getting more expensive that even the non-turbo variant has moved up significantly in its price range. So what did they do? They played a careful game of mix and match to make a new entry-model called the Civic S – and it was good. There was no indication that it was a base model at first glance and it has a great set of features for its price and segment.

Building on the success of that trim, HCPI did something very inclusive for the new generation of Civic. All variants get the same powertrain and Honda Sensing, which means you don’t have to go for the top variant to get the crucial goodies. With a P208,000 and P400,000 difference against the V and RS trims respectively, did Honda cut too many corners to make the new Civic S or can it sustain the success of its predecessor?

I’ll make things easy for you and say it right now, this is the best base model Honda Civic so far. Honda could’ve called it quits once they had the 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo and Honda Sensing fitted but they went above and beyond. The exterior has LED daytime running lights, nice looking 16-inch wheels, and a handsome taillight assembly. Not to mention this Morning Mist Blue Metallic is such a looker especially during sunrise and sunset.

You also get a lot of creature comforts inside despite this being a base model. Among them are the electronic handbrake with auto brake hold, 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, push start button, and they retained the honeycomb grille on the dashboard. The lack of leather lets you know it’s not a top trim but the presence of the grille on the dash lets you know you’re not shortchanged in any way.

It all translates into a great drive once you’re out on the road. The throttle is more than happy to breeze through cars anytime you wish, while Honda Sensing makes sure you’re in the clear at every single pass. City dwellers will particularly love the Low Speed Follow function of the Honda Sensing’s cruise control since it allows for automatic throttle and braking even at crawling speeds. That means less leg work during rush hour traffic.

There’s no question that the Civic is fast and furious but it’s not a one trick pony. In the city despite the traffic, it managed 8.1km/l while out on the highway, I got 23 km/l. It’s not exactly stellar figures but far from being a gas guzzler.

Ride quality is also a highlight in the Civic S. It’s smooth against the ruts of our roads despite having 16-inch wheels. This is complemented by the great cabin isolation that blocks even harsh audio levels from modified motorcycle exhausts. Rear occupants will also find their place comfortable because apart from the generous space in all areas, the backseats are angled enough for a good sitting position for long drives.

The Honda Civic S has a lot of strong points but it’s not perfect. Eagle eyed fanatics will notice the lack of LED headlights and rear air vents among others. Others might get annoyed by the lack of leather even on the door panels. Then again, these are nitpickings that should be weighed against what it has.

Once you’re driving the Civic, you won’t have any feeling of insecurity like the base models of the past. There won’t be thoughts of “I wish this is the upper variant so I can have this and this.” Except for the rear air vents, all the other things it doesn’t have can be bought in the aftermarket and customized to your liking.

At P1,290,000 the Honda Civic S holds the best value for a sedan in this price range. Others might have an advantage in terms of small features but with all things considered, it would be hard to beat this base model Civic. It offers a solid platform to conquer the city traffic and have a bit of fun on your days off. All while looking like clear skies on a good day.

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