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Honda Civic

FN Civic

Honda logo1 Jun 2012

By TIM NICHOLSON

In late June Honda replaced the previous-generation Civic Si hatch with the far more competitively priced FK-series VTi-S and VTi-L.

It featured significant improvements in refinement, safety, efficiency, driveability, and perceived quality, despite enclosing the small car stalwart in a similar – though more slippery at 0.30Cd – cab-forward silhouette to last time.

As the one-box ‘monoform’ shape, hidden rear door handles and glassy rounded rump attest, the hatch’s styling is – like the chassis underneath – very much an evolution of the striking 2006 original, though every body panel is new.

Driving the front wheels via either a revised (and slicker-shifting) six-speed manual or carryover five-speed automatic transmission is a redevelopment of the old model’s transverse mounted 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine with variable valve timing and a Euro-4 emissions rating.

Sadly for Civic traditionalists, it makes do with a torsion beam rear axle (the sedan has a multi-link set-up), but that not only improves overall interior packaging, it allows for the fitment of Jazz-like ‘Magic’ rear seats that fold down deep and flush with the cargo floor for segment-leading versatility.

At the other end of the car, electric replaces hydraulic power for the rack-and-pinion steering system.

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