2021 Honda Civic 1.5 Turbo Review: Middle Ground



1. Introduction
2. Design and Appearance
3. Interior and Features
4. Safety, Space and Practicality
5. Driving Experience
6. Competitors and Conclusion

5. Driving Experience

The new Civic’s biggest talking point is its 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, which is actually the same unit as the one in the outgoing model. However, in this iteration, the output has been tuned down to 129hp, instead of 173hp as before, chiefly to enable it to snare a Cat A COE.

Torque has been reduced as well, down to 180Nm from 220Nm previously, and the result is a little bit peculiar. Under normal driving situations, the engine is adequately torquey, and there’s more than enough pep and energy to get the car going along.

Push it further up the rev range though and the car seems to run out of steam a bit at the top end. It feels as though that there’s more to give, but that the engine is somehow strangled and restrained from delivering its full potential.

It’s not a major issue for most drivers really, but it can be a tad disappointing for those who enjoyed the effortless power available from the previous model. Fuel consumption also suffers slightly though, to 6.4L/100km compared to 5.9L/100km on the old model, ostensibly because the engine has to work a little bit harder now.

That said, the Civic does deliver driving enjoyment in other ways. Of all the Asian mainstream sedan offerings, the Civic is usually the one that offers the sharpest drive, and the new model here lives up to that reputation. The steering is light and effortless, and the car feels rather easy to manoeuvre despite its increased size.

In the corners, the Civic feels taut and composed, and you feel as though you can push it quite hard through a corner before the front washes out, such is its level of grip. It’s not quite as sharp, as, say, a Volkswagen Golf, but there’s a level of driving enjoyment here that you don’t quite get from many of the Civic’s rivals.

At the same time, the Civic is also remarkable refined, with a ride quality that makes the car feel rather big-car like. The suspension does a great job at soaking up the bumps, although perhaps overall cabin insulation can be better, as the tyre and engine noise can be rather vocal especially at higher speeds.


Competitors and Conclusion

1. Introduction
2. Design and Appearance
3. Interior and Features
4. Safety, Space and Practicality
5. Driving Experience
6. Competitors and Conclusion

about the author

Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben