Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0916 Contents IT’S FAIR TO SAY HONDA has struggled
over the last few years. The 2007 global
financial crisis and the 2011 Japan tsunami
both hit the company hard and it had to cut
its research and development budget. This
saw projects shelved and Honda almost
stalled in the new car market.
The all-new HRV (released last year) did
little to boost Honda’s sales in Oz, but a
lifeboat has arrived in the form of the 10th
generation Civic. The most popular car in
the company’s portfolio, the Civic has
strong heritage. In fact, it has been on sale
in Australia since 1973.
This Civic is quite different to its
predecessor, with a sleeker, swept-back
silhouette, a bolder and more upright front
design, and a more aggressive stance with
pronounced wheel arches. The side profile is
distinctly more ‘coupé-like’ than the previous
sedan, sloping down to the back, although its
rear end is quite polarising, given the sleek
front and sides. It looks as though the Civic
has been reversed into a wall – at speed.
There are two petrol engines on offer – a
new 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder and an
improved version of the 1.8 -litre. The 1.5 -litre
turbo delivers 127kW and 220Nm and is fitted
with a continuously variable transmission
(CVT). The 1.8 -litre engine produces 104kW
and 174Nm and also uses a CVT.
Five variants are available in the range –
VTi, VTi-S , VTi-L, RS and VTi-LX – with the RS
model in the mix for the first time. Initially,
the sedan will be the only body style on sale,
with the hatch due to arrive in the first half of
next year and the Type R hot hatch to follow
towards the end of next year.
The Civic comes packed with standard
equipment such as an electronic parking
brake with brake hold, LED daytime running
New look for old favourite
Can the 10th generation Honda Civic lead a revival for the Japanese car maker?
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder Transmission: CVT
Power: 104kW Torque: 174Nm Fuel consumption:
6.4L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: not yet tested
Price: From $22,390 (plus ORC)
IT’S NOT EASY TO LAUNCH a car with a
new nameplate. In fact, it can be costly if it
doesn’t resonate with consumers. And less
than two years after the demise of its
popular Liberty wagon, this is the position
Subaru finds itself in with the all-new Levorg.
The name is, according to Subaru, a
combination of three words: LEgacy,
ReVOlution and touRinG. The easiest way
to describe the Levorg is a wagon similar in
size to a Liberty, with sport credentials
almost as good as a WRX. It can’t quite
match the WRX in the 100km/h dash, but
its 6.8 seconds is only 0.3 seconds slower.
The car is available in Australia in three
levels – the GT, GT-S and a GT-S with a Spec
B pack. Prices start from $42,990 (plus
on-road costs) for the GT, while the GT-S is
$48,890 and the Spec B is $52,890.
Like the WRX, the Levorg uses Subaru’s
all-wheel-drive system, but the new model
features a special Aussie-tuned suspension
set-up. The GT uses KYB dampers up front,
with its spring rate stiffened by 40 per cent.
Step up to the GT-S and the Bilsteins have a
60 per cent stiffer spring rate.
On the road, though, this results in a fussy,
jiggly, low-speed ride that can be a little
tedious. Get out on the open road, however,
and the high-speed ride is much more
composed. The short suspension travel did
see us hit the bump stops a few times.
Grip is fantastic and you can certainly
have some fun through the bends. It feels
balanced and planted and, for the most part,
you forget that you’re even in a wagon.
Unfortunately, the CVT is not the most
intuitive gearbox around town. It takes time
to sort out ratios. Even in the Sport mode,
there’s hesitation as you lift off the brake
pedal and back in the throttle, which results
in a slingshot effect out of corners.
Yet the Levorg is a comfortable car that
has the space and practicality to cart the
family around during the week, while being
loads more fun to drive on the weekend
than an SUV. – Jaedene Hudson
It’s 90 per cent WRX, but has more
in common with the departed Liberty
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder Transmission:
CVT Power: 197kW Torque: 350Nm Fuel
consumption: 8.7L/100km (claimed) ANCAP:
HHHHH Price: From $42,990 (plus ORC)
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30/08/2016 5:28 pm
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