Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0117 Contents THE 1970s BROUGHT FLARES, wide
ties, sideburns and the Honda Civic. It
went on sale in 1973 and some 40 years
later the tenth-generation Civic is a far
cry from the original.
The new Civic is almost the same size
as its Accord big brother and also has a
larger boot capacity than the current
Holden Commodore, meaning the small
car from the 70s isn’t so small any more.
Visually, the previous model was a
‘safe bet’ design but this one sets a new
direction. A large blunt nose, bulging
wheel arches and deeply fluted sides
cast aside any conservatism, looking
more like a coupé than a sedan. Inside,
the all-new design offers much more
cabin space than before, especially leg
room for backseat passengers.
Standard features for the entry level
VTi include a seven-inch infotainment
touchscreen and a multi-angle reversing
camera. It misses out on front and rear
parking sensors, keyless entry and push
button start (standard in the VTi-S). An
electric parking brake across the entire
range is a nice touch.
Settling in behind the wheel, it takes
some time to set up the seat and tilt and
reach steering, and I don’t feel totally
comfortable with the driving position
until a few hundred kilometres in. The
higher spec models’ electric seats might
do a better job. While seat comfor t has
improved and driver vision is clear and
unimpeded, the seat fabric in the base
model feels scratchy and the overall
presentation, while fresh and
contemporary, still hasn’t recaptured the
quality set a couple of generations back.
The 1.8-litre engine might be a carry
over from the previous model, but the
new CVT transmission has sharpened it
up. Performance from the 104kW/174Nm
engine is on par with competitors. Under
acceleration you notice the engine revs
increase and remain constant, but the
interior is well insulated from mechanical
noise (unlike some other brands’ CVTs).
On test we record 9.6L/100km around
town, which is higher than expected,
while out on the highway it redeems
itself with a respectable 7.3L/100km.
The car’s revised suspension is a
highlight and deftly soaks up bumps and
corrugations on our highway loop.
Through tighter sections of road the
Civic feels quite nimble with minimal
body roll in spite of its increased size.
The end result makes it easy to see
why the demise of the traditional six-
cylinder family sedan is partly because
vehicles like this new Civic are such an
ideal alternative. – Tim Pomroy
Pros: Low noise, vibration and harshness
levels; improved ride and handling
Cons: Scratchy seats; no reverse sensors
HONDA CIVIC VTi
Honda has taken more risks with the new Civic and they’ve paid off
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder Transmission: CVT
Power: 104kW Torque: 174Nm Fuel consumption:
6.4L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: Not yet rated
Price: From $22,390 (plus ORC)
48 OPEN ROAD
THIS TURBOCHARGED VERSION of the
regular Vitara compact SUV produces
103kW and 220Nm. While they’re not huge
numbers, they make a world of difference
compared with the regular Vitara models
with 17kW and 64Nm less.
The Vitara S Turbo is priced from
$28,990 (plus on-road costs) for the
front-wheel-drive version or $32,990 for
the four-wheel-drive version – $5000
more than the regular Vitara. For the
extra cash, you get subtle exterior
changes and, inside, there are leather/
suede seats, parking sensors, a leather-
wrapped steering wheel with red
stitching, keyless entry and start,
automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers
and the turbocharged engine.
The gripes we had on the entry model
were around the lacklustre engine
performance, bouncy ride, cheap feeling
cabin, technical gremlins in the multimedia
system, seats you sat ‘on’ rather than ‘in’,
and an overall sense the Vitara was off
pace compared to its rivals. With the S
Turbo, however, all these issues are gone.
The engine is free of lag at low speed,
which means strong power delivery
available from low revs and (with the
boost of the turbo) in the mid range. The
engine is surprisingly quiet, even under
hard acceleration, and actually has a
‘sporty’ note to it. The extra weight from
the turbo engine means the car sits better
on the road and the ride is not as bouncy.
It all matches well to the six-speed auto,
which also comes with paddle shifters.
As a ‘hot hatch’ version of a compact
SUV, the S Turbo is a real surprise. It’s at
the top end for handling in its class, has a
tall driving position, plenty of grunt and is
roomy, yet still compact enough for the
urban environment where it’ll no doubt
spend most of its time. – Jaedene Hudson
Suzuki has solved all the problems
we had with the base model Vitara
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed automatic Power:
103kW Torque: 220Nm ANCAP: HHHHH
Price: From $28,990 (plus ORC)
A touchscreen and reversing
camera come standard.
Bold design choices
have resulted in a far
more stylish exterior.
OR0117_MOT_Vitara+Fiat+Everest+Long Termer.indd 48
13/12/2016 5:20 pm
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