Don’t worry, it’s not as though one of Honda’s offerings has got a sagging chin or droopy eyelids.
No, it’s just that the company’s just revealed the latest versions of not one, but two of its range. So there’s the new Civic and the new CR-V.
The Civic’s changes include Honda’s City Brake system as a standard feature across the range, more Honda Connect infotainment, along with styling enhancements to the headlamps, now with daytime running lights, and bumpers and side skirts. inside are new seat trim, chrome handles and the control panel finished in metallic black.Driving the new Civic on a wide variety of roads, including motorway, was a pleasant enough experience.
The test car was a 1.6 i-DTEC, producing 120 PS and with a nice, six-speed manual gearbox. I couldn’t really fault the way it did everything, from steering and handling to braking. It was comfortable to ride in, too. The overall fuel consumption as displayed on the trip computer was 57 mpg. A previous, gentler drive in Civic with this engine showed a return of 71 mpg. This Civic can get to 62 mph in 10.5 seconds and has emissions at 94 g/km, so no annual road tax to be paid. Cost? £24,265
The latest CR-V, Honda’s popular SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle…whoever thinks these things up?) with more than 750,000 sales in Europe since its initial appearance in 1997. The test car had the new high-power version of the engine in the Civic; this 1.6 diesel puts out 160 PS. The car was 4WD and had the new 9-speed automatic gearbox. With all this, emissions go up to 139 g/km, so that’s £115 per annum.
A brief drive revealed a reasonably nippy performer (0-62 mph in 10.6 seconds) and a car that seemed fun and easy to drive. The gearbox gave smooth changes and I was never particularly aware of which gear the car was in. The EX version I tried is the range-topper and would set you back £34,120. That is a lot of money and the market will reveal in due course whether it feels it’s value for money.
I must say that the car appeared to be well-finished and nicely-styled inside. it was also very fully-equipped. Honda claims a world-first intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control system. This ‘predicts’ if another vehicle is cutting in on you and automatically reacting to keep you free of an impact. Honda says that, via radar and a camera, by using an algorithm, the prediction can be up to five seconds ahead of such a situation. Clever, or what?
Honda has worked on noise, vibration and harshness and, certainly, I was not aware of anything other than quite a refined sort of performance. The suspension has also been worked on, but, given the good-condition of the local roads on my short trip, I couldn’t really come to a conclusion as to how well it really might work. The official combined fuel consumption figure for the test car is 55.3 mpg.
Thanks to the City-brake system, insurance ratings have reduced by four groups. If you want a CR-V, but not at this price, the entry-level 1.6 i-DTEC 2WD costs just £23,400.
Honda treated journalists on this double car launch to a wander round their plant at Swindon. There, snatching a couple of brief points from that visit, I learnt that the cars’ construction is so strong that you could attach a suction-pad hoist to a car with a panoramic glass roof, lift it up clear of the ground and neither the glass would shatter nor the glue holding it gives out.
Also, every so often, an engine is taken off the line; it then goes into a laboratory where it’s run at maximum revs, under load, for up to seven weeks non-stop; guess what the fuel bill is…£25,000! What would the Green Party say? Honda says that at least some of the energy generated goes back into use in the factory.