COTY 2020 – Why younger rivals still can’t unseat the 2020 Honda Civic (FC) from its throne?

Hans · Dec 26, 2020 04:00 PM

First launched in Malaysia in 2016, the FC generation Honda Civic is going into the fifth (and final legs) of its 5-year model life but look at it today, it hasn’t even aged one bit, not even when parked next to its younger rivals like the Toyota Corolla Altis, or even higher priced imported rivals like the Mazda 3 and Hyundai Elantra.

Korean rivals like the Kia Cerato are now nowhere to be seen while other European pretenders that used to vie for the crown have since packed up and left – Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Focus included.

The C-segment sedan market is shrinking, but the Honda Civic seems unfazed by it. Yes the pie might be getting smaller as consumers migrate towards SUVs, but the Civic has responded by owning whatever’s left of the pie.

Even after photos of the all-new 11th generation 2021 Honda Civic were released, interest in the current Civic FC remain unchanged. In fact, many buyers say they prefer the current, outgoing generation Civic over the upcoming one.

So what is it that makes the Civic so popular, despite its age?

To be clear, the Civic is far from perfect. Like many cars, the Civic has its own set of pros and cons.

The 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo engine might sound impressive on paper but drive it back to back with a Toyota Corolla Altis, and it’s clear that not only does Toyota handles far better, and it rides a lot more comfortable too.

As for the Civic’s cabin, the Mazda 3 and even the latest Hyundai Elantra feels much better put together, while material selection is clearly several notches above the Civic.

But that’s where it ends. With the Corolla Altis, you are paying so much money for the TNGA platform and exceptionally competent chassis that there’s nothing left for the rest of the car. What happened to cabin practicality Toyota?

We love the Mazda 3 but it’s not a car that we can recommend to every buyer, unless the said person doesn’t care about anyone other than himself/herself. As a family car, the Mazda falls short. Very short.

The Hyundai Elantra? It’s even more expensive than the Japan-made Mazda 3. Do we really want to go further?

The long-gone Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta drove and rode well but as an overall package, both come up short.

The Civic’s ease of use and practicality is second to none. All car makers should learn from Honda on how to design in-car controls.

The Civic is a car that you jump in and drive off without having to spend too much time figuring out where the switches and controls are and how to operate them.

The controls are so intuitive and this latest facelift model has made it even better. Air-conditioning’s fan speed is no longer operated from the touch screen, but via buttons, thus making blind operation easier.

Occupants are surrounded by ample storage bins - to your sides, front, and back, there are no shortage of cubby holes to empty your pockets into.

2020 Honda Civic Facelift front bumper comparison

Changes in the new facelift are very mild, almost similar to the pre-facelift car, but oddly enough, the new Civic now feels much better than mild updates suggest.

Every little bit improvement done adds up to equate to a significantly improved Civic. The car just feels better put together, and every part of the car just seems to work a little bit better together, more in harmony.

As a daily car, no other sedan is easier to live with than the Civic. The new model adds 60:40 split folding rear seats, while higher range variants get the Sensing suite of ADAS features.

Prices for the C-segment 2020 Honda Civic (FC) ranges from RM 109,326 to RM 134,661, sans SST, prices valid until 31-Dec 2020. The 2020 Honda Civic, along with several other models, is in the running for the Editors’ Pick of our WapCar Car of the Year (COTY) award.

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