** This article is the personal experience of a 2018 Honda Civic Turbo Premium (TCP) owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of Wapcar
Facebook: Kelvin Leng
The Love for Honda
I have been a car freak since I was born and Honda cars are no stranger to me through my childhood. My mom had owned a couple of Honda vehicles throughout the years. The passion grows even further as my late-father got me my very first car after I got my driving license at 18, a 2011 Honda City. Throughout seven years of ownership, that car was a joy and didn’t give me much issue throughout the years of ownership. Being an 18 year-old who had just gotten his license, I travelled to many places with the Honda City. Finally, on late April 2018, I decided that it is time to upgrade as I needed a better and more stable car due to my job nature of frequent interstate travelling and client site visiting. Moreover, my 2011 Honda City had already clocked in approximately 203,000KM when I sold it.
Being a hardcore car guy, I had always paid attention to the Honda Civic ever since it came outback in 2016. I fell in love with it at first sight with its aggressively styled coupe like silhouette. I started doing my research as I wanted a car which is practical and in the same time, fun to drive. I started going to showrooms to test drive it and fell in love with it every single time. After much consideration and surveying on other cars like Honda CR-V, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Tiguan, I finally made my commitment to this car, which fits my objective of buying a practical and fun to drive car, as none of the other C-Segment sedans have a turbo engine.
About my Honda Civic
I was in a dilemma to choose between the Honda Civic 1.5 TC (lower spec one) and the 1.5 TCP (full specs) as the price differs by around RM8,000. At that point of time, I told myself that I shall get the 1.5 TCP with no regrets. I was indeed very lucky to be able to get a good deal from a friend’s uncle’s Honda dealership. I placed my booking on 3rd of May, only a week before GE-18. The waiting list for the Honda Civic was quite long, but thankfully, I’m able to get it on 18th May 2018 bundled in with GST rebate due to the tax holiday given by the new Malaysia Government back then.
I bought this 2018 Honda Civic 1.5 VTEC Turbo Premium (TCP) which gains LED Headlights, LED fog lights, a built in factory Garmin GPS navigation, dual-zone climate control and chrome door handles over the lower specs model. The punchy 1.5 VTEC Turbo Engine with Earth Dreams Technology produces a healthy 173ps at 5,500 rpm and 220NM of torque from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm with a decent 0-100KM/H sprint time of 8.2 seconds, making it the most value buy and most powerful car in the C-Segment Sedan class.
Selecting the Right Car for Me
During the car selection process, I had test driven the Mazda 3 and it was indeed nice to drive; but it is not practical as rear legroom is limited. When I test drove the Volkswagen Tiguan, I was more concerned about its resale value as well as its higher maintenance cost as it is a European car. After many showroom visits checking out the Honda Civic, I’ve finally decided that it is the best value-for-money buy (on cars around RM130k) as the rear legroom is as roomy as some of the larger D-Segment sedans and the fun to drive turbo engine, taking into consideration that I may need to drive my family around comfortably.
The car was originally equipped with Continental Conti Max Contact 5 (MC5) tyres. But after almost two years of ownership, I changed to these sets of Michelin Pilot Sport 4- 215/50R17 tyres for better grip and safety reasons, although tyre prices for this range is a bit on the high side.
Overall design for the interior is decent, with soft touch materials used throughout major touchpoints of the cabin. The fighter jet inspired driver cockpit makes you feel like you are surrounded with all the “tools”. Also, you sit fairly low, hence, providing you with a sporty driving feeling. The car has practically everything you ask for in a RM130k car. If there is one point I would like to point out about my dislike about the interior cabin, is the absence of an auto wiper and front parking sensors.
The Centre Console has a floating like 7-inch touch screen, with the dual-zone climate control system integrated into the head unit. The resolution of the screen is decent but not excellent, plus point is that it is very user friendly, comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a 8 Speaker audio system that has clear and good bass.
Malaysian FC Civic comes with full LCD Digital Instrument Cluster Display, which displays various information like real time fuel consumption/efficiency, turbo boost information, oil life and service information which adds a modern touch to the car.
The 10th generation Honda Civic comes with a spacious 519 litre boot space, which fits all family languages without any trouble. A downside is that the rear seats in the Malaysian spec civic doesn’t folds as a stabilizer bar is added for extra stability. Only on the facelifted 2020 Honda Civic, the seats were finally able to be folded down.
Driving and Ownership Experience
Entering my second year of ownership of this 2018 Honda Civic Turbo Premium, I think it has been an exhilarating drive. Every single time I hop onto my seat, the feeling was the same as the first day I collected this car. The engine gives decent pick up whenever you need to overtake cars or travel at higher speeds (although not pocket rocket type). Put it this way, the engine gives you the amount of power that is equivalent to a 2.4 naturally aspirated engine, but you get to enjoy 1.5 litre road tax and fuel efficiency. I have clocked in more than 61,000KM throughout my two years of ownership and the car is able to return an average fuel consumption of 13KM/L on city drives and 18KM/L on highway drives. The car’s suspension is a bit on the harder side if compared to its rivals like the Toyota Corolla Altis, but given the performance of the car, it is tolerable and not too bad.
This car comes with an Earth Dreams Technology CVT gearbox. I was quite reluctant when I first knew that this car runs on CVT gearbox. However, my perspective changed when I test drove it. This CVT gearbox does not produce the whining sound like many other conventional CVT gearboxes. Acceleration is seamless and feels like a conventional automatic gearbox as the car gives a “jerk” after initial acceleration to provide an “illusion” of gear changes. It drives and feels more like a European car than a typical Japanese C-Segment sedan.
Safety was my priority as well when deciding on the purchase of this car as it comes with 6 Airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist, Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control. The car also comes with 2 Isofix child seats anchoring points at the rear which will allow me to tuck my future children on their car seats safely in my car.
Overall, the Honda Civic feels very stable even when travelling at higher speeds at highways. Rear legroom is more than generous, even with my height of 184CM, I can still sit comfortably travelling long journeys. The same goes to my mom and my grandparents.
The maintenance of this car is fairly affordable as well, with service intervals of every 10,000KM or the Oil Life Indicator on the instrument cluster which comes out on average of 8000KMs, depending on your driving styles. Being a turbo engine, it needs to be very carefully taken care of such as changing your engine oil on time to make sure the engine runs smoothly. I have been sending my car to Honda Service Centres throughout my ownership and the cost is approximately RM300 for a normal service and about RM500 for a major service which occurs every 30,000KMs.
Of course, no car is perfect and there are some disappointments throughout my ownership of the Honda Civic. The most common problem that every owner knows is the steering rack, which I had my warranty claimed after just 1 year of owning the car. I guess it is a common Civic problem. But still, Honda Malaysia needs to rectify this issue. With the cracking sound when you steer the steering wheel, it was indeed a bit of a disappointment given my previous 2011 Honda City did not have any quality issues like these.
- Punchy and Fuel-Efficient Engine
Being the first Honda mass market turbo engine aside from the Civic Type-R, the drive and performance is very decent and returns good fuel mileage. My record was 650KMs with the car using 43 litres of petrol. In this respect, good job Honda!
- Cheap Road Tax
The roadtax price of RM90 is per annum which is equivalent to a Perodua Myvi 1.5 or a Toyota Vios, but you are getting so much more in terms of comfort and performance.
- Roomy Interior and Excellent Rear Legroom
Rear legroom is similar to a Honda Accord from two generations ago. Honda did a really good job in interior packaging.
- Steering Rack Issue
As mentioned above, at least 7 out of 10 Civics will encounter this issue. But with Honda’s 5 years unlimited mileage warranty, you can be rest assured that you are covered under this issue. The only downside is that you need to spend some time waiting at the service centre.
- Lack of Automatic Wipers and Front Parking Sensors
On this pre-facelift model, it didn’t come with automatic wipers and front sensors although it came equipped with automatic headlamps. Come on Honda, I think you can do better than this. However, it is rectified as these two features were made available to the recently revealed 2020 Honda Civic facelift.
Rating: (do take note that the rating is purely on the basis of assessing a C-Segment Sedan)
Total score: 4/5
Ride Comfort: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5
Price & Cost: 5/5
I would recommend professionals or young couples planning to start a family who wants an all-rounder to buy this car. I have no regrets up throughout my two years of ownership, as it was indeed, the best value for money in the C-Segment sedan class. With the current facelifted Honda Civic equipped with Honda Sensing, Honda Lane-watch and much more, it is definitely a good buy if you are in the lookout for a C-Segment sedan.