Honda Civic IMA 2012 Review

Honda Civic IMA 2012 Review

The game layer is permeating everything. Everyday activities that might be tedious or routine are being converted into competitions, contents, challenges and games to make them more interesting, and to shape our behaviour. What the game layer does is incentivize you to perform an action in return for a reward – points, collaboration, status, extra goodies and so on.

This new Honda Civic is brimming with game layer features. Most noticeably, the instruments glow green when you are driving economically, and change to blue when you put your foot down. A green button activates or deactivates the eco mode – it’s like a conscientious ‘power-up’ in a game whereby you are rewarded with an icon on the dashboard. There’s also a feedback system on-screen at the end of every journey to tell you how economically you’ve been driving, and one during driving so you can see how much you’re drawing from the battery, or recharging it.

Now, if this was out-of-sight it would be out-of-mind and we would drive everywhere blissfully ignorant of

our environmental impact. However, this new system makes you accountable not only to yourself (if you have any moral conscience about the state of the planet), but also to tree-caressing passengers, hitch-hikers and your kids. And we know how idealistic kids can be, right!

So, this is good. The Honda Civic is using the game layer to help lessen the demise of Mother Earth. It seems to be succeeding, too. I found myself sucked into the game despite generally being a leadfoot. However, there’s no point in being a leadfoot in the Civic because performance-wise, this isn’t a fast or exciting car. It’s just going to do the job of getting you to work or the supermarket without any fuss.

Driving the Civic IMA is extremely easy and very comfortable. The seats are exceptionally supportive laterally – almost like sports bucket seats. The steering is nicely weighted – light enough around town, but not lacking feel. What does lack feel, though, is the brake pedal. It’s very hard – much like a racing car – and this took some getting used to. The brakes are regenerative, which means they feed power back into the battery. This makes them jerky under light braking. If you need to brake more heavily there’s the risk of activating the full emergency brake assist mode where you’ll find your nose rapidly in closer proximity to the windscreen. Even by the end of the week I had with the Civic, I didn’t like the brakes.

What those brakes feed is a battery connected to a small motor integrated between the engine and transmission. This is what IMA refers to: integrated motor assist. This just assists the motor rather than driving the vehicle on its own like, for example, a Toyota Prius. In certain circumstances the engine will briefly cut out and the electric motor takes over some of the duties, but only while the engine is still actually moving.

It also shuts down the 1.5-litre petrol motor when you roll up to the lights (mostly before you’ve even stopped, which is a bit disconcerting at first). It also does it occasionally at inconvenient times, but fortunately the engine starts in an instant as soon as you bring your foot off the brake. When you roll to a stop, intending to get out of the car, it stops the engine, but as you move the gear lever back to park it starts the engine again. You have to get used to turning the key off first, then moving it to park.

Driving the power to the wheels is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox. These can be more economical around town, but in my opinion they detract from the general driving experience. They’re also not (generally) as economical on the open road.

The dashboard is very futuristic with its glowing colours, digital speedo and multi-function display. The display shows a customizable full-featured trip computer as well as stereo display and aforementioned ‘game elements’.

Honda has been quite conservative with the updates for this model and there are a multitude of barely noticeable, minor changes to help make the driving experience better, like revised a-pillars which are slightly narrower to give you better vision. Honda claims more room inside for the front passengers. There’s also reasonable room for rear passengers, but not a huge boot.

The new Civic is extremely important for Honda’s success as it is its mass market appeal model range. The problem for Honda is that the competition is excellent, and in some ways more conservative; this market segment is not a risk-taking one.

It still looks futuristic, which means the steeply raked windscreen and angular nose we first saw a few years ago haven’t dated. Honda seems to have toned these down slightly, making it more conformist. It meets the standard for interior comfort and is sensibly priced (for a hybrid). Minor problems aside (like the brake pedal feel), Honda has produced a car that is clearly an advance on its predecessor, and in many ways much more accessible.

Pros

  • Sips petrol through a narrow straw
  • Comfortable
  • Still looks ahead of its time

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Brake pedal feel is not nice
  • IMA’s stop/start needs some fine tuning

Price: $43,500

Technical and Performance

Performance

Engine

Engine Type: i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing with Electronic Lift Control) performance and economy enhancing technology
Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 82kW @ 5500rpm
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 172Nm @ 1000-3500rpm
i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing with Electronic Lift Control) performance and economy enhancing technology
VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) for optimising power and efficiency
Drive-by-Wire (DBW) electronic throttle control
Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) Combined Engine
Fuel tank capacity (litres): 50
Recommended Fuel: 91-octane regular unleaded fuel
Switchable IMA Boost Program with 2 modes (Eco Assist): Normal and Econ for your choice of driving style

Handling

Brakes: 262mm (14″) front ventilated brake discs and 160mm (14″) rear drum brakes
MacPherson strut front suspension
Multi-link Double Wishbone rear suspension with front and rear stabiliser bars

Transmission

CVT automatic transmission
Gear Logic Control with Grade Logic Control
Sport mode

Safety & Security

Safety

Driver and Passenger front i-SRS airbags
Side airbags in front seats with OPDS (Occupant Position Detection System) on passenger seat
Full length side-curtain airbags
3-point ELR seatbelts (front and rear). Pretensioners, load limiters and height adjustable anchor points for front seatbelts
3 child seat tether points and ALR (Automatic Locking Reel) seatbelts in the rear
Seatbelt reminders (all seats)
Active headrests for front seats
Height adjustable headrests for all 5 seating positions
Electronic Stability Control – VSA (Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist) incorporating Traction Control
Motion Adaptive EPS (Electronic Power Steering) with crosswind assist
ABS (Anti-lock braking system ) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)
Impact absorbing bumpers
G-CON (G-Force Control) Collision Compatibility body design
Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) collision compatibility body design
Child-proof rear door locks
Side intrusion beams

Security

Integrated security alarm system
Engine immobiliser
Remote central locking on all doors
Key less entry, with boot opener
Interior master door lock switch

Fuel Economy & Environment

Fuel Economy

Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 4.4

Emissions

Emissions fall within Euro V standards
Emissions fall within ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) standards
Emissions fall within AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle)
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 104

ECON system

ECON Fuel Saver System
ECON Switch for Super Economy Mode
Ecological Drive Assist Programme for improved fuel economy
Auto-Stop fuel saver
Drive Efficiency Rating
Instant Fuel Economy Monitoring System with ECO Drive Bar
Instant Fuel Economy Monitoring System
Economy History – last 3 drives + current drive fuel economy

Styling and Features

Dimensions

Dimensions

Length (mm): 4549
Width (mm): 1753
Height (mm): 1434
Weight (kg): 1280
Max Weight (kg): 1740
Wheelbase (mm): 2670
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1500/1530
Ground Clearance – non-load (mm): 150
Ground Clearance – full-load (mm): 110
Turning Radius (m): 5.42
Steering Wheel Turn Lock to Lock: 3.11

Exterior

Body

Power adjustable, manually retractable body coloured door mirror with integrated side turn indicator
Body colour bumpers and chrome door handles
Ducktail boot spoiler

Features

Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers with automatic rain sensor and automatic speed adjustment
Wheels: 15

Lights

Halogen headlamps – low/high beam
Front fog lamps

Interior

Cargo & Seating

Ergonomic seats
6-way manual driver’s seat adjustment
4-way adjustable front passenger seat
Rear window lock/unlock switch in drivers door
Power windows with drivers auto up/down and anti-trap
Boot light
Compact spare wheel
Rear seat folding centre armrest with cupholders
Magazine Rack Drivers Seat
Magazine Rack Passengers Seat
Spring loaded handgrabs, one with fold down coathook in rear
Cupholders
Centre console storage
Coin pocket
Velour interior trim

Comfort & Convenience

Air conditioning dust and pollen clean air filter
Auto Air Conditioning
Foot-rest
Leather trimmed tilt and reach adjustable 3-spoke steering wheel
Cruise control integrated into steering wheel
Drivers vanity mirror
Passenger vanity mirror
Door pockets
Front map reading lights
Door courtesy light
Ticket/card holder (driver only)
Glove Box
Accessory power outlet (12V socket)
Dual display dashboard for reduced driver fatigue and enhanced safety

Driver display

Multi information display (iMIDI) with clock, Bluetooth, iPod/mp3 integration
Outside temperature display
Tachometer
Average fuel economy (litres/100km)
Instant fuel economy
Fuel consumption display
Switchable Ecological Drive Assist Programme
Distance to empty
Average Speed Indicator
Bluetooth HandsFreeLink
Digital Odometer and Digital Trip Meters
Eco Guide/Eco Store
Elapsed Time Indicator
IMA System Power Flow Indicator

Entertainment

Audio

Audio type : In-dash stereo tuner
Speakers: 4×17 cm
Front Tweeters: Yes
CD player
MP3 compatible
WMA compatible
Folder control compatibility
USB input (memory stick and iPod compatible)
AUX 3.5mm input for music player (e.g. MP3 player / iPod)
Steering wheel audio controls
Speed sensitive volume control (SVC)

Bluetooth

Integrated steering wheel bluetooth
Bluetooth hands free telephone (HFT) system

Warranty

Vehicle 3 year, unlimited kilometre warranty
IMA Battery: 8 years or 160,000km, whichever comes first
IMA Battery Warranty upgrade available: 12 years or 160,000km, whichever comes first

Model Options

Civic 1.8S Manual

Price from $32,900 + ORC

Model Features

Engine Type: 1.8-litre, 16 valve
Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 104kW @ 6500rpm
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 174Nm @ 4300rpm
Brakes: 282mm (15″) front ventilated brake discs and 160mm (14″) rear solid brake discs
5-speed manual transmission
2 ISOFIX child seat attachment sets
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 6.8
Emissions fall within Euro IV standards
Emissions fall within LEV II (Low Emissions Vehicle) standards
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 161
Weight (kg): 1209
Max Weight (kg): 1670
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1499/1522
Body colour bumpers and door handles
Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers
Wheels: 16
60/40 folding rear seats
Velour interior trim

Civic 1.8S Auto

Price from $34,900 + ORC

Model Features

Engine Type: 1.8-litre, 16 valve
Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 104kW @ 6500rpm
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 174Nm @ 4300rpm
Brakes: 282mm (15″) front ventilated brake discs and 160mm (14″) rear solid brake discs
5-speed automatic transmission
Hill Start Assist
Gear Logic Control with Grade Logic Control
Sport mode
Racing-inspired steering wheel mounted shift paddles
2 ISOFIX child seat attachment sets
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 6.7
Emissions fall within Euro IV standards
Emissions fall within LEV II (Low Emissions Vehicle) standards
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 159
Weight (kg): 1226
Max Weight (kg): 1690
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1499/1522
Body colour bumpers and door handles
Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers
Wheels: 16
60/40 folding rear seats
Velour interior trim
Paddle shifters for +/- SportShift on steering wheel

Civic 2.0S Auto

Price from $38,500 + ORC

Model Features

Engine Type: 2.0-litre, 16 valve
Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 114kW @ 6500rpm
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 190Nm @ 4300rpm
Brakes: 282mm (15″) front ventilated brake discs and 160mm (14″) rear solid brake discs
5-speed automatic transmission
Hill Start Assist
Gear Logic Control with Grade Logic Control
Sport mode
Racing-inspired steering wheel mounted shift paddles
2 ISOFIX child seat attachment sets
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 7.5
Emissions fall within Euro IV standards
Emissions fall within LEV II (Low Emissions Vehicle) standards
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 178
Weight (kg): 1293
Max Weight (kg): 1690
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1499/1522
Body colour bumpers and door handles
Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers with automatic rain sensor and automatic speed adjustment
Wheels: 17
Front fog lamps
60/40 folding rear seats
Leather upholstery
Paddle shifters for +/- SportShift on steering wheel
Electric glass sunroof with tilt/slide function and integrated sliding shade, with onetouch open/close function and anti-trap

Civic IMA CVT Auto

Price from $43,500 + ORC

Model Features

Engine Type: i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing with Electronic Lift Control) performance and economy enhancing technology
Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 82kW @ 5500rpm
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 172Nm @ 1000-3500rpm
VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) for optimising power and efficiency
Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) Combined Engine
Switchable IMA Boost Program with 2 modes (Eco Assist): Normal and Econ for your choice of driving style
Brakes: 262mm (14″) front ventilated brake discs and 160mm (14″) rear drum brakes
CVT automatic transmission
Gear Logic Control with Grade Logic Control
Sport mode
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 4.4
Emissions fall within Euro V standards
Emissions fall within ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) standards
Emissions fall within AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle)
Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 104
Auto-Stop fuel saver
Drive Efficiency Rating
Economy History – last 3 drives + current drive fuel economy
Weight (kg): 1280
Max Weight (kg): 1740
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1500/1530
Body colour bumpers and chrome door handles
Ducktail boot spoiler
Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers with automatic rain sensor and automatic speed adjustment
Wheels: 15
Front fog lamps
Velour interior trim
Switchable Ecological Drive Assist Programme
Eco Guide/Eco Store
IMA System Power Flow Indicator
Front Tweeters: Yes
IMA Battery: 8 years or 160,000km, whichever comes first
IMA Battery Warranty upgrade available: 12 years or 160,000km, whichever comes first

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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