Our first drive of the new Honda Civic e:HEV hybrid

القائمة الرئيسية


Our first drive of the new Honda Civic e:HEV hybrid

Our first drive of the new Honda Civic e:HEV hybrid

Our first drive of the new Honda Civic e:HEV hybrid

Plenty of room on board

Advantage of the Civic's large size: a fairly large trunk, with a very practical tailgate
Advantage of the Civic’s large size: a fairly large trunk, with a very practical tailgate© Honda

Thanks to its increased dimensions, and a wheelbase also extended by 3.5 cm, this Civic offers even more generous legroom behind, to the point of equaling the Czech, a reference in this field. If this Honda’s coupe-style flag drop hadn’t limited the headroom on this bench, the over 1.80 my would have found pride of place. But style and aerodynamic constraints (total height reduced by 3 cm!) took priority. Before, the fairly low driving position and sufficient adjustment ranges allow you to be much better installed than in an SUV where one is necessarily seated straighter. The fairly large and numerous storage spaces between the central console and the doors allow you to store all the objects of everyday life without any worries.

Classic but ergonomic dashboard

No frills, but the ergonomics are very good, as on the older generation
No frills, but the ergonomics are very good, as on the older generation© Honda

And we take advantage ofa dashboard which, if it sacrifices as is the trend for large screens (9 inches in the center, 10.2 inches for high-end counters), did not give up the minimum of physical buttons for heating / air conditioning, much more ergonomic while driving than full touch controls via menus and sub-menus. If the design of this interior remains fairly classic, there is still a little originality with air vents hidden behind a kind of honeycomb grid running all along the dashboard.

But the true originality of this Civic is that it will only be offered – in addition to the furious Type R 100% thermal of more than 300 hp planned for later – thatwith a single hybrid engine, in line with Honda’s promise to only offer electrified models in its mainstream range from the end of 2022.

An original hybrid technology

As with the CR-V, HR-V and the Jazz, the hybrid technology chosen by the Japanese is original, since it includes a heat engine and two electric motors, and completely does without a gearbox. The system also incorporates a small 1.05 kWh lithium-ion battery of total capacity, which is responsible for recovering electricity during braking, and returning it to the electric motor during re-acceleration. In the facts, up to 65 km/h, the four-cylinder 2.0 drives one of the two electric motors which then serves as a generator to supply electricity to the second electric motor which drives the wheels. Above 65 km/h, in order to improve fuel efficiency, the thermal engine is connected directly to the wheels via a controlled clutch, and according to a fixed ratio equivalent to the last gear of a manual gearbox. As on all hybrids, the battery provides its energy to help during re-accelerations, but in the event of too high a demand for power above 65 km/h (overtaking, climbing, etc.), the 2.0 is temporarily disconnected from the wheels and climbs in the revs to provide the brio requested, therefore the electricity needed via the generator.

Simulating reports improves agreement

On Honda hybrids up to that point, it really wasn’t pleasant because the four-cylinder would rev up at a fixed speed of more than 5,000 rpm, and give the unpleasant feeling of slipping. as if we had a dimmer under the hood. On this Civic, whose specifications were made according to the expectations of European drivers whose driving is more dynamic than on other continents, Honda has completely changed the handling of its hybrid system. From now on, during strong accelerations, the internal combustion engine no longer climbs screaming at a fixed speed, but simulates by its variations in speed the gear changes of a classic automatic gearbox. It’s certainly artificial, but it considerably improves the driving experience, which becomes as pleasant as a classic model.

Good performance and sobriety

The new Civic is very frugal, particularly in town with the ability to often drive electric
The new Civic is very frugal, particularly in town with the ability to often drive electric© Honda

Especially since the performance is more than enough since, to the 143 hp and 186 Nm of torque of the 2.0 – direct injection and Atkinson combustion cycle to improve its efficiency – are added the 30 kW (41 hp) that the battery delivers when needed. In total, powered by the generator and the battery, the electric traction motor therefore delivers 184 hp and 315 Nm of torque., which are instantly available. the brio is therefore quite sufficient on the road, and we can’t wait to check the consumption of this Civic Hybrid on our base in Montlhéry, because the computer regularly announced between 5.5 and 6 l/100 km on a mixed route with a majority of slightly hilly roads. If his appetite will surely be higher on the highway where hybridization is less effective, the results in the city will probably be interesting.

Lots of electric driving in town

Because the 2.0 starts there quite slowly and extremely discreetly – we drove about half the time on electric – thanks to a battery powerful enough to start at traffic lights with zero emissions and easily reach 50 km/h without playing with feather feetwhich the Toyota hybrids, which are already very sober, cannot do.

A general ease of use much higher than the current Honda hybrids, it is true a little disappointing, and further accentuated here by a sedan chassis, low on the road, very stable and rather well anchored to the asphalt even if it does not quite have the efficiency of the best in the segment, Peugeot 308 in the lead. At the wheel, we benefit in particular from a direction with sufficient consistency – a little heavy even in Sport mode – and froma rather easy braking dosage for a hybrideven if there is a little brutality under 10 km / h in town.

A great ease of use

Finally, Honda has worked hard on the soundproofing of its 2.0, as well as air noise to compose a really low sound environment, quite restful in the long run. And all the more so as the very progressive suspensions give pride of place to comfort without ever being too loose on the twisted roads. The only downside is ultimately rolling noise remains quite high on granular coatings. But it’s really good to drive, or to be driven in this large Japanese compact not afraid of long stages. The first price will start at €29,990 as an introductory offer, then climb to €32,400. It is certainly not given, but set exactly on the prices of the Toyota Corolla…which is noticeably less pleasant to use.

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