The Queen lives on?
LANDOVER, Maryland—There are few cars in this world that strike a chord so deep in the fabric of car owners all over this planet as does the Civic. Others include the Porsche 911, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Willys Jeep and the Mini Cooper.
Seen for the first time 39 years ago, this car was to elevate the Japanese automaker to whole new heights. Sold in numerous body styles with different powertrains, including high-performance ones such as the always-touted Si, the Civic has been a benchmark in the compact car segment for nearly three decades.
The new one is here. The ninth-generation Civic has arrived. The pressure is on.
Is it ever. As the best-selling car in Canada for the last 13 years and this, despite the fact that the current car dates back to 2006, the new Civic has huge shoes to fill. That's six model years, by the way. In this market, you should not be able to get away with this. Honda has but that's behind them now. Or is it?
Initial reactions to the new 2012 Civic have been mixed. I myself was very underwhelmed when I first came into contact with the car in Detroit earlier this year. I was further underwhelmed when technical specs were made public. Call me what you will but this is a Civic, the compact car that all others are measured by, and it looks like the old one and even carries the same powertrains or quite nearly.
Said base engine is the 1.8L 4-cylinder, which is good for 140 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions are also carried forth and they are of the 5-speed variety, manual or automatic. Fine, five are better than four but short of six, which has recently become the norm.
The real question is: Does it matter? On paper and in advertising, it could. But then again, this is a Civic and it sells itself.
Alterations on the new car are very subtle. In fact, from a distance, you'll be hard pressed to notice the physical differences between the 8th and 9th gens. The only modification, if you will, to the body, is that the wheelbase has shrunk by 30 mm. Otherwise, outer dimensions remain identical.
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