Friday, July 13, 2012

9G Civic launched in ASEAN

The 9G Civic is now making its debut in ASEAN and was launched here in Malaysia yesterday. To Honda, this launch was a much awaited event is it marks the resumption of their full operations after the rather disastrous flooding in Thailand last year.

Three variants were launched for Malaysia :- Civic 1.8, two types of Civic 2.0 - with and without the NAVI option, and finally as suspected before the launch, the Civic Hybrid as well. Prices are extremely competitive, with the Civic 2.0l non-NAVI for e.g. seeing a price increase of only RM1k. Meanwhile the Civic Hybrid makes its return and is now going for just below RM120k on the road with full insurance.

I will be putting up a full coverage of the ASEAN 9G Civic very soon on TOVA. In the meantime I wish to cover a couple of questions I raised during the press conference, which I believe should be of great interest to TOV/TOVA'ers and so should be given priority in answering.

The first question I clarified about this new ASEAN 9G Civic was about the interior. As regular TOV/TOVA'ers will now be familiar with, when the USDM 9G Civic, it received some quite polarized comments and some of the most negative ones centered around its interior. They were primarily targeted at what was perceived to be low quality materials used in the interior. I asked the chief engineer who was present at the launch about this. He was surprised I knew about this issue as it is related to the USDM models but he very readily admitted to knowing about the comments/concerns. He replied that the materials are not identical. Obviously the suppliers are different which means the materials are different. However, the actual specifications of the materials are similar. Nevertheless, there are detailed changes to the interior including more padding for the seats. 
As I have not seen the insides of the 9G USDM Civic up close, I am unable to make a personal comparison. What I can offer is a photo of the dashboard of the 1.8 Civic. For direct comparison, the 1.8 Civic variant should be used as it is the only common variant between the USDM and ASEAN line-up. The other common variant in both line-up is the Civic Hybrid but the one launched by Honda Malaysia comes with a leather interior so may not be a fair comparison. Both 2.0 Civic types comes with leather interior as standard. In any case, there is no 2.0l variant in the USDM line-up. Nevertheless, I also put up a photo of the dashboard of the 2.0 Civic for those who might be interested.

The other major question I directed at the chief engineer during the press conference concerns any specification differences between the suspensions of the AEAN and USDM Civics. To this he confirms that the settings are different. Apparently Honda perceives the expectations of US and ASEAN drivers to be different so the suspensions are tuned differently. US drivers are thought to prefer 'sharp response' which I believe means a preference for better handling. This probably entails compromises in ride comfort. ASEAN drivers on the other hand is perceived to want 'stable ride' which I believe means a soft, cushy comfortable ride. Given this information, the infamous complaint made by the US Consumer Reviews magazine, about the 9G Civic having 'choppy ride', can probably be put into proper perspective by ASEAN TOV/TOVA'ers who are interested in the 9G Civic but are concerned about the CR review.

I will have a more complete coverage in the proper TOVA article.


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The interior looks exactly like the USDM Civic interior including the low grade quality plastics used on the dash, door panels, and cheap looking/feeling seat fabric. There's absolutely no way this is an upgrade from the 8th-gen Civic. Honda really screwed the pooch on this redesign.

FiSH-Chan said...

I will have to see it for myself, but have you actually compared to the old one? That one was hard plastics on the dash but super soft (as in flexible) plastics all over the door panel as well that flexes when you open or close the door.. easily rubbing together and buzzing noise after a while as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I use to own 2 different 8th-gen Civics. I had a 2007 LX sedan and a 2009 LX sedan. The seat fabric was FAR superior in the 8th-gen compared to the 9th gen. The 8th-gen had a combination of soft and hard plastics. The drivers side was soft touch and the right side was hard. But even the harder plastics felt good quality and were very well textured. The door panels were much more substantial also. Soft touch on the very top.

TOVA said...

This is an interesting comment. I regularly take a ride in my colleague's 2.0 Civic and I didn't think the 9G's interior loses out. But then all I have now is just a quick half an hour feel during which I was also relentlessly taking photos of four units as comprehensively as I can. So - I CAN BE WRONG. I might drop by my dealer this weekend as I want to get an early feel of the car and Honda's media drive event is not even confirmed yet. I think I will be very careful to avoid direct comparison between the 8G/9G in my coverage of the launch, at least until the media drive event where I have another chance to take a close look at the car. In the meantime, I will be more observant when I next get into my colleague's 8G 2.0 Civic.

Anonymous said...

The 9th Gen Civic was lauched here in Singapore a few months back. Both me and my friend were very disappointed when we saw the car in the showroom. We thought both the interior and exterior lose out to the outgoig model. It looks more like an upsized City. It is better equipped than the 8th Gen Civic though.

FiSH-Chan said...

Could be a big difference with the USDM LX.

Since my neighbor has the MMC 2.0 and my friend has the HCH (also MMC), I can't say for the seat cloth fabric in the other trims.

But the door panels on them (I spend more time in the HCH than the 2.0) are hardly soft touch. It's simply a layer of 'leather' covered over the panel and is still very hard. One of the first things I really notice is the very flexible panels. Simply touch a bit harder and it will bend. Closing or open the door you can feel it flex. The panel on my City doesn't flex as much.

In short, I did not feel the interior 8th gen was really special at all. So it's hard to imagine the 9th getting worse to be honest. Of course, I can be wrong at this point.

FiSH-Chan said...

Sorry when I say the panel i mean the upper panel. The arm rest part is of course a bit more softer and substantial to the feel.

TOVA said...

So (anonymous) you are from Singapore. Thanks for your support all the way from across the courseway. One consideration is Kah Motors imports all Honda CBU and afaik, but it was a few years ago, they never had any local assembly. Do you know if the SGDM Civics are imported from Thailand or some other countries ?

Anonymous said...

Apart from the City and Accord, the rest of the Honda models sold here in Singapore are Japan made.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I think the Jazz are from Thailand as well

TOVA said...

Are the SGDM Civics from Japan as well ?

Anonymous said...

Ya, the Civics, stream, insight, n crz from Japan, think CRV as well

HondasAcuras Fan said...

You Civic Front is much cleaner than the North American version

TOVA said...

I think the front grill is different in the Asian versions. They are different in the 8G Civic. There should be some difference as Honda is notorious for having lots of minor differences for the same model but different geographies. Even when made in different countries, there can be minor differences. E.g. for 2G Jazz/Fit, the windscreen for japan made units and thai made units are different. Weird why they do this as it sure doesn't seem very efficient.

Anonymous said...

Still no TOVA review on 9th gen civic malaysia?

TOVA said...

I am sorry for the delay. I am trying to merge both 1.8 and 2.0 reviews into one to make it more complete. Will be finishing soon, complete with some in-car videos like the CR-V review.

Anonymous said...

Still awaiting technical review on 9th gen civic... :/

TOVA said...

Sorry, my 1.8 Civic report is ready but my chief might be away on Christmas holiday so I am not sure when I can upload the report up to TOVA. I am very sorry for this, our new server is still not fully operational yet. I am in fact started work on the 2.0 report now, besides working on a couple of other, more enthusiast-centric project (reader's project on Rywire and resuming my CPR project). Hope I get to contact Jeff soon.

TOVA said...

Managed to catch Jeff just now so the report of the Civic 1.8 i-VTEC is now up on TOVA (http://asia.vtec.net). Hope you like it.

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