The Honda Civic hatchback is sportier after having received dynamic and styling enhancements for the 2014 model year. However, the improvements are far more relevant under the hood. The ninth-generation Civic’s electronic power steering was retuned to make it have a more precise feel at higher speeds. The front and rear dampers were modified to boost body control.
And to have better overall handling, the toe and camber of the rear suspension were realigned. These improvements were made in response to feedback taken from its buyers and Honda dealerships. The engineering team at Honda’s Swindon base made the revisions after being informed by the headquarters in Japan that they had autonomy in configuring the car to suit European preferences.
Honda’s goal is for the standard hatchback’s image to be a bit sportier to align it with the top-of-the-line Civic Type R performance variant, which is set to be released in 2015. The Civic hatchback received slight modifications to its interior and exterior.
At the rear, there’s privacy glass on the lower rear window, and piano black finishes to the tailgate, number plate surround and lower bumper instead of these parts having the same color as the body like in the previous models.
A piano black finish was applied on the front bumper rather than anthracite grey. Darker wheel-arch enhancements were used. There’s also a new design of alloy wheel fitted as standard. The steering wheel, seat and knee pad of the 2014 Civic hatchback have a new white stitching detail. In addition, some aluminium-coloured finishing is visible around the cup holder and black gloss inserts.
In developing the new Civic, Honda wanted customers to feel stable even when doing high speed driving. One consideration is to make sure that the airflow under this model is managed properly. Making this possible was the bumper-to-bumper full-length undertray having those flared leading edges. When combined with the larger covers, which have been placed on the suspension in the rear, the undertray helps with the vehicle’s stability.
This is important especially when the Civic is overtaking vehicles, particularly long ones, on the highway and under windy conditions. For the diesel variant, Honda put in a shutter grille which helped enhance the aerodynamic efficiency. It also results in low-drag aerodynamics and cooling performance no matter what the condition may be. The diesel-powered Civic is able to get data on the current temperature of the water, temperature of the outside air, and speed.
It then uses the information to close and open the shutter correspondingly. For example, when running at low speeds, the issue of aerodynamics is not that significant so the shutter is always open. However the shutter is open as well when running at high speeds. Doing so lowers the lift on the front end and helps secure the vehicle’s steering stability. When running at medium speeds, the shutters remain closed.
However, the system makes the necessary action to open it in order to reduce any air resistance and improve the cooling which leads to improving the fuel efficiency. The brand revealed that in designing this new model, priority was placed on aerodynamics. Mitsuru Kariya, development leader for the Civic, said that aerodynamic improvements offer advantages and enhancing it means that, among others, the dynamic performance, driving performance, and fuel consumption are all improved.
This is the main reason why the design team, he added, took advantage of all the possibility and modified this component of the design. He continued by saying that the team asked for help from engineers, especially those who have first-hand experience when it comes to Formula 1, a sport that is dictated mainly by expertly managing airflow.
Kariya continued by saying that not only do the engineers have enormous experience when it comes to lowering drag, they also complement it with stability at high speeds, a quality that is important when it comes to racing. He said that this particular knowledge helped a lot in the design of the new Civic.