Did you not review the new Civic just a couple of months back? Why do you have it here again?

You’re right, we were among the first to drive the new Civic when it was launched here in April. But that was the Civic RS, and this is the Civic EX. That’s why we have it here.

So, what’s different?

A lot, actually. While the Civic RS with its 1.5-litre turbo four-pot was the first Honda to be sold in the Middle East with a force-fed engine, the ES is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit that’s good for 158bhp and 187Nm of torque. This mill replaces the 139bhp 1.8-litre engine that used to be the only engine available with the Civic earlier.

You said there’s a lot that’s different. And you mentioned just the engine. So, is that it?

Be patient, will you? There indeed are many more differences, including a chrome grille in place of the black one in the RS, there’s no spoiler on the boot, which means there’s no centrally placed LED stop light either. Also, while the RS had twin exhaust pipes, the EX has only one. Even the cabin looks and feels different, with fabric upholstery taking the place of the RS’s leather.

Does that mean the EX feels cheaper than the RS?

Not really. It looks distinctly less sporty. But the build quality, and the fit and finish inside are exactly as great as it is in the Civic RS. In fact, nothing about this car feels cheap.

How is it to drive?

Well, I remember saying that I didn’t mind the CVT in the RS as it did a decent job imitating a conventional auto ’box with its seven simulated ‘cogs’. But the Civic EX lacks paddles or any other means of manual ratio selection, which means the CVT isn’t as agreeable here as it is in the sportier version. However, seen purely as a family car, I wouldn’t hold that against the Civic as the overall driving experience is great. The 2.0-litre engine is significantly better than the one it replaces.

And how about features?

Honda hasn’t skimped here, with the ES coming with a digital speedometer, automatic climate control, electronic parking brake, the Lane Watch camera system, a power sunroof etc. Safety is also taken good care of with ABS, EBD, as well as front dual SRS and side and curtain airbags coming as standard in the EX.

Tell us more…

Sorry, there’s a reason why this is called a first drive report. For a more detailed report, you will have to wait until the mag comes out next week.