Few would have thought that the arrival of the tenth-generation Honda Civic here in 2016 would help rejuvenate a segment that was in disarray, languishing in the face of stiff competition from SUVs and ever-growing B-segment offerings.
At that point, things looked dismal for the C-segment sedan, at least from a volume perspective, with very little to spark the imagination and conversely, buyer’s wallets – the ninth-gen FB was nowhere close to its predecessor in terms of appeal, and everyone else with a three-box sedan solution at that point wasn’t having a grand time either, be it the Toyota Corolla Altis, Nissan Sylphy or the Mazda 3, to name some still playing that field.
But that’s what the Civic did, stir the pot, as reflected by the large number of FCs you see running about on the roads. Its success speaks volumes of it as a product, turning things around in a segment that many observers felt was on the way out or had already left town.
No, it wasn’t quite a watershed moment, because the category will no longer be king, but it did go to show that there can still be validity – and relevant numbers – in it if you get the product right.
Rakish looks, improved presentation and smaller displacement turbocharging were the selling points, and that gained the car plenty of traction with the buying crowd. Three years into the game, the facelift is hoping to continue the momentum – ahead of its arrival here, we sampled the refreshed offering in Thailand to see what to expect.