9th Gen Honda Civic Bloggers Drive – VSA, ABS and a mini slalom! Fabulous fun!

After 3 bloggers’s drive with the Honda Malaysia team, starting from the Honda Freed (a compact MPV), followed by the Honda Insight (hybrid and fuel efficiency) and now the 9th Generation Honda Civic, I’ll be lying if I say I’m not already looking forward to the next one! 🙂

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Each drive had taught me many things; from how a hybrid engine works to VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) and Honda’s safety standards – the G-Force Control Technology. Sure, some technicalities were involved but it was always communicated in an easily digestible manner. Another noteworthy mention of these drives are how Honda Malaysia had consistently and successfully designed enjoyable yet educational drive trips while ensuring that our safety are always secured with experienced drive instructors from Paul Tan’s team.

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Well, for the recent drive it was no exception!
Besides the old ‘take-turns-and-drive exercises’ over numerous terrain, Honda Malaysia shook things up a little by putting the theories into practical situations as 3 separate ‘drive exercise’ section were set up at Desa Park City for bloggers to apply and experience the technology of the 9th Generation Honda Civic.
We were tested mainly on VSA – Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Brake Assist & the thrilling mini slalom (some of us like to fancy ourselves drifting)!

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Besides easy handling and a comfortable ride as expected of a vehicle of its class, the 9th Gen Honda Civic comes equipped with major safety features, all of which the drive exercises today are designed for us to experience it firsthand.

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The drive starts.
Flag off by Mr. Akhbar Danial of Honda Malaysia.

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Navigating the roads – the highways, the city centre traffic, the bumpy unpaved roads and the windy ones. Pretty standard by now for a test drive.
Oh, suddenly I sound like an expert don’t I?  😀

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I was tempted to drive over this huge pothole on the left but my Honda Civic was a sexy black Mugen and Modulo fitted one so I didn’t. No of course NOT, I was just joking. I was very well behaved during this drive.

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Spot me! 🙂

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Narrow winding roads was next. All in all, child’s play for the Honda Civic.

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I attempted a shot something like this. I had wanted to capture the stretch of the Hondas on the move among the backdrop of the hill. This shot was by the official photographer.

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Look at mine. Chis. No one going to hire me as a photographer anytime soon for sure.

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Civic is the first petrol engine vehicle that comes with ECO Assist function.
The ECO Assist functions on both petrol engine and hybrid are interactive guide that helps you to achieve best fuel-economy in the long run. After all, driving style is one of the determining factors in achieving optimum fuel economy.

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Your Honda communicates with you via the blue – green indicator. So pay attention! Econ driving was pretty much covered in my article of the Honda Insight bloggers drive last year so I won’t repeat it here.

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The drive exercise site was set up in Desa Park City, an oasis of calm (soon gone mayhem with the bunch of us) and green. The spacious parking lot was suddenly the backdrop for some fast and furious action.

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Tents, drinks, wet wipes, towel boys and face spray. Honda sure does things in style. 🙂

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Poor towel boy. No one tipped him.

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Here’s Jordhatt of Honda Malaysia demonstrate the use of the Avene face mist spray. First on the neck, then face! 😀

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The first exercise our team did was the VSA. VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) is a form of an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) which ensures full stability of the Honda Civic especially during emergency situations.

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In laymen terms it means your Honda Civic is smart enough to “take over” the car should you panic and lose control. This could be due to slippery roads, emergency braking or any form of accident.

For this exercise, we were told to drive as fast as we could and then take a sharp corner during a bend. This was on slippery (water + soap) tarred road.

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We repeated the VSA exercise a few times to detect the difference between having the VSA function on and off. With VSA in effect, what the Honda Civic does in such situations is to detect via its sensors (within the car) of abnormality and instability. The moment the system identifies that the car is going to be unstable (by going into understeer or oversteer), the system will quickly intervene by carrying out selective braking to bring the car back into its stable form.
When selective braking happens, braking will be carried out on 1 wheel only, out of the 4. Which 1 wheel will be determined by the system and it depends on the whether the car is understeering or oversteering, towards to the left or right.

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In other words, the car may potentially save you from fatality or serious harm. I was surprised to know all this during the briefing. I had always thought braking is well, braking. Stop the damn car. That’s it.

But no, when brakes are momentarily applied on 1 wheel, it will create a pivot point to bring the stability back. For the Honda, the VSA works together with the Honda Civic’s Electronic Power Steering system (EPS) which will also carry out mild corrective assist in the form of counter steer during oversteer. During understeer, it prevents the steering wheel from over-cutting (reducing the turn).

All that too much for you to handle? Well, it’s good to know isn’t it? During a potential accident, you will value whatever assistance you can get! 🙂

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We moved on to the ABS next. This was simpler. Just drive towards some cones and brake when the instructor ask you to. You are encouraged to drive at full speed of course. Wow, music to my ears! 🙂

The point to demonstrate here was how the ABS or Anti-Lock Braking System assist the vehicle to steer away from an obstacle while carrying out full braking.
On the other hand, a vehicle without ABS will understeer (or continue moving straight ahead) while the driver carries out full braking as the brakes are completely locked. With ABS, braking is done intermittently (at intervals and this is “decided” by the system) to enable steering of the vehicle, away from the obstacle.

And yes that’s me below! I killed a cone! 🙁

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The mini slalom was a test of guts (driver) and agility (car).  This was timed and a prize awaits. I had fun on this one, fancying myself a ‘racer’, taking corners at full speed and enjoyed being in control.

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So that’s it from me – the key points that I’ll like to share from my learning and personal experience during the drive. I hope you are able to understand better on how these VSA, ABS and Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering system works now and these are no longer merely scary acronyms to your ears! 🙂

All in all, fabulous fun!
To be frank, when I was informed that this time we would be driving the Honda Civic I almost yawned. What? But but.. it’s not a new model! I thought in protest.
After the the Bloggers Drive, I’ll have to admit that hey, Honda does upgrade their cars both inside out (exterior, interior and technology) though the name may remain the same.
From the 1st Generation Civic to the 9th Generation, Honda have always challenged themselves to give Civic a new value. In the beginning, the earlier development concepts placed emphasis on fuel economy and cabin comfort.
Over the years, the model grew to offer quality, style, safety and driving performance that are most desired by their customers. In a nutshell, a great C-segment vehicle! 🙂

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Here’s my team’s vlog of the day. Watch out for minute 0:47. Trust me, you’ll have a good laugh 😛

Want to get a Honda?
The 9th Gen Honda Civic line-up in Malaysia are as follows:
Civic 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC – OTR with insurance RM115, 980.00
 1,798 cc
 Maximum Power – 141 PS @ 6,500 rpm
 Maximum Torque – 174 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
2. Civic 2.0L SOHC i-VTEC – OTR with insurance RM131, 980.00
 1,997 cc
 Maximum Power – 155 PS @ 6,500 rpm
 Maximum Torque – 190 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
3. Civic 2.0L Navi SOHC i-VTEC – OTR with insurance RM136, 980.00
 1,997 cc
 Maximum Power – 155 PS @ 6,500 rpm
 Maximum Torque – 190 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
4. Civic Hybrid 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC + IMA – OTR with insurance RM119, 980.00
 1,497 cc
 Maximum Power – 110 PS @ 5,500 rpm (Engine + Electric Motor)
 Maximum Torque –172 Nm @ 1,000 – 3,500 rpm (Engine + Electric Motor)

It was also just announced yesterday that the Honda Jazz (CKD), petrol. Priced at RM74,800 it’s the most affordable Honda to date!

And if you haven’t seen this, well, now this is a real drift. I was only a passenger though. 🙂

Category : Automotive, Fun