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The Skoda Octavia has a torquier and creamier powertrain but the Honda Civic boasts a more driver-focused cockpit and sharper handling.

26 Sep 2018


The Honda Civic has proven time and again that it's a force to be reckoned with. In 2016, the Civic won sgCarMart's Sedan of the Year and coveted Car of the Year title. In 2017, it came back strong and bagged the Hatchback of the Year and Sedan of the Year titles.

This year, however, the Civic faces slightly stronger competition, in the form of the Octavia when Skoda made a comeback in March. Is the new kid on the block able to beat our multi-award winner?

A matter of space

The Civic is slightly shorter from bumper to bumper, slightly narrower and shorter than the Octavia, but it has a slightly longer wheelbase. This gives it a slight space advantage where rear legroom is concerned, although marginal, against the Octavia's equally cavernous cabin.

The Civic has a slight rear legroom advantage thanks to its longer wheelbase

But what it loses out in legroom, the Octavia makes up for with a little more shoulder and hip space. From the back seat, however, both cars are on pretty much equal footing.

Head further back and the Octavia begins to show its claws a little more, hinting that it's serious about the business of family travel. Boot space and clever packaging is something that the Skoda brand is known for and this is apparent with the luggage hauling capabilities of the Octavia.

It has a bigger 590-litre boot than the Civic's 519 litres, which should see fit to a few more bags of groceries for a weekend of shopping across the causeway. It also looks and feels like the more expensive car on the inside, given the better quality materials it employs in its cabin, as well as a cleaner centre console design and sharper, more intuitive infotainment system (Apple CarPlay connectivity is yet another bonus).

Boot of the Octavia, at 590 litres, offers more space for baggage and grocery items

But the Civic fights back with more cubby holes laid around and under the dash that allow occupants to stow everyday items such as mobile phones a little more neatly away.

A matter of pace

While the Octavia is powered by a mere 1.0-litre engine with lesser horsepower (114bhp versus the Civic's 123bhp), turbocharging helps it produce more torque (200Nm versus the Civic's 152Nm), which equates to more shove when you put your foot down.

Paired to a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission, the Octavia's turbocharged 1.0-litre is a pretty gutsy unit, which allows you to go from 0-100km/h in 10 seconds flat, while the Civic will take 11.6 seconds.

Given the fact that the Civic employs a CVT transmission (known for its more sluggish nature), straight-line sprints and overtaking manoeuvres are also less exciting compared to the more spirited Octavia.

The use of turbocharging and dual-clutches in the Octavia also contribute to better fuel economy. Over a day of driving, the Octavia managed 15.8km/L, while the Civic falls behind with 11.6km/L. That said, the latter figure still isn't too shabby by today's standards.

Cabin of the Octavia has a cleaner design, while also looking and feeling a bit more expensive

A matter of grace

But when straight roads end and corners present themselves, it is the Civic that shines, especially if you're one who appreciates a good chassis that offers great handling.

The Civic turns in sharper and stays flatter through corners, and seating position at its max is lower than the Octavia and that adds to the sportier feel from behind the wheel. To be fair, it's not that the Octavia doesn't know its way around a bend, but the Civic is just more comfortable entering and exiting one faster.

But when cruising at highway speeds, it is the Octavia that is the quieter, more pliant family machine. Driven hard, the Civic's powertrain can sound a little strained, which is also amplified by the fact that its sound proofing isn't as good as the Octavia's.

Naturally aspirated 1.6-litre in the Civic offers more power but less torque than the turbocharged Octavia

A matter, then, of price?

At time of writing (17 September 2018), the Octavia will set you back $99,900 whereas the Honda Civic is lighter on the wallet at $91,999.

But think of it this way, the extra amount you pay for the Octavia contributes to a more refined drive, cheaper road taxes ($392 per year versus the Civic's $742 per year) as well as better fuel economy for the long run.

If it's the Civic's handling prowess and added legroom you prefer but want more power, there's always the option of $113,999 1.5 VTEC Turbo variant for consideration, too. But here and now, the Civic will just have to share its crown.

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Car Information

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Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-stroke SOHC i-VTEC Water Cooled

Engine Cap

:

1597cc

Horsepower

:

92kW (123 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

152 Nm / 4300 rpm

Transmission

:

Earth Dreams CVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.6sec

Top Speed

:

200km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.9 km/L

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Price

: -

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder

Engine Cap

:

999cc

Horsepower

:

85kW (114 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

200 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

10sec

Top Speed

:

202km/h

Fuel consumption

:

20 km/L

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Tags :  

honda  honda civic  civic  skoda  skoda octavia  octavia  sedan  compact sedan