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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sheep (Civic) takes on Wolf (Lynx RS)..

In this blog entry, I dug out a Comparison test from my collection of Malaysian car magazines. It's a "WELL WRITTEN" Shoot-out between a Sheep and a Wolf. This is sourced from CARS.MY, Issue 24, 2004. It's written by Faisal Shah and Photography by Uncle Mel Lee. Though it's NOT WRITTEN by me, but I painstakingly SCANNED and typed it out for you guys/girls reading pleasure.

Sheep: Honda Civic 2.0iVTEC and
Wolf: Ford Lynx RS (A)


Try double-clicking the picture to read page 1 of the article:

A dogfight?

Unfortunately, we come to the bit there this review ceases to be a competitive exercise and turns into a rout, and one in the losing end is the newer and more expensive car. Dynamically, the Civic 2.0i-VTEC is so far off the pace of the Lynx RS that it isn’t even in the same country, let alone the same class, and I’m not talking about chassis dynamics only.

In standing start, the Honda gradually loses ground to the Ford, despite having a healthy power advantage. The gap is maintained all the way until about 170kph, which is when the Ford shifts up into its overdrive 4th gear and ceases to accelerate meaningfully anymore. It’s here that the Civic finally makes its extra power and gear ratio tell as it easily tops 200kph. But you have to wonder how often most drivers will go that quickly.

Head for the hills and the Lynx RS shows off the next bit of its talent, which is to deliver high levels of entertainment to its driver. It starts with a steering that is well weighted and accurate and continues with fine body control that allows you to take liberties with its cornering attitude. For a family sedan, there’s little bodyroll, and front end grip is stronger than you might imagine, which encourages you to press on, clipping apexes along the way.

Try the same with the Civic i-VTEC and the nose washes out very early on. You can actually hear and feel the tyres wilting under the pressure, which is frustrating because you need to back-off with so much performance potential left untapped. The steering fares similarly; although we have become accustomed to Honda EPS, when combined with a chassis that is much too soft for some spirited driving, it just fails to inspire confidence at the wheel.

Making matter worse is that in this type of real-world driving, the Ford also has the upper hand in acceleration as its fatter torque curve launches it out of corners with more gusto. The Civic I-VTEC is left waiting for its top-end rush to arrive, and when it does, it’s time to brake for a corner. At least this is where both cars are evenly matched – powerful stoppers – but again, the Honda loses points for too much dive when you really lean on the left pedal.

That leaves the final dynamic discipline of ride comfort. If you think the penalty for such fine handling in the Lynx RS is a harsh ride, you are wrong. Ford have managed to find a rare balance for their sports sedan. This is where comfort and cornering ability are not opposing aims. Yes, it is firmer than average family car, but it is also pliant and absorbent in a way that doesn’t irritate over long distances. The Civic on the other hand is soft throughout, and nearly wafts over rough terrain, but the drawback for this is too much float at high speeds and over undulating roads.

So far the Civic i-VTEC has been bloodied by the Lynx RS, but it scores some points when we compare interiors. While the Honda Interior is swoopy and modern, the one in the Ford is more upright and conventional, though they did try hard to jazz it up. A black-and-silver Nardi steering wheel, red-and-black seats with RS logos, and alloy pedals are perfect for such a sporting car, but they cannot match the muted good taste of the Civic Interior. Though it is more boring, the part-leather seats and steering wheel, as well as the red-ringed meter cluster and metallic inserts will probably be more appealing to those at this end of market.


It is not hard to conclude from this report that if you really want a sporty C-segment sedan, there is only 1 choice. The Ford Lynx RS is one of those rare cars that not only put the fun back into driving but also don’t ask you to accept compromises in comfort and practically in return. It is perhaps the most complete car in its class and as such deserves all the plaudits it receives.

Honda’s Civic I-VTEC is a very handsome and capable car, but calling it sporty is just setting up people for a disappointing experience because it is not set up to deliver even a remotely sporting experience. It is more of a fast highway cruiser. For Civic fans, it probably represents a pinnacle in Malaysia, but don’t expect it to be much fun on a winding road. For that experience, start lobbying Honda for Type-S kit for this car. FAISAL.


  1. MeEvil9:46 PM

    Nce article you got there...^^

  2. Anonymous9:23 PM

    That BGX6799 RS, is currently my father's car!