So now it has been nearly two months since the Honda Civic 2016 hit the showroom floors in Pakistan, which means that the launch hype finally ‘looks’ to have settled down. One thing which has been pinching me ever since its debut in Pakistan, is people suggesting Audi A3 over Honda Civic, probably because of the PKR 3 million price tag of Civic’s top of the line model, VTEC Turbo. But the question, which pops into the head is that: “Is comparing them even fair?” As comparing any two things be they cars or anything else, there is a need to take into account, multiple factors for one to reach out to a conclusion, which will be the motive of this long-awaited comparison.
First Up: Exterior & Dimensions
As shown in the table below, when comparing the exterior dimensions of the two, the new Honda Civic takes a pronounced lead over the Audi A3. Civic brings A3 to shame as overall it is 174 MM longer, 4 MM wider and most importantly, it has a 64 MM longer wheelbase, which is critical in defining a car’s cabin space.
Taking the comparison a step further, let’s discuss the exterior equipment found on the two. While the headlights of both the new Honda Civic and Audi A3 feature a decent set of LED daylight running lamps (DRLs), the mode of operation of their headlamps differs as A3 comes with brighter Xenon charged front lights than Civic’s relatively dull projector halogens. Moreover, Audi being Audi, comes stocked with amenities like the headlight range adjustment and headlamp washers while compromising on the fog lamps, which come standard on the Civic.
Moving on, sunroof is a quarter million rupee option on the Audi A3 while it comes included in the PKR 3.0 million price tag of the Civic VTEC Turbo. As far as the rim sizes are concerned, Audi A3, despite being the smaller one of the two in terms of dimensions has a larger 17-inch wheels as compared to Civic‘s 16-inches. Side-view mirrors of both the cars automatically retract with A3 going up a notch to include mirror heating as a standard feature.
Since looks are predominantly dependent on personal preference, I will leave it to the readers.
Number 2: Interior
As mentioned earlier on, Civic manages to have a 64-mm longer wheelbase, which means out of the two, it is the one to have a roomier cabin. The importance of a ‘bigger’ cabin aside, Civic and A3 both have their passenger compartments outfitted in leather. And since A3 comes to Pakistan in the form of official CBU imports, it is free from the feature cutting usually found in PKDM cars, meaning it has electronic seat adjustment as standard – a feature missing in Pakistan’s Civic. Moreover both, Civic and A3 have climate controlled air conditioning and electronic parking brakes.
Audi A3 also comes with a 6-channel amplifier with ten loudspeakers as compared to Civic’s modest four. However, in Civic’s defense, it has better in-car display set-up; thanks to a larger 7-inch touch screen panel in the front and a display for rear occupants. Most importantly, it has ‘Smart Entry’ as a standard feature, which comes as an option on the already expensive Audi A3.
Next up: Under the hood
As expected, Audi A3 has remained dominant in both the exterior and interior departments of our comparison; thanks to its “German background” and a heftier price-tag. However, when we take a look at what comes under the hood, things kind of sway to the other side.
Honda Civic steals the limelight with its 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo engine, which produces 68 more horses and 45 more torques than A3’s modest 1.2-liter TFSI. Other than that, despite being the more affordable one of the two, Civic comes standard with cruise control, which is offered in a PKR 250,000 optional function pack by Audi for the A3.
In at No.4: Safety Features
If you read my comparison of Honda Civic i-VTEC Oriel and Toyota Corolla Altis Grande, you probably remember how Civic blew Corolla away in terms of safety equipment. But that as we know was a familiar competition and when competing with the bigger leagues (a German CBU in this case), Civic did not receive much leniency.
Starting with the basics, A3 being a German made sedan, comes with seven airbags spread over the cabin, while Civic being a “PKDM” offers two airbags, which according to our local manufacturers are sufficient to protect Pakistani customers. In addition to this, Audi A3 is equipped with Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and Active Brake Assist, all of which are a part of its Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP). While ESP vs. VSA is a totally separate matter, Civic’s lack of an in-car first aid kit coupled with an absence of active safety features hands this category to the A3.
Here is Why I think comparing Civic with Audi A3 is unfair?
Now to the tough one, normally I would come down to “Which one should you buy?” or “What’s your pick” etc. but with this comparison, after comparing all the factors above, here is why I think it is unfair to compare these two. The most obvious reason is the price difference, which as shown in the table below is wider than the price gap of a base Wagon R and a base Toyota Corolla! And would you ever think of comparing a Corolla with a Wagon R? The answer would be “No” for most people. And yes I am pretty much aware of the concepts of proportionality and purchasing power, but still, the difference in price is vast enough to render the comparison unequal.
In addition to this, the reason why I think this is an unfair comparison on the basis of a price difference is because both of the cars are tailored to cater different set of buyers, because whichever side you take, you will need to resort yourself to some serious trade-offs; be it less power and more price in the case of buying an A3 or be it the poor quality and lack of features when buying a Civic. Whatever the case might be, the call would come down to the price and the sort of compromises you could make.