Honda Civic Mugen: Body of work
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Honda Civic Mugen
- Looks fantastic
- Sporty driving dynamics
- New exhaust sounds great
- No more power over standard Civic
- Same CVT
- Minimal interior changes
For almost 50 years, Mugen has been associated with Honda. It built performance parts for Honda from the very start, getting into motorsport development a decade later.
Mugen’s most famous motorsport entry came in the form of the Honda V10 engines it prepared for Tyrell Racing in Formula 1. In eight years, it managed 16 podiums, one pole position and four race victories.
In the time Mugen was associated with F1, the company only released a handful of products for Honda’s road car line-up. But since 2004, Mugen has released over 20 vehicles in concept and production form.
These days, Mugen and Honda are still thick as thieves. In fact, a special Mugen edition of the 11th generation Civic has just landed in New Zealand.
Priced at $52,000, the Mugen-equipped Civic is $5000 more expensive than the standard model, but comes with an impressive amount of kit.
This variant gets extra spoilers at both ends, sill garnishes and Mugen emblems inside and out. New forged wheels drop 4kg of unsprung mass at each corner. There’s also a stunning new Premium Crystal Blue colour making its local debut.
While the turbocharged 1.5-litre engine is unchanged, it gets a new stainless steel sports exhaust system that’s designed to produce “a deep and mature tone,” says Honda.
Honda NZ argues the $5k premium makes this one of the most affordable Mugen packages globally.
The VTEC turbo mill pumps out 131kW/240Nm, driving the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It feels sporty but it’s not overly fast, with a 0-100km/h time of 8.5 seconds; those looking for a truly fast Civic will have to wait for the Type R later this year.
It’s fun to drive, but like the regular car, the strange CVT lets it down a little. Sport mode increases the responsiveness of the transmission, and while the shifter paddles can be used to “step” it, it’s sometimes hard to work out what it’s actually doing under load.
The exhaust sounds nice and deep at idle, but less impressive through the rev range. It’s clearly not the standard system, so mission accomplished in that respect, but it’s pretty boomy at higher engine speeds.
Overall, this Mugen-equipped Civic does a great job of bringing some extra excitement to an already interesting car. It’s not the high-performance hot hatch you might assume a Mugen-badged Civic would be, but it’s safe to say Mugen’s take on the upcoming Type R will be just that.
HONDA CIVIC MUGEN
ENGINE: 1.5-litre turbo
GEARBOX: Automatic, FWD
ECONOMY: 6.3l/100km (WLTP)