Honda Civic Hatchback
Reliable and solid but with an offbeat design that splits opinion. Expensive and rather dull compared to the old Civic.
The Civic comes with three engines comprised of two petrol options – a 1.4-litre i-VTEC and a 1.8-litre i-VTEC – and a single 147bhp 2.2-litre i-DTEC engine. The diesel is the best in the range in terms of pure performance, hitting 60mph in 8.2 seconds and reaching a top speed of 135mph, as well as providing decent pulling power through the rev range. The 140bhp 1.8-litre petrol unit isn’t far behind, clearing 60mph in 8.8 seconds and reaching a top speed of 134mph.
All engines in the Civic’s range provide good emissions and fuel economy figures but the flagship drivetrain is the 2.2-litre i-DTEC unit. On a combined cycle it returns 67mpg and emits 110g/km in CO2 emissions – as well as providing the best performance figures. The petrol options are also fairly economical, returning around 50mpg on their combined cycles and emissions below 140g/km.
Criticism has long been thrown at the Civic for its ride but its handling has always been decent. It used to favour a firm suspension setup which meant good control around corners and that’s the case with the new generation. It’s poised around bends and where the previous generation used to roll slightly at corners; this one doesn’t so much and feels more planted as a result.
The Civic still feels a little too firm but not as much as the previous generation which was far too hard. Overall it feels less jittery which is in part down to an improved transmission which is smoother than on its predecessor. The new generation marks a massive improvement over its predecessor.
The Civic is a large hatchback and its boot benefits from its strange shape. It has a raised rear window which means there’s plenty of vertical space for luggage, some 401-litres to be precise, and that’s accompanied by an underfloor compartment which is good for 76-litres too. The rear row of seats are also flexible and can be folded flat to free up 1,342-litres of space. Head and legroom is ok for all passengers however visibility out of the rear is famously poor because of its strange hatch and spoiler combo.
The Civic doesn’t set the industry alight in terms of its equipment levels with average technologies and features available as standard. At the bottom of the range climate control, alloy wheels and automatic wipers come as standard whilst typical add-ons like leather upholstery, satellite navigation and parking sensors are added as you move up the four trim levels.
Prices for the UK-built Civic hatchback start from £16,495 – quite expensive in an overcrowded segment.
The interior looks high-tech but it also seems a bit overcrowded with knobs, dials and displays crammed into the drivers side. A driver-tilted centre console can also make the driver feel hemmed in but all in all it’s a decent interior. Materials used are robust and solid and, being Honda, will admirably withstand general wear and tear.
There are all manner of mod cons and safety technology available on the new Civic including cruise control and a collision mitigation system but as a start all models come fitted with dual and side airbags as standard, Isofix child restraint points and traction control.
The Civic has always been a car that will stand out from the crowd and that’s true now more than ever. It also comes with frugal engines and an excellent diesel powertrain. It’s practical and spacious too, whilst handling and ride have been improved.
Rear visibility is poor and the Civic isn’t cheap, whilst they may not be absolute deal breakers or most buyers, they are just two reasons why it falls behind the heavyweight big hitters – along with drive and ride.
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