Review

Honda Civic hatchback

Price  £16,995 - £26,655

Honda Civic hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Spacious boot
  • Efficient engines
  • Decent equipment
Cons
  • Dull design
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Limited range of engines

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 i-DTEC SR 5dr £24,360
The cheapest
1.4 i-VTEC S 5dr £16,995
The fastest
1.8 i-VTEC S 5dr £19,255
Top of the range
1.8 i-VTEC Auto EX Plus 5dr £26,655

"The Honda Civic is well built, comfortable, safe and as dependable as they come."

The Honda Civic wades into battle in one of the most competitive classes in the car market, taking on models such as the beautifully built Volkswagen Golf and the fun-to-drive Ford Focus.

The entry-level engine is a 1.4-litre petrol, but the pick of the range is the 1.6-litre diesel, which makes the Civic extremely cheap to run. Inside, the hatchback version has plenty of space, but buyers can also choose the Honda Civic Tourer estate, which has the biggest boot in its class.

Trim levels kick off with the basic S, which gets alloy wheels and climate control, while SE Plus adds cruise control and a rear parking camera. Go further up the range and things get even more luxurious, with leather upholstery, sat nav and heated front seats in the SR model. Top-of-the-range EX Plus Civics have powerful, automatically dipping Bi-HID headlights with washers, plus keyless entry and go.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

Economy and efficiency are among the best in class

No Honda Civic is particularly expensive to run and there are only three engines to choose from. The 1.8-litre petrol is the least economical, returning 47.1mpg and emitting 143g/km of CO2, so road tax will cost £145 a year. You can also choose a 1.4-litre petrol, but it’s hardly any more economical and is quite a lot slower.

If you want the lowest running costs, the 1.6-litre diesel is the most fuel-efficient model in the range – it'll do 78.5mpg and has CO2 emissions low enought to be exempt from road tax.

The Honda Civic will cost more to maintain than more mainstream model such as the Ford Focus, but the company offers both fixed-price servicing and service plans. The latter start at £695 for petrol cars or £995 for diesel models.

Engines, drive & performance

2.7 / 5

Capable and comfortable, but no match for rivals

The clever fluid suspension fitted to the new Honda Civic makes it more comfortable on long journeys, but doesn't mean it's any more enjoyable to drive. The steering is also less involving than what you get in a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.

The 1.6-litre diesel is the pick of the engine range, and even though it's extremely efficient, it's also a decent performer. All of the engines are quiet, aside from the 1.8-litre petrol, which can get noisy when pushed. It is the only model available with an automatic gearbox, however, but this is nowhere near as good as the DSG twin-clutch gearbox offered in the VW Golf.

Interior & comfort

3.4 / 5

The Civic is comfortable, but taller passengers will find rear headroom tight

The Honda Civic has soft-touch plastics inside that make it feel upmarket and well made. This model's revised suspension boosts comfort by improving ride quality compared to its predecessor, while extra sound deadening means a quieter interior and makes the Civic a relaxing car to cover long distances in. 

Practicality & boot space

4.3 / 5

Spacious boot and a number of practical touches, but rear visibility is poor

You won't believe the size of the Honda Civic's boot until you look inside. The company has used clever tricks – such as positioning the fuel tank under the floor in the centre of the car – to eke out 487 litres of boot space. That’s more than 100 litres more than what you get in a Volkswagen Golf, and there's also a large hidden storage area under the boot floor. With all the rear seats lowered, total capacity is 1,210 litres, while the bases can also fold up like a cinema seat, allowing you to carry tall items in the rear footwell.

There should be plenty of room up front for two, but in the back headroom is tighter than it is in a Volkswagen Golf.  Nonetheless, the rear doors open to nearly a 90 degrees, for excellent access to the back.

Honda hasn’t held back with cubbyholes and the car gets two in between the two front seats, a large glovebox, and door bins, although the latter aren’t big enough to pass the Carbuyer big bottle test.

Reliability & safety

4.6 / 5

Hondas are some of the most dependable cars around

The Honda Civic finished in 91st place out of 150 cars in our Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey, but it scored a far more impressive 29th place for reliability. The car was marked down in particular for ride quality, where it finished 145th, but that’s an area that has recently been improved.

The Civic scored well for safety when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP. The car received the maximum five-star rating and comes with airbags, electronic stability control and seatbelt warning buzzers for both the front and rear seats. At extra cost, you can also specify Honda's collision mitigation system, which applies the car's brakes automatically when it detects an imminent collision.

Price, value for money & options

3.4 / 5

Standard equipment is generous and the Civic holds its value well

Top-specification Honda Civics can be very pricey, but the basic version comes well equipped with LED daytime running lights, alloy wheels, stop-start technology, air-con and an MP3 player socket. Move up the range and you get things like climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and automatic headlights. SR and EX Plus models are very expensive, but the Civic should hold its value better than rivals such as the Ford Focus.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"From the driver's seat, visibility is improved thanks to thinner A-pillars, but the spilt screen still hampers the view to the rear. The dash layout has grown up, too, with the confusing digital dials from the old car making way for a cleaner, more logical design."
4 / 5
"So like before it's still a spacious, well built and practical hatchback. It retains the now familiar Civic style too, although in our opinion it's a little fussy and not as neat as the model it replaces. What has improved is quality - the interior now feels more upmarket but is still as well built as before. And as it's a Honda you can expect bomb proof reliability too."
4 / 5
"The previous Civic's engines have been carried over, albeit in a more powerful and cleaner state. However, it's disappointing not to find a brand new petrol engine - like a 1.4 turbo or 1.6 turbo - to compete with European rivals. A smaller diesel engine is on the way next year and should open up the Civic's appeal."
Last updated 
16 Jun 2014

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