Honda Civic hatchback

Review

Honda Civic hatchback

Price  £16,995 - £26,655

Honda Civic hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Spacious boot
  • Efficient engines
  • Decent equipment
Cons
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Dull design
  • 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 Civic wades into battle in one of the car world's most competitive classes to take 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 that is frugal, but also very cheap to run. Inside, the Civic hatchback already has plenty of space, but buyers can also opt for the Honda Civic Tourer estate, which has the biggest boot in its class.

Trim levels include the basic Honda Civic 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, while top-of-the-range EX Plus Civics get powerful, self 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 frugal, with an economy figure of 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 143g/km so that 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 to save on running costs, the 1.6-litre diesel is the most economical model in the range with 78.5mpg achievable and low emissions that mean road tax is free.

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

Interior & comfort

3.4 / 5

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

The Honda Civic gets soft-touch plastics that make it feel well made and mean it is a nice place to sit.

Comfort is also helped by the new car’s revised suspension, which gives it an improved ride compared to the old model and combines with the addition of more sound deadening – for a quieter interior – to make the Civic a relaxing car to travel long distances in. 

Practicality & boot space

4.3 / 5

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

You’ll not believe the size of the Honda Civic’s boot until you look inside. The company has used clever packaging – such as positioning the fuel tank beneath the floor in the centre of the car – to eke out 487 litres of boot space. That’s more than 100 litres over what you get in a Volkswagen Golf and there is also a large hidden storage area under the boot floor .With all the seats down total capacity is 1,210 litres, while the base of the rear bench can also fold up to allow 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 91st place (out of 150 cars) in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but for reliability it scored a far more impressive 29th place. The car was marked down in particular for ride quality, coming 145th, and that’s an area that has recently been vastly improved on.

The Civic scored well in safety when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP. The car got the full five stars and comes with airbags, electronic stability control, and seatbelt warning buzzers that work for both the front and rear seats. At extra cost, you can also specify Honda’s collision mitigation system, which can apply the car’s brakes when it detects an imminent collision.

Engines, drive & performance

2.7 / 5

Capable and comfortable but no match for rivals

The clever fluid suspension fitted to the new Honda Civic may make it more comfortable on a long journey, but it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to drive. The steering also means it is less fun than a Volkswagen Golf and, in particular, the Ford Focus.

In terms of engines the 1.6-litre diesel is the pick of the bunch and, despite how frugal it is, it is also a decent performer. All engines are quiet aside from the 1.8-litre petrol that can get noisy when pushed. It is also the only model available with an automatic gearbox, but it is not as good as the auto' 'box available on the Volkswagen Golf.

Price, value for money & options

3.4 / 5

Equipment levels are good and the Civic holds on to its value well

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

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4.0 / 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."

4.0 / 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."

4.0 / 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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