Review

Honda Civic hatchback

Price  £15,975 - £32,295

Honda Civic hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Stylish looks
  • Frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine
  • Range is generally well equipped
Cons
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Thirsty petrol engine
  • Diesel not available as an automatic

At a glance

The greenest
2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R GT 5dr £32,295
The cheapest
1.4 i-VTEC S 5dr £15,975
The fastest
2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R GT 5dr £32,295
Top of the range
2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R GT 5dr £32,295

"The Honda Civic is even more reliable than the Volkswagen Golf and has a more eye-catching design. The Type R model is set to take the hot-hatch class by storm."

The Honda Civic is a family hatchback whose rivals include that great all-rounder the Ford Focus, the dependable Toyota Auris and the brilliant Volkswagen Golf. It drives well enough, but the Focus and the Golf are better in his respect.

The Honda's trump card is its record for reliability and its distinctive shape, which makes it look unlike anything else on the road. That said, this latest model, although not hugely different from its predecessor, does look a little less radical and so is perhaps more widely appealing.

There's a choice of 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol engines (the 1.8-litre is available with manual or automatic transmission) and one super-frugal 1.6-litre diesel. This last engine is our pick for its 78.5mpg economy and zero road tax.  It also offers strong performance through the gears for brisk overtaking.

Not that the Civic is tuned for sporty handling. Instead, it's a competent car with a comfortable ride. The Ford Focus, in particular, is much more fun to drive.

However, that's set to change in summer 2015 with the rival of the range-topping Civic Type R. The 290bhp hot hatch, which bristles with technology, will cost just under £30,000 and compete with cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus ST.

It looks fairly radical, but underneath, the Civic is a practical car with some interesting storage solutions. These include rear seat bases that can fold up like those in a cinema to allow you to carry tall loads and a large hidden storage cavity beneath the boot floor. The boot is also usefully larger than those in rivals, including the Focus and Golf. For those people with larger loads to carry there's the Honda Civic Tourer estate – although its once class-leading boot has been overtaken by the Peugeot 308 SW's.

The Civic isn't the cheapest car in its class, but it does come with a generous list of standard equipment. This includes climate control, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and electric windows front and rear. There are five trim levels, ranging from S to Sport, plus the special Black Edition. S and SE Plus are the only trims available with the 1.4-litre petrol engine.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

Honda Civic diesel is very economical, but petrol models are outclassed by newer rivals

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The diesel Honda Civic offers the best blend of performance and economy

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

Interior quality in the Honda Civic is better than most rivals, but it still falls short of the Volkswagen Golf

Practicality & boot space

4.3 / 5

A huge boot and innovative seat-folding system make the Honda Civic very practical

Reliability & safety

4.6 / 5

New Honda Civic should keep the old model’s excellent reliability record

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."
What owners say 
4.2230118443316
4.2 /5 based on 591 reviews
58%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
9 Mar 2015

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