Honda Civic hatchback

Price  £15,975 - £25,335

Honda Civic hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Very practical
  • Excellent diesel engine
  • More comfortable than old model
  • Expensive
  • Limited engine range
  • Interior can’t match the Golf

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 i-DTEC SR 5dr £23,140
The cheapest
1.4 i-VTEC S 5dr £15,975
The fastest
1.8 i-VTEC S 5dr £17,635
Top of the range
1.8 i-VTEC Auto EX Plus 5dr £25,335

“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's excellent record for reliability and build quality makes it an obvious alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. The Golf is better to drive and has a larger range of engines, but the Honda wins back points for having a more practical interior and a bigger boot.

You’ll have to look closely to spot the difference between the latest Honda Civic and the car it replaces, as they have similar futuristic styling, but the new model has become more conservative. Honda has also improved the car's suspension to make it more comfortable.

Buyers can choose from 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol engines and a 1.6-litre diesel. We’d recommend the latter, as it offers punchy performance and excellent fuel economy. The Civic Type R will join the range next year and is set to be one of the fastest hatchbacks ever built. It’ll have a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and plenty of technology for high-speed cornering.

Family buyers are more likely to be interested in the Civic's ultra-practical interior. In addition to its big boot, it also offers some very clever features, including rear seat squabs that can fold up like cinema seats to let you carry tall items in the footwells. This review focuses on the Civic hatchback, but the car is also available as a Honda Civic Tourer estate. Until recently, it boasted the biggest boot in the class, but has now been surpassed in this area by the Peugeot 308 SW estate.

The basic Honda Civic isn’t cheap – in fact, it's marginally more expense than the entry-level Volkswagen Golf – but it does come very well equipped. Kit includes alloy wheels, climate control, electric windows all round, a USB port and LED daytime running lights.

Trim levels run from S to SE Plus, SR and EX Plus. The special Black Edition model gets an all-black colour scheme, with alloy wheels and a bodykit that make it look like the sporty Type R while avoiding that car's high running costs.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

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

Engines, drive & performance

2.7 / 5

The diesel Honda Civic offers the best blend of performance and economy, but a super-fast Type R version is on the way

Interior & comfort

3.4 / 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 
4.2 /5 based on 591 reviews
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
3 Nov 2014

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