Honda Civic hatchback review (2015-2022)
“The latest Honda Civic is a real departure, with unique styling in the family hatchback class and lots of desirable talents”
- Lots of standard safety equipment
- 1.0-litre petrol engine is a peach
- Enjoyable to drive
- Rear headroom a little tight
- Steering could do with more ‘feel’
- Looks may be too radical for some
The Honda Civic remains one of the world's best-selling models, and it's now in its 10th generation. It's become a Civic calling card to offer striking looks, and the latest version is no exception. It's also affordable to run and noted for its reliability and how easy it is to live with. There's no shortage of rivals in the class, with models including the Ford Focus, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra all being superb cars in isolation.
Power comes from two small, turbocharged engines, starting with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol that’s punchy and economical. A larger 1.5-litre is fitted to the Sport trim but the 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel is no longer available, as Honda gradually phases out diesel engines in favour of hybrid and electric powertrains. You’ll need to hunt one out from stock or second-hand if you’re keen on its 62.8mpg fuel economy and its low CO2 emissions of 117-122g/km. Private buyers who primarily make infrequent, short journeys are likely to find the smallest 1.0-litre petrol with a six-speed manual gearbox the best fit, but the seven-speed CVT automatic could be a better option if you spend a lot of time in traffic or on the motorway.
Honda has really improved how the Civic drives, and even the entry-level version is fun, if slightly less refined than some rivals. Looks are entirely subjective, but we reckon the Civic is rather eye-catching, particularly when you see one on the road. Look closer and you'll find the build quality is excellent as far as the exterior and interior goes, with some attractive finishes and soft-touch materials that help justify the Civic’s price. If you think the stylish is too outlandish, however, the upcoming new Civic has a slightly more restrained design.
Even though the Civic starts from under £23,000 - undercutting the entry-level Golf by around £1,500 - it’s certainly not a budget option, but it does tend to be well equipped. Even the entry-level SE model gets heated electric door mirrors, lots of driving assistance devices, Bluetooth and DAB radio, climate control and 16-inch alloy wheels. SR adds leather details for some of the interior, parking assistance and Honda’s touchscreen with sat nav and smartphone mirroring; it’s our pick of the range with the 1.0-litre engine.
Higher in the range, the Civic can be specified in EX Sport Line trim based on the EX grade, which is available with the 124bhp 1.0-litre petrol. This version adds more aggressive bumpers and gloss black exterior trim, along with black seats with red stitching, making it a rival to the Golf R-Line and Ford Focus ST-Line. There is also a Sport trim level with more equipment, which is only available with a 1.5-litre 180bhp petrol engine. Sitting above the main Civic range was the impressive Honda Civic Type R hot hatchback, arguably the best car to drive in its class, that we’ve reviewed in full separately.
One of the few areas the current Civic does disappoint is rear headroom, which is unlikely to be enough for tall passengers to be comfortable on longer trips. You’ll want to look at rivals if tall adults will regularly be travelling in the back. The fact is, the Civic is lower than the old car, but it's also longer and wider and, in most respects, more spacious. It's practical, too, with myriad storage compartments and a boot that, at 478 litres in most versions, is usefully larger than those of rivals, including the Astra, Focus and Golf.
The Civic is loaded with advanced safety features including adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking. It only received four stars following independent Euro NCAP crash-testing in July 2017, but has since been updated by Honda and re-tested, with cars built from September 2017 getting the full five stars.
Which Is Best?
- Name1.0 VTEC Turbo S 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name2.0 eHEV Elegance 5dr CVT
- Gearbox typeAuto
- Name2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual