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In-depth reviews

Honda Civic hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The new Civic is good to drive and comfortable, but it’s not the most fun

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

Typically, hybrid cars tend to be easy to drive around town, but a bit dull and not very rewarding on country roads. Thankfully Honda has worked hard to change this for the new Civic, and the result is a car that’s better than most of its rivals around corners, but also comfortable and smooth when you’re just driving normally. 

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The Civic isolates most lumps and bumps in the road, preventing them from crashing into the cabin. Yet it doesn’t roll too much in corners, either. There’s even a feature that detects that the car is on a winding road and primes the engine and electric motor accordingly – reducing lag and ensuring full power is available when you want or need it most. There’s plentiful grip from the front of the car, met with faithful body control and weighty steering that helps reassure you when driving quickly.

Honda Civic hybrid engines

The Civic is able to accelerate from 0-62mph in a brisk 7.9 seconds thanks to its 181bhp motor, which is enough performance to make it feel quite quick off the line. When you put your foot down, the engine bursts into life but doesn’t feel very happy, so we felt the Civic was at its best when driving smoothly and gently. In this sort of driving, the electric motor powers the car, so it feels serene and effortless.

There are different driving modes including Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual, though we found just letting the car decide how best to use the engine and electric motor tended to work best. Electric-only driving is only possible for a short time but it’s great for traffic jams and city driving.

Paddles behind the steering wheel are used to adjust the regenerative braking, rather than for changing gear. In its strongest mode there’s enough of an effect to slow the car down without needing to rely on the brake pedal, even if it doesn’t offer true one-pedal driving. 

The new Honda Civic Type R will offer much more performance and fun, but the hybrid still has a good mix of enjoyment and comfort. 

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Civic e:HEV

181bhp

7.9s

111mph

Civic Type R

316bhp

5.4s

170mph

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 eHEV Elegance 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £34,980

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 eHEV Sport 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £36,475

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £50,235

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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