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New Honda Civic: prices, specs & release date

All-new Honda Civic priced between SEAT Leon and Audi A3 rivals; features bold styling & turbocharged engines

The 2017 Honda Civic is now on sale, with prices starting at £18,000 – putting it into direct competition with the similarly priced Volkswagen Golf.

That represents a significant increase in cost over the previous Civic, but the entry-level model has a much-improved engine and there’s additional equipment across the range.

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Two new petrol engines are available, with a 1.6-litre joining the range later in 2017 – plus a 2017 Honda Civic Type-R hot hatchback is in the works.

New Honda Civic design

The previous two generations of Honda Civic have been strikingly styled inside and out, and certainly not what buyers might expect from the traditionally conservative brand. The 2017 Honda Civic hatchback continues this.

It’s lower, wider and longer than the car it replaces, providing a slightly sportier, squatter appearance. The sloping rear windscreen and tapered roofline lends a more coupe-like appearance than previous Civics in an attempt to attract younger buyers.

The feature large air intakes, which become even more prominent as sportier trims are selected. The headlights, meanwhile, sweep far back along the car, running almost half the length of its bonnet when viewed side-on. Higher-spec models feature LED daytime running lights.

One key design cue carried over is the high boot hatch, which is intersected by a lower rear spoiler and third brake light, although this is said to have less impact on rear visibility than before.

Sport models will come with centrally mounted twin exhaust pipes, although lesser Civics will do without this eye-catching detail.

Interior & equipment

The 2017 Honda Civic’s interior is just as radical as the bodywork, with an ultra-modern style that’s a world away from rivals such as the Ford Focus, Audi A3 and Vauxhall Astra.

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The new Civic will be offered in seven trim levels. S trim marks the start of the range and is followed by SE, SR, EX, EX Tech Pack, Sport, Sport Plus and Prestige.

It’s all change for the instrument cluster, too: it’s now arranged horizontally and has a seven-inch TFT screen taking care of many traditional functions. Information such as your speed, fuel economy, navigation directions and music can be controlled from a steering wheel thumb pad, while it’s still flanked by analogue gauges for the fuel level and engine temperature.

The dashboard itself is an entirely new design and the Honda Connect infotainment system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to use many of your smartphone’s functions through the touchscreen. The UK Civic also gets active safety kit, with lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking all standard.

It forms part of Honda’s SENSING suite of technology, which also brings convenience features like adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition and speed assistance. Honda predicts the Civic will achieve a full five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating as a result.

Size, practicality & interior space

The new Civic has been lengthened by 130mm and widened 30mm, so there’s more room inside, while a 20mm reduction in height plays into its sporty ethos. Interior space is further helped by a 30mm stretch in the distance between the front and rear wheels, which is a boon for rear-seat passengers.

Some current owners may be disappointed to learn the ‘Magic Seats’ of the current Civic and Honda Jazz are no more, because the fuel tank has been repositioned under the rear seats instead of further forwards. On the plus side, this should also result in a lower driving position being possible.

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Boot space is almost unchanged at 478 litres, just one litre more than the outgoing model, but that’s still more than the majority of the Civic’s rivals. A neat feature is the parcel shelf, which slides to the side when not in use. A new Honda Civic Tourer Estate is also on the horizon, but isn’t expected to arrive until 2018.

Engines

In a change of tack for Honda, there’ll be a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines at launch. A 1.0-litre three-cylinder will get 127bhp and is expected to be the biggest seller, while a 1.5-litre four-cylinder will have 180bhp. Both feature Honda’s famed VTEC variable valve timing, which should increase efficiency and driving manners around town, but offer more power if you put your foot down. Both will come with a six-speed manual as standard, although a CVT automatic gearbox will be offered as an option.

By late 2017, a heavily reworked 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel will also join the line-up, boosting the Civic’s popularity with business drivers. While no official figures are available, the diesel is highly likely to offer the lowest running costs when it goes on sale.

While not confirmed, a hybrid model is also looking likely. Honda’s chief operating officer, Katsushi Inoue, told our sister title Auto Express the company is “big on hybrids in Japan and the US. We have that technology and we are thinking about it.”

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Not only that, but the Civic has been designed with hybrid technology in mind, according to its development leader Mitsuru Kariya: “The new platform is very flexible and has incorporated the possibility for future hybrid versions. The evolutionary steps from a diesel engine are now more or less limited, so we are shifting resources from diesel to electrification. A hydrogen fuel cell is not in our plan for the moment.”

Next Honda Civic Type R

Our sister publication Auto Express has also reported that a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine could produce over 350bhp in the Honda Civic Type R.

For the first time, the five-door Civic hatchback will be sold alongside the four-door Civic saloon in North America, with both being built in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Honda recently announced a further £200 million investment in the Swindon plant, which has produced over 660,000 cars since 2010, including the Honda Civic Tourer Estate, Honda Jazz supermini and Honda CR-V SUV.

Price & on-sale date

The new Honda Civic will start at £18,235 when it goes on sale in late March. That’s just £50 less than the cheapest five-door VW Golf, although the Civic’s entry-level turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is over 40bhp more powerful than VW’s basic 1.2-litre petrol engine.

If you’re after a new Civic with the 180bhp 1.5-litre engine, this is available from £22,470. The range tops out at £27,480 for a 1.5-litre automatic Civic in Prestige trim.

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