Civic raises its game, but loses some of the old car’s charm
At a glance
- New price: £18,335 - £27,480
- Insurance group: 15 - 22 How much is it to insure?
- Excellent new engines
- Better handling and ride
- More room inside
- Lower and harder to get into
The British-built Honda Civic is now in its 10th generation – and this time around, it looks a whole lot more conventional than before. It’s enjoyed the largest single-model development programme in Honda’s history, and unlike previous incarnations, it will be sold in essentially the same form around the globe.
Compared with its main rivals, the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, it is still a highly-styled and unconventional looking car – which makes it a good choice for those who want to stand out in a crowd. Don’t let the new styling fool you into thinking that this Civic is any less interesting than before – it has a sophisticated engine line-up and uprated suspension.
Overall, it’s vastly more powerful and efficient than before, and certainly more accommodating, making it a compelling choice against the mainstream opposition.
An interesting new look
The Civic’s relatively low roof and sporting bodykit means it’s not a car for shrinking violets. The front and rear bumpers are low and aggressively styled, while the sloping, fastback tailgate is more coupe than family hatchback. The sporting look is deliberate – Honda wants to attract new buyers to the Civic, and believes making it look and feel more dynamic is the correct way of going about things.
It’s longer, lower and lighter than before, and the way the new Civic is styled, with its purposeful looking air intakes, vents and spoilers, Honda is making sure buyers know about it.
Is there more room in the 2017 Honda Civic?
The additional length over the old model, combined with the stretched wheelbase, has given the new Civic more passenger space in the rear. In the front, there’s also more headroom, which adds to the sense of airiness inside. The Civic now has a lower and more reclined driving position, which is part of its new sporting persona – probably good enough reason for it losing a dash of rear headroom.
The boot is usefully sized, with a capacity of 478 litres with the rear seats in place. It has a split floor for added practicality – and the slimline luggage cover that slides across the loadbay is a very neat touch.
Two petrol engines, two transmission choices
At launch, the Civic is available with 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. The smaller of the two develops 129hp and has an official combined fuel consumption figure of 55.4mpg. The larger engine produces a generous 182hp and returns 46.3mpg. Unusually, Honda offers both engines with its CVT automatic gearbox – there’s a slight payoff in terms of efficiency, but it’s a slick-shifting transmission, and the company reckons 40% of buyers will plump for this version.
So, what about diesels? An updated version of the outgoing Civic’s 1.6-litre iDTEC power unit is promised for ‘late 2017’, but its absence from the launch line-up shows Honda’s world focus with this new car. And that’s a poor situation if Honda is serious about attracting buyers from rival manufacturers.