Honda Civic: which version is best?

  • Need help picking through the Honda Civic's engine and trim levels?
  • We've highlighted the important details and equipment 
  • Click links to our full review and individual road tests for more info

You want a Honda Civic but don’t know where to start – fear not, because Parkers is here to help point you in the right direction.

As well as highlighting what comes with each trim and which engines offer the best economy and performance, we’ve picked out our favourite specification too.

If you need more information then head over to our full review of the Honda Civic and for local deals check out our Cars for Sale section.

Smart wraparound spoiler remains

Updates for 2015

The Honda Civic has been around for a long time, since 1972 in fact, while this current generation first hit the streets in 2012.

It was facelifted this year with new bumpers and lights giving a sleeker look all around. A Sport derivative, which borrows styling from the latest Civic Type R, has also been added to the line-up.

Tidier at the front thanks to new bumper

Inside there are new fabrics and metallic finishes which give the cabin a lift, plus revised steering and suspension settings to improve engagement behind the wheel.

Equipment line up

There are five grades to choose from called S, SE Plus, Sport, SR and EX Plus. All cars from 2015 benefit from City Brake Active which applies the brakes for you to avoid low-speed shunts.

Below are some of the highlights from each trim level. For a full kit list check the Equipment section of our Honda Civic review.

New LED light signature is standard on all cars

Entry level S cars have 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control and LED daytime running lights.

The next two levels, SE Plus and Sport, build on the S grade and cost between £1,900 and £2,000 more than the base spec depending on which engine you choose.

Both get the Honda Connect system, rear parking camera with sensors front and back, and cruise control with speed limiter.

New Honda Connect system with nav

The Sport derivative is distinguished by a colour-coded rear spoiler and unique 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a mesh grille and black roof lining inside. 

SR is the same as SE Plus but adds leather upholstery (heated in the front), alloy pedals and a glass roof for £2,570.

Finally EX Plus tops the range with all of the SR kit and LED headlights, 17-inch alloys, and smart keyless entry and start. It costs £1,800 more.

Engine range

There are three engines to choose from depending on which trim you choose. The 1.8-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel are available with any trim, whereas the 1.4-litre petrol can only be had on S and SE Plus cars.

On the smallest wheels this promises 52.3mpg and 129g/km of CO2, meaning £110 a year in VED tax*. You’ll hit 0-62mph in 13.4 seconds.

From economy to pace, there's an engine for everyone

The larger petrol is available across the range and is much punchier, with 140bhp propelling it from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds.

If you want this performance the cost is slightly reduced fuel economy of 48.7mpg, and higher CO2 of 137g/km which results in annual tax of £130*.

It’s your only choice if you want an automatic too, which takes two seconds longer from 0-62mph and means economy of 44.8mpg and 148g/km of CO2, so tax will cost £145 a year*.

The only diesel option is a good balance with 78.5mpg and 118bhp, so 0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds and your road tax is free* thanks to sub 100g/km of CO2.

Best for economy: 1.6 diesel

Best for performance: 1.8 petrol

Best balance: 1.6 diesel

For more information on engines check out the Driving and Performance section of our Honda Civic review.

Leather interior on EX Plus

Which would we buy?

Depending on whether you want the eye-catching bodykit or not, we’d stick with SE Plus or Sport as these contain all the kit you really need. Add the efficient but pacey 1.6-litre diesel and you’ll get low running costs too.

Undecided if the Honda Civic is for you? The below articles may help you choose your next new car:

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*Tax costs are based on the current 2015/16 rates - in April 2017 these will be changing - click here to read more about the changes and how they could effect you.