What is the Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic is a family hatchback now in its tenth generation, and is arguably one of the most popular and recognised badges in the world. Its look and feel have changed dramatically during its life, with some significant revolutions being made to the car's look in that time.
Previously the Civic was a much smaller hatchback than it is today, but in its current form it's one of the largest of the medium-sized family hatchbacks, rivalling the equally popular Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Skoda Octavia.
- Top speed: 124-169mph
- 0-62mph: 5.6-10.8 seconds
- Fuel economy: 36-83mpg
- Emissions: 91-178g/km of CO2
- Boot space: 420-1,267 litres
Launched in 2017, the Mk10 Civic line-up is a much simpler affair than many of its predecessors, with just two bodystyles on offer.
By far the most popular is the five-door Honda Civic Hatchback, but it was joined in summer 2018 by the slightly more traditional (and more expensive) four-door Honda Civic Saloon. Britain misses out on the Civic Coupe that remains a strong seller in North America.
So similar are the two silhouettes that you really need to see them from a rearward angle to appreciate the Saloon’s additional 130mm of length.
In terms of engines available in the Honda Civic, there’s not much choice. For the mainstream range there are two VTEC petrol engines – a 126hp 1.0-litre and a 1.5-litre producing 182hp – are offered alongside a 120hp 1.6-litre diesel.
For those seeking exciting performance, the Civic Type R has a 320hp 2.0-litre VTEC petrol motor nestled under its bonnet. Note that like the 1.5-litre petrol, the Type R isn’t available with the Civic Saloon bodystyle.
All engines are turbocharged and are available with either a six-speed manual or (except on the Type R) an automatic transmission – a CVT for the petrols and a conventional nine-speeder for the diesel.
At least trim levels are plentiful, with hatchback range following an SE, SR, Sport Line, EX, Sport, Sport Plus and Prestige hierarchy, with the Type R crowning the range. For the saloon, just SR and EX trims are available.
Crowning the range as a bulging-bodied, bewinged flagship is the Honda Civic Type R. Subtle it is not.
Easily identifiable alongside other Civic Hatchbacks, the Type R has a deeper front spoiler, blistered wings, an outrageous rear aerofoil and a trio of wide-bore exhausts. The finishing touch is the scarlet background for the Honda badging.
Producing 320hp, the Civic Type R can reach speeds of 169mph, but more important is its incredible handling, barely needing to scrub off speed to tackle a winding B-road.
Although Honda first offered Type R versions of the Mk6 Civic in Japan, it was the first seen in the UK on the Mk7. Hunt-out one of those for a less ‘in-yer-face’ appearance.
Based on Honda’s modular vehicle architecture, the tenth-generation Civic shares much of its underpinnings with the CR-V SUV and a variety of other models not offered in Britain, such as the latest-generation Insight hybrid.
Its styling is a boldly radical departure from the themes shared by the Mk8 and Mk9 Civics and takes some getting used to – it’s graceful from some angles and positively odd from others.
Despite its low-slung appearance, it remains spacious inside, but some of the clever features such as the modular rear seat and futuristic dashboard that are found in its predecessors are no more.
Hondas have long-had a reputation for being engaging to drive and the Mk10 Civic is no exception to this rule.
Even the less expensive models in the range have direct, quick-to-respond steering and impressive agility, with little in the way of bodyroll.
All that is good news for the uprated Civic Type R given the strong fundamentals of the basic package – in particular, the Honda hot hatch’s front-end grip and steering are revelatory.
Although list prices are comparable with many of its rivals, Honda does offer an array of compelling finance options for the Civic for those looking to obtain one using a PCP or PCH deal.
Discounts and deals on the Civic Type R are less easy to come by, but it’s still worth haggling to see if any extras can be reduced in cost.
Discover what drivers of the tenth-generation Honda Civic think about their cars with our comprehensive owners’ reviews.
Honda Civic Model History
Although the Mk9 Honda Civic Hatchback continued with the styling themes of its predecessor, the overall look - both inside and out - was more bloated, heavily detailed and less effortless than before.
This time around the Civic Hatchback was only available as a five-door as three-door models had fallen out of favour. Practicality was given a further boost in 2014 with the arrival of the commodious estate-bodied Honda Civic Tourer.
Performance car fans had to wait until 2015 before they could get their hands on the rapid Honda Civic Type R, but the wait was worth it - providing you could put up with the very firm ride quality.
A wide range of trim levels made up for the narrow choice of engines: i-VTEC petrol engines in 1.4-, 1.8- and 2.0-litre guises, but the diesel 1.6-litre i-DTEC was a real gem of a motor.
Eighth-generation Honda Civic (2006-12)
After the staidness of the Mk7 model, the eight-generation Civic was a complete revelation,
Most showy were the three- and five-door Honda Civic Hatchback - both of which shared the same side profile this time - hallmarked by a deeply sloping nose with a grille treatment that resemebled a full-width headlamp, a split-glass tailgate and a two-tier dashboard with electronic instruments.
Also making a return in the Mk8 range was the Honda Civic Saloon. Like the model it replaced, the four-door Civic was exclusively sold with a petrol-electric powertrain, whereas the rest of the range employed i-VTEC petrol and an i-CTDi diesel.
Crowning the range was the last of the subtle Honda Civic Type R hot hatches. Its looks were more muscular than lesser Civics, but it still looked clean and unadorned, although the nose was fitted with a more traditional black mesh grille.
How reliable is the Mk8? See what's said in our Honda Civic owners' reviews and find an example for sale near you.
Seventh-generation Honda Civic (2000-06)
With the seventh-generation Civic, there was a return to commonality to a degree, although which bodystyle you bought determined its country of origin.
First to arrive at the end of 2000 was the spacious, almost MPV-like five-door Honda Civic Hatchback, followed in 2001 by the sportier looking three-door - all hatches were built in Britain. It was the latter that proved to be a sound basis for a riotous hot hatch with the introduction of the Honda Civic Type R offering tremendous performance for under £16,000 when it was launched - a bargain.
American-made models had less success over here. first to arrive in 2001 was the Honda Civic Coupe, but sales stopped two years later when the petrol-electric hybrid-only Honda Civic Saloon was introduced.
Petrol VTEC engines remained the popular choice, but Honda did sell a small number of Civics with its own 1.7-litre diesel.
Sixth-generation Honda Civic (1995-01)
Generation six is where the Civic story reaches peak complexity.
First to arrive was the five-door Honda Civic Hatchback in spring 1995. It was British-built, replaced the Concerto and was the sister car to the Rover 400 Series (and later MG ZS and Rover 45 twins).
Although it was bodily similar to its Japanese-built siblings, the two-door Honda Civic Coupe hailed from America when sales begain in summer 1996.
We've not finished yet, either, for in 1998 the British factory added another product line with the estate version, badged Honda Civic Aerodeck.
Although a handful of Rover-supplied diesel engines found their way into the British Civics, the remainder were petrol-powered with the VTi models proving to be the quickest.
Fifth-generation Honda Civic (1991-96)
Sleekly styled, both the three-door Honda Civic Hatchback - with its split tailgate - and the four-door Honda Civic Saloon were rumoured to have been designed by Pininfarina, although there were no badges to confirm this.
The petrol powered range was joined in 1992 by the two-seater Honda Civic CRX - a model often known by enthusiasts by the CRX del Sol name it carried in America. Not loved to the same degree as its predecessors by Honda loyalists, this generation of CRX was essentially a convertible, albeit with a lift-out roof panel and a permanent rollover hoop for protection.
Fourth of the Mk5s to arrive was the US-made Honda Civic Coupe, a model that lacked the power to match its looks.
Fourth-generation Honda Civic (1987-92)
Those seeking greater levels of practicality were offered the taller, five-door Honda Civic Shuttle in 1988, while British customers waited until 1990 before the Honda Civic Saloon arrived as a replacement for the Ballade.
Third-generation Honda Civic (1984-88)
An astonishingly radical departure, the Mk3 range appeared in three guises in 1984.
First up was the sheer-tailed three-door Honda Civic Hatchback, followed soon after by a high-rise five-door Honda Civic Shuttle - essentially a smaller MPV.
Sports car fans appreciated the coupe-bodied Honda Civic CRX, but those looking for a traditional four-door had to wait until 1987 when it finally arrived badged as the Honda Ballade, a model which was the sister car to the original Rover 200.
Second-generation Honda Civic (1980-84)
Larger, but similar in style to the original, the Mk2 Civic was marketed under the tagline of 'The Little Angel'.
Heavenly is pushing it to a degree but the Honda Civic Hatchback was now the sole bodystyle on offer.
Small-capacity petrol engines for efficiency, paired with a car that was light and easy to drive - particularly with the Hondamatic automatic gearbox - made it a doddle around town.
First-generation Honda Civic (1973-80)
Launched initially as the Honda Civic Saloon with a small boot opening, practicality was eventually boosted with the arrival of the Honda Civic Hatchback.
It's telling how much the Mk10 Civic of today has grown as the Mk1 was similar in size to superminis such as the Ford Fiesta of the day, yet at the time it was Honda's largest car sold in the UK until the first-generation Accord arrived.