3.6 out of 5 3.6
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

Civic offers plenty of space and comfy drive

Honda Civic Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £20,530 - £34,820
Lease from new From £221 p/m View lease deals
Used price £7,855 - £31,480
Used monthly cost From £196 per month
Fuel Economy 33.2 - 62.8 mpg
Road tax cost £20 - £150
Insurance group 15 - 40 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Good petrol engines 
  • Excellent handling and ride
  • Spacious interior
  • Eye-catching appearance

CONS

  • Lower and harder to get into than some rivals
  • Styling not to everyone’s tastes
  • Top-spec models are quite expensive 

Honda Civic Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

The Honda Civic is one of the longest-lived nameplates in motoring – it’s now in its tenth generation since launch in 1972. It, and indeed Honda in general have built up an enviable reputation in that time for being dependable, practical and uncomplicated, yet European sales have rarely troubled the likes of the Ford Focus or VW Golf.

Yet take one for a test drive and you might find yourself wondering what the Civic’s done to deserve such low numbers, as this latest generation has plenty to offer. With a practical interior, accomplished and comfortable chassis tuning and a narrow but impressive engine range, could it steal your buck away from the European competition?

Bold looks divide opinion

The tenth-generation Civic could hardly have been more different to its predecessor – with a low-slung, sporting look replacing the old sit-up-and-beg styling of the ninth-generation model. The front and rear of the car are low and aggressively styled, while the sloping, fastback tailgate is more coupe than family hatchback.

That’s a conscious effort on behalf of Honda to try and attract new – and, dare we say, younger – buyers to the Civic brand. By giving the Civic dynamic styling to match its new, more accomplished chassis, Honda’s sending a very clear message that this isn’t just retirement home transport any more.

The redesign also means that the barmy Civic Type R hot hatchback doesn’t look quite so out of place in the range any more. It’s still bonkers, with a ginormous rear wing, super-aggressive body kit and huge alloy wheels, but the sharp creases and slashes of the standard Civic’s body give a far more interesting base layer to place all this bling onto.

2019 facelift addresses concerns

The Civic underwent what Honda calls an MMC, or Minor Model Change – known to the rest of the automotive world as a facelift – at the end of 2019. The latest model barely looks any different to its predecessor, with just a few minor alterations to the front and rear bumpers and LED headlights.

It’s dealt with major concerns on the interior, however – particularly the centre console and infotainment system, which now has physical buttons and a volume knob instead of the awkward, unresponsive touch-sensitive controls previously fitted. There’s also full climate controls operated by buttons, rather than a halfway house between screen and physical switch.

Honda also introduced a new, range-topping trim level. Named EX Sport, it’s somewhat of a halfway house between the regular models and the Type R, and comes with a unique body kit and impressive rear spoiler.

Hugely practical interior space

Interior practicality and flexibility have long been the Civic’s forte, and that doesn’t change with the tenth-generation car. Though the previous model’s ‘magic seats’ have been canned, what remains is a truly cavernous 478-litre boot with a low, wide opening. It's far bigger than rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra.

There’s a large hidden compartment under the boot floor, too, ideal for items you want to remain out of sight or keep in the car.

Passenger space is similarly generous, with room for two six-foot adults to sit comfortably in the rear.

Up front, there’s a low-slung and comfortable driving position and loads of storage – from good-sized door bins to a huge centre cubby.

Efficient engine range

The Civic offers a choice of four engines: three petrol, one diesel. There’s 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrols – the latter reserved only for the Type R – and a solitary 1.6-litre diesel.

If you’re an ordinary driver without particularly challenging needs, the 1.0-litre engine is really all you need. Its power and mid-range torque belies its small capacity, and it makes the car feel surprisingly punchy given its relatively modest, 129hp output.

The 1.5-litre is ideal for those who want a bit of extra punch from their Civic. With 182hp, it’s pretty powerful but still returns good fuel economy. Economy champions should opt for the 1.6-litre diesel, however – with a combined WLTP fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg, it’s by far the most efficient in the range. It’s also reasonably powerful and refined, making it an ideal long-distance cruiser.

But if none of those three engines are powerful enough for you…

High-performance Type R available

As is now customary with the Civic, Honda released a performance version to head the range. It hit UK showrooms in July 2017, and the Type R became the fastest roadgoing Civic of all thanks to its 320hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.

Performance figures are impressive – 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds and maximum speed is 169mph. If that acceleration figure feels off the pace, consider that the Civic is front-wheel drive, and its faster rivals, such as the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R are four-wheel drive. 

Available in two trim levels, standard and GT, the Civic Type R is more habitable than earlier cars to wear this badge, thanks to a new Comfort mode. GT models are fitted with additional standard equipment over what is an already generous spec.

Read on for the full Honda Civic review

Honda Civic Hatchback rivals

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