Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Plenty of adjustability in steering wheel and seat
  • Clear instrument display punctuated by large digital speedo
  • Let down by poor quality of steering wheel buttons

The Civic’s interior is a mixed bag, but benefits from getting the fundamentals absolutely bang on.

The driving position is wonderful, with lots of adjustment allowing you to set it nice and low down for a sporty feel or more high up and perched for a commanding view out – more akin to the more upright Civics of old.

There’s also plenty of movement in the steering wheel, while the seat moves backwards a lot further than some rivals. Drivers of all shapes and sizes should be able to find a comfortable position in the Civic. However, there’s no denying that the low-slung Civic isn’t as easy to get into and out of as its predecessor.

As standard, all cars get a digital dial pack. This could be compared to the likes of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but the reality is quite different. While some rivals offer many different possible instrument layouts, Honda opts for just one – trading customisability for clarity.

We love the large, digital speedometer and crescent moon rev counter above it – it’s a very clear pairing and easy to read at a glance. The centre portion of the screen can show everything from fuel economy to safety information, and Honda’s also the first manufacturer we’ve seen to pull navigation directions from a paired smartphone to display in the instrument panel, giving a degree of coherence even if you’ve eschewed the built-in navigation for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

As for the rest of the dashboard, it’s solid and well built with high-quality materials but lacks the last degree of finesse and polish you’d find in rivals such as a Volkswagen Golf. The buttons on the steering wheel, for example, are plasticky and confusing, while the leather and other materials don’t feel quite as dense and premium as they could.

Storage is a Civic strong point – there’s good-sized door bins and a decent glovebox, plus a cubby ahead of the gearlever which can be equipped with wireless phone charging on higher-spec models. There’s also a hugely deep centre cubby, ideal for packing full of all the family’s kit and clobber.

Infotainment

The Civic uses a seven-inch infotainment display which actually runs the mobile operating system Android. You might think this makes it just like a smartphone to operate, but unfortunately the reverse is true.

The Civic’s infotainment is very poor indeed by the standards of the class. It’s clunky to use, looks dated, and feels as though it’s a third-party system shoehorned in rather than a genuine manufacturer part.

The saving grace is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come as standard, so it’s totally possible to bypass the Honda system in favour of using smartphone integration.

Until the 2019 facelift, the infotainment screen had touch-sensitive hot keys and a volume scroller, but after feedback from customers and motoring publications these were replaced by proper buttons and a twisty volume knob. A big improvement.

Comfort

  • Lower driving position might not suit all
  • Rear seat headroom good, but not great
  • Impressive motorway ride comfort

The Honda Civic is a very comfortable car. It’s at the softer end of the scale in its class in terms of ride quality – and as a consequence, it handles rougher city roads just as well as higher-speed motorway surface changes.

The driving position will feel a little odd coming straight out of an older Civic, and sitting lower means there’s a loss of front visibility, especially around the bulky A-pillars.

Although road roar is well insulated and the ride controlled nicely, there is a little more wind noise than average, which takes an element of polish away from the Civic’s overall comfort, especially in comparison with the supremely impressive Volkswagen Golf.

EX-spec cars and upwards feature a two-setting Adaptive Damper System which adjust the firmness of the Civic’s suspension. It’s a nice idea, but works best left in Comfort mode.

The driver’s seat is well shaped and offers plenty of adjustment and support – and in the rear, you’re not short of legroom and enjoy a well-shaped rear bench. It loses out to the Golf and Ford Focus in terms of rear headroom, though, which is a concern for growing families.

Petrol Civics – particularly the 1.0-litre turbo – can become quite vocal at higher revs when demanding more from the engine. This becomes a particular issue with the CVT automatic, which has a tendency to keep revs higher than necessary.

That isn’t an issue the i-DTEC suffers with. It’s the same 1.6-litre unit found in the old Civic diesel, but Honda has fiddled with various mechanical components in the engine to ensure that it’s much smoother and quieter than before.

On the move it’s very hushed indeed, only making itself heard under hard acceleration. Even then, vibration through the pedals to the driver is minimal, and the sound is well insulated, too. 

Type R more comfortable than before

The lower driving position of the latest Civic is perfect for the Type R. The Type R's driver's seat looks like a traditional racing bucket, but in fact is so well shaped and supportive, that most drivers won't struggle to find the correct seating position. Rear-seat passengers in the Type R may feel a touch claustrophobic given the dark, one-piece front seats.

The controls all offer perfect feedback, too. It rides with more compliance than the old model, too – and the Ford Focus ST for that matter even in Sport mode. You could also use ‘+R’ mode, for the firmest damping, heaviest steering and perkiest power delivery – but only on track, please. On UK roads, it's so effective that you're likely to want to keep it in Comfort mode pretty much all the time. It's still firm, and never floaty – and represents the best overall compromise.