Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Hatchback’s high-powered petrols conspicuous by absence
  • Sole petrol and diesel engine
  • Manual or automatic gearboxes available

Choosing an engine in the Civic saloon is a simple process. Buyers can choose between a petrol or a diesel engine, both of which are available with automatic or manual gearboxes.

The petrol engine is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit. It produces 129hp, which is around par for the course – the Toyota Corolla saloon produces 118hp, for example, while the Skoda Octavia can be had with 115hp or 150hp, the Civic splitting the difference.

2019 Honda Civic saloon front cornering

In practice, the engine is far from a pocket rocket but there’s ample performance for everyday use. You won’t be left foundering at the traffic lights, nor is it a struggle to join faster-moving roads, though it’s worth noting that the engine does become quite vocal when worked hard. At a cruise, though, it settles down into a refined thrum.

The 1.6-litre diesel is inherited from the previous Civic, but it’s been tweaked for even greater fuel economy. With 120hp, it’s down on power compared to the petrol, but offers good low-down pulling power and makes for fairly relaxed progress.

As standard you get a six-speed manual gearbox, which is particularly excellent – short, slick and snickety, it’s a pleasure to use.

Automatic gearboxes are available, and they depend on the engine choice. Petrol models are offered with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) while diesels get a nine-speed torque converter.

Conspicuous by its absence is the high-powered 1.5-litre, 182hp engine offered in the Civic hatch.

Ride and handling

The Civic saloon has a rather soft suspension setup, which aids ride comfort – it has a loping gait that suits cross-country runs very well. The payoff is slightly more body roll in corners, but it’s a trade we reckon most saloon buyers will be happy to make.

Handling is excellent however, aping the Civic hatch in this regard. The saloon turns in tidily and the chassis is very balanced, offering good levels of grip. The steering, too, is well-weighted and accurate, giving the driver plenty of confidence to stick the car into bends with gusto. The Civic isn’t quite as impressive overall as the Ford Focus, but it’s well up there with the class best in terms of being a really satisfying steer.