HONDA CIVIC VTi-L HATCH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head to Head -

VALUE

It lacks leather trim and sat­nav but gets re­vers­ing cam­era as well as front and rear park­ing sen­sors. There are cli­mate con­trol air­con, elec­tric fold­ing mir­rors, push-but­ton start, dusk-sens­ing head­lights and auto-up func­tion on all win­dows. Capped ser­vic­ing is ex­pen­sive at $1768 over three years, at six months/10,000km.

DE­SIGN/TECH

The in­te­rior feels well put to­gether but the dash is too busy — three dif­fer­ent colour schemes vie for at­ten­tion. The cen­tre screen is func­tional and easy to nav­i­gate but looks plugged in rather than in­te­grated. The am­bi­ent blue light­ing in the doors lifts the ap­pear­ance at night, though. The front seats are com­fort­able, with plenty of side sup­port, while the seats fold two ways to fit high or long loads. A 12V plug and lug­gage net in the load area are among the deft touches.

EN­GINE

The 1.8-litre four-cylin­der re­quires a lot of revs to get go­ing and even then, it’s not one of the stronger en­gines around. The five-speed au­to­matic isn’t state of the art ei­ther and doesn’t shift as smartly as the class lead­ers. Of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion is good, at 6.6L/100km, but we used up to 12L in bumper to bumper-to-bumper city traf­fic. It takes pre­mium un­leaded.

SAFETY

The Civic hatch scored five stars and 36.03/37 in ANCAP crash tests. It has six airbags and seat belt re­minders for all five seats. The haz­ard lights ac­ti­vate af­ter an emer­gency stop and there’s a tyre pres­sure warn­ing. It lacks the more so­phis­ti­cated driver as­sis­tance tech.

DRIV­ING

The en­gine may be some­what asth­matic but the lit­tle Honda is oth­er­wise a sporty drive. Its steer­ing feels sharper and more ac­cu­rate than the Peu­geot and it has plenty of grip in corners. When pro­voked, the nose pushes wide pre­dictably and pro­gres­sively when pro­voked. The ride is a bit busy around town due to the firmer sus­pen­sion but it soaks up big­ger bumps well.

plus on-roads

VER­DICT It’s neck and neck. The Peu­geot has the edge in the style and power con­test but the Honda just edges ahead on safety and driv­ing dy­nam­ics

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