SHARP AND EDGY: HONDA BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO THE CIVIC HATCHBACK
Honda’s new Civic has a fresh face and some neat touches, but are they enough to make it a successful package? Jack Evans finds out
As one of Honda’s most successful cars, the Civic is hugely important to the brand. Having sold in excellent numbers, the previous-generation car has now been replaced with an all-new model, which sports a rather more saloon-like hatchback shape.
Set to offer better space, comfort and driver involvement, the new Civic is setting out to be all things to all people.
With just two engines to test from launch – a 1.5-litre and 1.0-litre petrol with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox – the new Civic is already able to boast a pair of excellent powertrains, which should help bring it in line with rivals, both in terms of economy and power.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
Look at the new Civic, and you’d be hard-pressed to see its relation to the previous car. Certainly, it shares the angular lines of the vehicle it replaces, but it really is all-new to look at. The front of the car sports a dynamic front splitter, while the sharp, edgy design theme is carried on along the exterior. The rear of the car sports a hatchback Continued on Page 2 >>
boot lid, which, though large, is easy to operate.
The arches have just enough flair to be sporty, while a spoiler mounted halfway down the rear of the car – a nod to the previous-generation Civic – maintains this theme.
Honda’s reputation remains one of a brand that produces honest, good-handling and reliable cars. With the previous Civic offering all three of these pointers, the new car is in good stead to be able to give them to customers too.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY The new Civic is being pitched as a car that really can offer drivers practicality in spades – and it certainly achieves this. The boot, which comes in at a respectable 478 litres, is quite deep and square, making it ideal for larger items. It also has a horizontally operated tonneau cover – you pull the cover across the boot area, protecting it from prying eyes.
What’s the benefit of this you may ask? The cover rolls into a holder mounted at the side of the boot, which is a lot smaller than a conventional parcel shelf. It’s about the size of a loaf of bread and can easily be removed and taken away – simple.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? Two engines are available from launch. There’s a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, which produces 127bhp and emits 117g/km CO2 while returning around 55.4mpg combined – though it’ll hit 60mph in a respectable 10.7 seconds.
There’s also a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, and this puts out 179bhp while emitting 133g/ km CO2 and returning around 46.3mpg. Both are available with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic. That manual ‘ box is newly designed to offer smoother and more precise shifts than before, and boy does it do both of those things.
There’s set to be a diesel option arriving in late 2017, though details of this have yet to be revealed. There is, of course, a hot Type R version set to speed into showrooms in the summer of this year, which will no doubt be popular with enthusiast drivers just as much as the previous incarnation was.
BEHIND THE WHEEL We got behind the wheel of the 1.0-litre-powered Civic. Though small in capacity, it’s able to offer an impressive 200Nm of torque - something which makes a car an awful lot easier to live with on a day-to-day basis.
Around town, the first thing that becomes immediately noticeable is the ride. It’s almost unnervingly composed, which makes it incredibly relaxing. The steering, which has a good amount of weight to it, makes it easy to position and thread the car through smaller spaces usually found in busy towns and cities.
It comes fitted with dynamic steering, which effectively lessens the amount of lock you have to apply in order to make sharper turns, and while it can feel a little unnatural at first, you soon become accustomed to it.
Add a bit more speed to the mix
“SET TO OFFER BETTER SPACE, COMFORT AND DRIVER INVOLVEMENT, THE NEW CIVIC IS SETTING OUT TO BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE.”
and you quickly find that the new Civic has a huge amount of talent dynamically. It corners with an impressive amount of stability, accompanied with zero body roll and a level of poise that would put a lot of current hot hatches to shame. You have to really try hard to push it into understeer, with bends undertaken for the most part with minimal fuss but a huge amount of grip.
In all the Civic is a hugely entertaining car to drive, and one which is surprising in the way it handles!
VALUE FOR MONEY The Honda Civic fitted with a 1.0-litre engine and sitting in SR trim costs £20,180. With this, you get 17-inch wheels as standard, as well as climate control, automatic lights and wipers as well as a larger touchscreen. For the first time in a Civic, Apple Carplay has been added, along with Android Auto, which gives greater levels of smartphone integration.
It’s not a bad place to be at all, and for the price, it certainly feels like a good deal. Drivers who wish to have the extra grunt the larger 1.5-litre engine affords will have to take on a £2,290 premium over the smaller engine.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE? The Civic really should appeal to most people. With two economical yet powerful engines to choose from, buyers won’t have too much trouble picking the Civic. It’s great to drive, good looking and spacious too. In short, it’s just about everything you could want from a hatchback, and more to boot.