CIVIC COMEBACK: HONDA’S SHARP FAMILY HATCH JUST GOT EVEN BETTER
Honda’s Civic has been updated for 2017 with a fresh face and some neat touches. In a competitive sector, how will the all-new car perform?
Honda’s all-new Civic is now on sale in Northern Ireland – and it’s yet another big evolutionary step for the innovative family hatchback.
This is the tenth – yes, tenth – generation of the Civic, which first appeared back in 1972 Japan.
Twenty million plus sales later it’s one of the most enduring vehicles on the car scene, helped by a 2006 makeover that introduced revolutionary trapezoidal twin tail pipes and an assertive front end shape.
Honda showed that a small family hatchback could grow a sporty person- ality as well.
There was also an excellent 2014 upgrade of the ninth generation that improved the cabin and brought it into line rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
This time round, Honda has a raft of significant improvements to bring the car bang up do date.
The 2017 model is lower, longer and wider than its predecessors, and is bristling with new tech and safety equipment.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
There’s a subtler new look: it’s a fresh and sporty exterior styling with a little less of the harsh edges of old: with a swept back silhouette, sharper lines and low and wide proportions to lend it a more ‘planted’ feel.
New larger and wider wheels and tyres further emphasise the wide stance, there is a contemporary interpretation of Honda’s family ‘face’, incorporating signature Honda front headlight clusters. The rear bumper is creased and sculpted to underline the car’s poise from behind.
All models feature LED daytime running lights; posher models also get fancy LED headlights or projector halogen bulbs.
Honda boasts that the new Civic has the best driving experience yet, with a chassis that is 16 kg lighter than that of the previous generation Civic, but with 52% greater torsional stiffness.
All-new suspension, a lower centre of gravity, a boost in body rigidity, and front-end Macpherson strut suspension are all said to add further dimensions to the Civic’s sporty character on the road.
UNDER THE BONNET
The new Civic is the first model in Europe to offer Honda’s new VTEC 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engines, both available teamed with a newly-designed six-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic.
The 1.0-litre unit produces 127bhp and emits 117g/km CO2 while returning around 55.4mpg combined, according to official figures.
The 1.5-litre pumps out 179bhp while emitting 133g/km CO2 and officially returning around 46.3mpg.
Both are available with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic. A diesel powerplant is set to arrive towards the end of this year.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The cabin, naturally, is the target of a big makeover, with more space donated by the 30mm longer wheelbase and a driving position that is 35mm lower to reflect the lower centre of gravity.
Boot space is undiminished at 478 litres, boosted when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.
Better quality materials have been used to spruce up the cabin, including a one-piece soft-touch instrument panel with moulded stitching and premium seat fabrics.
TECH AND SAFETY
The centre console has been redesigned to accommodate the increasingly key element that technology has become to the driving experience, with the seven-inch Honda Connect 2 colour touchscreen housed at the top of the centre console.
Inside this you’ll experience the second-generation of Honda’s Connect infotainment and connectivity system, with full smartphone integration via both Apple Carplay and Android Auto, which both open up a whole world of mobile communications.
The final big advancement is in safety, with Honda deploying its Sensing suite of driver assist technologies that uses radar, sensor and camera information to help the driver in potentially dangerous scenarios.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?
The Civic is aimed at a broad range of people, from singles, to couples and families.
Starting from £18,235 on the road for the entry level S grade 129PS VTEC turbo in manual, the range tops out at £27,480 on the road for the 182PS VTEC turbo Prestige with CVT transmission.
The Civic’s interior has received a big makeover thanks to the longer wheelbase