CIVIC MINDED: HONDA’S FAMOUS FAMILY HATCH KEEPS ON IMPROVING
Honda’s Civic remains a big-selling and wellregarded family hatchback. Ahead of the arrival of a new saloon version, we check out the range.
WHAT’S NEW? Honda’s all-new Civic was updated for 2017, so it’s still a fresh and innovative car. Furthermore, now that Honda has just announced that it will bolster the line-up with a new four-door saloon, it’s timely to review the offering across the range.
Whilst we haven’t seen the new saloon in the metal – no-one here has yet – Honda has let it be known that the new version will use the same platform as the hatch, and also the same range of engines and transmission.
Honda has still to reveal details of pricing and spec, but we’d expect a slight price jump for the saloon, with its extended boot and other features.
The existing hatchback range, allnew last year, 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 an eye-catching 2006 makeover that introduced revolutionary trapezoidal twin tail pipes and an assertive front end shape. And it’s been constantly evolving ever since.
Honda showed that a small family hatchback could grow a sporty personality 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
The new look is more subtle: 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 was the first model in Europe to offer Honda’s new
“Better quality materials have been used to spruce up the cabin, including a one-piece soft-touch instrument panel with moulded stitching and premium seats.”
“The new look is more subtle: 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.”
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. Diesel powerplants are now available too for 2018 versions.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The cabin, naturally, was 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 was 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 beauty of the Civic is that it 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 SE grade 129PS VTEC turbo in manual, the range rises through SR, EX and sporty models.
“Honda has let it be known that the new (Saloon) version will use the same platform as the hatch, and also the same range of engines and transmission.”
The new Honda Civic four door saloon