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.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page -

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

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