Expert Reviews

First drive: Honda Civic

Friday 03 February 2017

First drive: Honda Civic

It goes without saying that the Civic is an incredibly important car for Honda. The previous-generation model sold in huge numbers, and the Japanese manufacturer hopes this latest version will be able to carry that success on. Tipped to provide greater space, improved comfort and increased driver involvement, the new Civic seems to have all bases covered.

The new Civic comes with either a 1.0-litre petrol or 1.5-litre petrol engine, which are paired with a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. Both of these engines have proved to be rather excellent, and score well in terms of both economy and performance when compared with rivals.

Looks & Image

Next to the older model, the new Civic looks totally different. It still features the same angular lines of its predecessor, but these have been reworked to produce a car that is totally new and fresh to the eye. The front end gains a sporty front splitter, and the angular design language is carried on down the car’s flanks.

The wheel arches are slightly flared, and a spoiler mounted halfway down the cars boot completes the look.

Space & Practicality

Honda is pitching the new Civic as a hugely practical car, and it is certainly living up to these claims. The boot offers 478 litres of storage capacity, and due to its deep, square shape, it can hold larger items with ease. Thanks to a horizontally operated tonneau cover, any luggage will be kept out of sight from prying eyes. Because of its dainty size, it can easily be removed when it isn’t needed.

Behind the Wheel

Honda is offering two engines from launch. The first is a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit. This produces 127bhp and boasts CO2 emissions of 117g/km, while fuel consumption stands at 55.4mpg. The sprint from 0-60mph will take 10.7 seconds.

A larger 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol is also available. This develops 179bhp and emits 133g/km of CO2 and returns a combined fuel economy figure of 46.3mpg. Customers can specify both power plants with either a six-speed manual or automatic CVT transmission.

A diesel will also be made available later this year, as will a high-performance Type R model.

Our test car featured the 1.0-litre engine, and while it’s certainly small in size, it can still serve up 200Nm of torque. This certainly makes the Civic an incredibly easy car to live with.

In town, the ride is composed and relaxing, while the steering is well-weighted and helps with low-speed manoeuvres. Thanks to the addition of dynamic steering, the amount of lock required to make sharp turns at slower speed is reduced, making parking much easier.

Put your foot down, and the Civic really starts to impress with its dynamic abilities. Through the corners, there is a huge amount of stability, while body roll is practically non-existent. It will only understeer if you get properly silly through the bends, leaving us thoroughly impressed.

All up, the Civic is a massively fun car to drive – thanks in no small part to its superb handling.

Value for Money

In SR trim and with the 1.0-litre engine, the Civic costs £20,180. For your money, you get features such as 17-inch alloys, climate control, automatic lights and wipers and a larger touchscreen for the infotainment system all as standard. Honda has also fitted the Civic with Apple CarPlay for the first time, as well as Android Auto for easier smartphone integration.

Who would buy one ?

In reality, the Civic really does have universal appeal. It has a range of powerful and economical engines, offers a great drive, looks fantastic and offers plenty of space. When you really look at it, the new Civic is hard to beat.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Honda Civic 1.0 SR

Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0-60mph in 10.7 seconds, 126mph top speed

Economy: 55.4mpg

Emissions: 117g/km

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