Honda Civic Hatchback

Review Of The all-new Honda Civic

The Honda Civic seems to have been around forever. It’s one of those Japanese names that has never faded or evolved into anything else, and it’s quite amazing to think it has been on our streets since 1972. The all-new Honda Civic that you are reading about right now is the 10th generation of Civic, and Honda says it wants to recapture a spirit of a practical, yet relatively fun car to drive. To do this, Honda has spent time engineering this new Civic from the ground up. It’s completely fresh, but can it compete with segment heroes like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf?

How does the all-new Honda Civic perform?

This all-new Honda Civic marks the debut of two all-new Honda petrol engines – a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder ‘VTEC Turbo‘ and a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder unit. These engines are new to the UK market, and Honda is proud of them. Certainly, the figures suggest they should be. The little 1.0-litre produces 129PS, and is said to be capable of 55mpg, while the 1.5-litre with its extra cylinder is capable of an impressive 182PS – not long ago that was hot-hatch levels of power – and a sturdy 46mpg of fuel economy.

Honda civic front profile

It’s easy to see from the specifications alone that Honda is aiming to provide a degree of performance with the expected efficiency of a modern petrol engine, but Honda’s hint about returning to a sporty spirit doesn’t end there. Engineers have produced a car that’s said to be over 50% more rigid, has a lower centre of gravity, and has larger wheels and tyres. All those things contribute to better sporting performance.

Of course, engineers can talk about these changes all they like, but what we need to know is if the changes really work. Certainly, the tenth generation Civic is a big improvement on the outgoing generation, handling very well on the test route that we took it out on, and the new engines – of which we tested the 1.5-litre version – are excellent units, with plenty of eager power delivery, though it’s not as powerful as its sporty body suggests. The new ‘VTEC Turbo’ engines can be mated to a CVT automatic gearbox, but we’d suggest trying the new 6-speed manual, as it feels good in the hand and rewarding to work with. We should say it’s also to the Honda Civic’s credit that it remains quiet and refined, despite having this sporty undertone. Sometimes that’s not easy to achieve.

All-new Honda Civic interior, design & build

Tim sitting in drivers seat

The design of the all-new Honda Civic has changed rather considerably. The outgoing model was rounder, more bulbous in appearance – but the 10th generation looks more like a compact saloon. This effect is probably given by the return of the rear door handles to the doors themselves, instead of being hidden in the window/pillar area. It looks much wider and sleeker at the front, and the rear is a very distinctive angular, flat shape. There’s also that undeniable sporty edge to it – our 1.5-litre ‘Sport’ test car looks much sportier than it is.

Inside much has changed also. The last generation Civic had an unusual split-dash with information in the centre of the dashboard as well as in front of the driver. Don’t get us wrong, it worked and you had all the information you needed clear as day, but it did look a little bit odd. Thankfully, Honda has tidied up the interior of the new Civic and it’s a smarter design with an overall improvement in quality to boot. It’s got a little essence of 90’s Honda dashboard layout too, a nod to a period where it made some of its best models.

The all-new Civic will be manufactured in Swindon, a plant that has turned out consistently well-made vehicles for quite some time now. The factory will be making the five-door Civic not just for Britain, or Europe, but the entire world. This is the first ‘global’ Honda Civic, meaning it’s been built for everyone, with no specific changes for certain regions or markets.

The all-new Honda Civic specification

Unlike some other manufacturers, Honda is traditionally very generous when it comes to equipment levels, with limited options lists and strong standard equipment. The all-new Civic is no departure from that.

Headlining the features of this new generation of Civic are Honda’s second generation of its ‘Connect’ infotainment system, which is usefully compatible with Apple Car Play and Android Auto operating systems. It comes with an optional Garmin Navigation system, with five years of free updates thrown in for free by Honda. Honda’s own interface isn’t particularly good to use, so we think it’s handy the automaker has made way for Apple and Android systems.

The other headliner in terms of equipment is Honda’s safety technology package, called ‘Sensing’. It combines several features to keep you on the right track. Features such as forward collision warning, lane keeping assistant, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.

Because of some changes to the structure of the car, the ‘Magic Seats’ that made for easy loading of large and unusual objects are now gone. However, the boot still holds an impressive 478-litres, so it is by no means the end of the world. Honda surveyed customers during the new car’s development, suggesting the seats weren’t used that often anyway, so it’s expecting customers not to feel too aggrieved by this.

Honda Civic 2017 With Tim Barnes Clay

All-new Honda Civic: Cost, Pricing, and Leasing Rates

Honda has already announced the price of its new Civic, and it will start from £18,335 rising to £27,295, depending on what trim level takes your fancy. As with all cars, some options will be available and metallic paint will set you back £525.

Honda has also given us a PCP finance example to share with you, a £4,700 deposit providing 36-monthly payments of £189. Though, it hasn’t said how many miles a year that contract allows for.

You may find you have more luck leasing a new Honda Civic. We found some all-new 1.0-litre Civics for under £200 a month with nine-months upfront, and with an allowance of 10,000 miles a year. If you’re a business customer, you’ll be looking at paying a similar amount each month, but you’ll only need between three and six months of deposit to get that deal.

Pros and Cons Of The All-new Honda Civic 

Pros:

Cons:

Exciting new petrol engines

The last generation of Honda Civic was painfully lacking when it came to impressive petrol engines, but now Honda has provided us with two very impressive new units. Both the 1.0-litre 3-cylinder and the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder units are smooth and responsive and are said to be capable of relatively good mpg figures, though, on our test, we could only get late 30’s from our 1.5-litre test car.

New six-speed manual gearbox

With the new six-speed gearbox, Honda has really shown us just how important and exciting a well-executed manual transmission can be. If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys driving, then this is undoubtedly the option to have on your new Honda Civic.

Design

It’s quite clear that Honda is reaching for a sporty image with the new Civic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as other manufacturers often go down the sexy but sensible route. It looks the business, something that you’d like to see on your drive, and that’ll win hearts.

No diesel engines on launch

It’s unusual that a new car in launched with no diesel engines at all, but the Japanese manufacturers don’t seem to believe in diesel as much as some others. There will be a diesel unit coming later this year, but for now, it’s petrol only.

Not as sporty as it looks

While you can praise the design in some respects, you can also criticise it. It looks very sporty, and quite aggressive – especially with the centrally located twin exhaust pipes at the back – but in fact, the 1.5-litre Sports model we tested only reaches 62mph in 8.3-seconds. That’s far from slow, but it’s not as quick as the exterior suggests. Still, there is a Type R performance version in the works.

Low roof line

Sleek looks can come with a price. If you’re a taller passenger, the sloping, low roof line of the new Honda Civic could cause you some problems. There’s plenty of space for long legs, though, so maybe you’ll have to slouch a bit more than normal.

Can you see yourself racing around in the Honda Civic? Before you do that, we recommend having a look at their history

Honda Civic vs Ford Focus vs Volkswagen

In the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, the all-new Honda Civic has some incredibly stiff competition for sales. Both the Golf and Focus are two of the UK’s most popular cars, so to be able to take sales from them, it will have to do well in a number of areas. We think it’s got a good chance, though.

So, the all-new Honda is awesome, but what’s it like compared with its rivals?

Honda Civic vs Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is Britain’s third best-selling car. It is available with a variety of options and even an estate body, putting it at an immediate advantage over the all-new Honda Civic. In the short-term at least, buyers who want a diesel engine or an estate body will have the perfect excuse to not even look at the new Civic, which isn’t exactly good for business.

Metallic Blue Ford Focus

If they do go and check it out, though, they’ll discover that there’s a lot to be excited about. The new 1.0-litre engine is right up there with Ford’s EcoBoost equivalent – a multi-award winning unit that we frequently sing the praises of. It also drives very well, with that lower centre of gravity really paying off in corners. The Focus is one of the best handling cars in this sector, so the fact that the Civic can compete with it in terms of driver enjoyment is a very encouraging sign.

Our British-made Japanese friend also has the Focus beaten on interior space. Famously dull and dark, the interior of a Ford Focus is a bit depressing, but that’s not the case in the all-new Civic, with some very lovely interior details and a design that doesn’t leave vast swathes of uninhabited black plastic across the dash. Take note, Ford.

This then is a much tighter battle than Ford would like, so the price is going to play a big part in who wins this clash. Honda has upped the game significantly, and if it wasn’t for Ford’s expanded range options, it might well be struggling here.

Prices:

All-new Honda Civic – £18,335 to £27,295

Ford Focus – £18,035 to £31,395

Honda Civic vs Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen golf in blue parked

When you think about it, it’s quite amazing that the Volkswagen Golf has come out of the infamous VW ‘Dieselgate’ scandal seemingly without any negativity stuck to it. We can’t help but wonder if it’s made from Teflon.

There is, of course, a very good reason for that. The Volkswagen Golf is a quality product, attempting to pitch itself above the likes of the Civic and the Focus. Volkswagen thinks it is a superior product, but more importantly, the public does too. It is a suburban neighbourhood hero – an icon; it tells everyone else that you’ve got a bit more money so you didn’t have to buy a Skoda or a Ford, or maybe even a Honda.

Overcoming this is the biggest problem that the Ford and Honda have. While it’s true, some aspects of the Volkswagen Golf are superior to that of its rivals, it isn’t as superior as the public thinks, and snobbery towards these ‘lesser’ brands often impede their sales.

The truth is, the Volkswagen Golf is a very good car, but by no means does it sparkle, and it isn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Focus or the new Honda Civic, for that matter. Like the Focus, it has an expansive range on its side, even encompassing hybrid technology. It is quieter, and slightly more refined than rivals, but features an expansive and expensive options list where you’ll find some things you get cheaper, or for free, on the Focus and Civic.

Prices:

Honda Civic – £18,335 to £27,295

Volkswagen Golf – £18,715 to £35,820

Verdict of the all-new Honda Civic

The all-new Honda Civic is a mightily good effort from the Japanese firm and brings it right into contention with its rivals, some of the biggest selling cars in the UK. We mentioned earlier how the Ford Focus is the third biggest seller, well the Golf is the fourth, and with improvements made to the way the Civic looks, feels and goes, it is now a proposition that should be taken very seriously indeed. Now we just have to wait for the diesel and the super-hot Type R versions to make their appearances.

Red honda civic

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