Ranges from £
Every car maker has a so-called ‘flagship’ model, and we think the Civic is Honda’s. It’s a very good-looking car on the outside and is equally impressive inside too. Not only will you have loads of fun driving this, you won’t pay over the odds – you’ll get up to a whopping 79 mpg out of it! We think this is a fantastic car, so why not give us a call today to get yours? There’s a Honda Civic contract hire or car leasing option that’s just right.
The Honda Civic has always been a more interesting choice for buyers in the family hatchback segment. Over five decades and ten distinct generations, Honda has refined its approach with this model, perfecting a design and engineering-led package that tends to encourage brand loyalty.
Conquest customers though, have been harder for this Japanese maker to attract over recent model generations, hence the fundamental changes made to the MK10 Civic that have transformed its styling, its safety sophistication and, most importantly, the mainstream petrol engines that beat beneath the bonnet. As a result, the under-rated British-built contender is now hugely improved and could represent a surprisingly attractive package for the right kind of driver.
Three things you need to know about the tenth generation Honda Civic when it comes to the on the-road experience. First, the mainstream petrol engines are at last bang up-to-date, second, the suspension’s much more sophisticated, and third, the body it’s bolted to is vastly stiffer and more rigid, in a bid to create the kind of refinement and drive dynamics you’d expect in a much larger car. A promising set of headlines then, let’s scratch a little beneath the surface. We have to start with the engines, because they are so different to what went before. Most buyers will be choosing between a couple of ‘VTEC Turbo’ powerplants, a three cylinder 1. 0-litre engine developing 129PS and the four cylinder 1. 5-litre 182PS variant. Both are a big improvement on the normally aspirated units they replace, responsive and efficient, with the base engine managing a competitive 58. 9mpg on the combined cycle and 110g/km of CO2. You’ll be offered a CVT auto gearbox as an option, but we’d want to stay with the lovely, snickety precision of the standard six-speed stick shift.
As for engine alternatives, the 120PS i-DTEC 1. 6-litre unit used in the previous generation model has been carried over into this one with only minor changes. Also pretty much unchanged is the 2. 0-litre petrol engine used in the flagship Type-R hot hatch, though this now puts out 320PS. You don’t need ‘Type-R’-style power though, to really enjoy driving this car, thanks to a much stiffer body this time round that improves traction and body control. That more rigid structure also plays its part in contributing to the ‘big car’ feel we referenced earlier, something further emphasised by the more sophisticated rear multi-link rear suspension set-up. This allows this model to cruise over potholes its direct predecessors would have crashed through.
Check out the on-paper stats of this tenth generation Civic and you’ll find that in almost every respect, it’s conformed at last to conventional family hatchback expectations. Every respect except one , the styling - just about the only part of this car created in Japan rather than Europe - remains unique, divisive and charismatic.
Time to take a seat behind the wheel, where there’s far more conformity to class convention than there was outside, though not to the point where you’d feel that you were sitting in anything other than a Honda.
Gone are the unusual split-level instruments and the driver-focused asymmetrical fascia. Instead, you now view a relatively conventionally-styled instrument binnacle through the grippy three-spoke wheel, though closer inspection reveals that the middle dial is actually a TFT-LCD screen flanked by stylised digital temperature and fuel gauges.
Anything this can’t tell you will be covered off by the 7-inch centre-dash infotainment screen. It comes complete with Garmin satellite navigation, internet browsing capability, a reversing camera, ‘Apple CarPlay’ and ‘Android Auto’ ‘phone-mirroring connectivity and a DAB audio system with at least eight speakers.
We’ll finish by taking a look at the boot – where first impressions are good. The tailgate’s light to lift and opens to reveal a large aperture that’s complemented by a usefully low sill height. The sloping rear glazing slightly reduces loading height this time round but despite that, total load capacity measures in at an impressive 478-litre total in most models.
Ultimately, what’s important about the tenth generation Civic is the way it shows how Honda has changed. This is now a brand able to continually develop cars people might really want to drive, as opposed to models that many of them would merely find technically intriguing, and a company able to understand the wants and needs of people beyond its home shores.
Both the mainstream VTEC Turbo petrol engines more than make the grade – and it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that about a Civic.
There’s plenty else we’ve been impressed with too, the huge boot, a brilliantly-slick manual gearbox and the sheer uncompromising purpose of the top Type-R hot hatch variant. True, interior quality isn’t quite a match for best-in-class rivals, but the cabin’s now a lot easier to like and it’s a lot bigger inside than it used to be. Plus of course, this car’s built in Britain – for what that’s worth. In short, this model, at long last, has come of age, finally a car with sense on its side, yet one that retains at least a little of the kind of Honda charisma that every Civic ought to have. It makes its segment a more interesting place.