Honda Civic Hatchback full 9 point review
Three engines are available: 1.4- and 1.8-litre petrols, and a 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.4 needs to be worked hard, while the 1.8 provides lively acceleration when you rev it. The responsive 1.6 diesel is the pick of the range, however; it feels brisk enough from most revs, so you rarely have to work it hard.
Ride & Handling
The Civic is a stable motorway cruiser, plus it grips strongly in bends and resists body roll well. Unfortunately, it never inspires the confidence it should because the steering is vague and overly light. Comfort isn't great, either, because the ride is pattery and unsettled. The diesel feels more supple than the petrol models, though, so is generally more comfortable.
The Civic generates a fair amount of road noise over most surfaces, and at all speeds. The 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol engines drone a little bit at motorway speeds, and while the 1.6 diesel is pretty smooth, it’s still very raucous compared with the engines in rivals, especially at high revs.
Buying & Owning
Most versions are competitively priced, and while discounts aren't big, the Civic should hold its value pretty well. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are generally reasonable, but they’re exceptionally good in the 1.6. Servicing costs are likely to be high, though.
Quality & Reliability
The upper part of the dashboard is dense and soft to the touch, but while build quality generally seems solid enough, the plastics lower down feel hard and a little flimsier than you might expect. Honda has an enviable reliability record, however, so the Civic shouldn't let you down.
Safety & Security
Every Civic has stability control, six airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints to protect those onboard. Pedestrian protection features include energy-absorbing front wing mounts and windscreen wiper pivots designed to break away on impact. All this helped the car achieve the maximum five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. The list of standard security kit includes deadlocks and an alarm.
Behind The Wheel
The Civic’s dashboard is a complete ergonomic nightmare. Many drivers will struggle to see the instruments past the steering wheel, and even those who can see them will be confused by the messy layout. What’s more, the brightly coloured displays reflect in the windscreen at night, and every stereo system available is too user-hostile. The cap it all, the driver’s seat doesn’t go low enough and rear visibility is awful.
Space & Practicality
Headroom is poor: up front, taller people have to recline the driver’s seat to stop their heads hitting the ceiling; in the back, things are even tighter. It’s a shame, because in most other respects the Civic scores well for space and practicality; there’s plenty of legroom front and rear, and an enormous boot. What’s more, the rear seats can either be folded flat or flipped up like cinema seats.
Entry-level S Civics come with alloys, climate control and a USB socket, but that’s pretty stingy. We’d go for the SE Plus model, which adds dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers. SR and EX Plus models have lots of toys, but they're pretty pricey. There are also T grades between some of the trims (S-T for example) that get sat-nav.