The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Civic has a fairly low driving position, but the gearlever is set relatively high so you don't need to reach far to grab it. The seats are comfortable, providing decent side and thigh support, and electrically adjustable lumbar support is standard on SR trim and above. That said, adjusting the angle of the backrest is a bit fiddly, because you have to pull a lever and shift your weight back and forth; a rotary dial would be much easier to operate.
The steering wheel also has plenty of adjustment, while the pedals line up nicely with the driver's seat so you don't need to sit in a crooked position. The physical rotary air-con controls are also easy to reach and intuitive to use.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Seeing out of junctions and roundabouts isn't an issue, despite the fact that you sit quite low in the car. However, the Civic's coupé-like rear styling comes at the expense of over-the-shoulder visibility, and its rear spoiler also partially obstructs your view out of the rear window.
Fortunately, you get a reversing camera as standard on SR trim and above to help mitigate this, while front and rear parking sensors are standard on all but entry-level S trim. Meanwhile, powerful LED headlights are optional on our favourite SR trim and standard on Sport and above, making it easier to see in the dark.
Sat nav and infotainment
The infotainment in SE models is very basic; you get an AM/FM/DAB radio and an adequate eight-speaker sound system. Upgrading to EX trim gets you a punchier 11-speaker stereo and a 7.0-in touchscreen display. Unfortunately, the latter is disappointingly low in resolution and inconveniently angled upwards so it reflects the sun more than it displays anything else.
Worse still, its menus are complicated, the screen is often sluggish to respond and its Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring will glitch and lag more than you’ll experience with more sophisticated systems, such as that of the Golf. Thankfully, the 2019 refresh added physical shortcut buttons and a volume control knob which helps address some of these woes.
There aren’t as many soft-touch plastics as you'll find in many European rivals, and some of the surfaces creak if you give them a good prod, but the Civic's dashboard feels well screwed together and the rotary dials for the climate control are pleasingly weighty and click reassuringly when you twist them.
A good choice if you want SUV styling and low running costs
Good value but falls behind the class leaders
Decent value, with attractive company car tax bills, but the F...
The Ford Focus stands out as the best driver’s car in the clas...