2014 Honda Civic review

* Face-lifted Honda Civic driven on UK roads * Changes to styling, steering and suspension * On sale early 2014, priced from £16,995...

2014 Honda Civic review

The Honda Civic has been updated for 2014, with the changes inspired by customer and media feedback collected by the Japanese manufacturer.

The most significant of these changes are to the Civic’s steering and suspension; the aim was to give it sharper handling and a more stable feel at high speed.

However, Honda has also added gloss black detailing to the exterior in a bid to make the Civic look sportier. Efforts have been made to improve interior design and comfort, too.

Finally, the 2014 Civic will be the first Honda model to be offered with safety features such as forward collision detection, high-beam assist and city braking. 

What's the 2014 Honda Civic like to drive?

We drove the 2014 model back-to-back with the previous version, and this showed Honda has definitely made some improvements.

The steering now weights up in a more consistent way, and aside from some play around the straight-ahead position, it feels more precise.

Meanwhile, the retuned suspension keeps the Civic's body under tighter control over high-speed undulations.

Together, these steering and suspension changes genuinely make the Civic feel tauter and sharper, as well as helping to inspire more confidence.

Unfortunately, you do pay for this greater composure with a firmer ride. It never becomes truly uncomfortable or crashy, but ruts and expansion joints make their presence felt in the cabin (at least they do if you opt for the 17-inch wheels that were fitted to our test car).

We tried the 2014 Civic with Honda's 1.6-litre diesel engine and this is unchanged, so it remains as strong and efficient as ever.

It still does its best work low down in the rev range, too, which is just as well because it becomes very noisy when you work it hard and sends vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals.

What's the 2014 Honda Civic like inside?

Honda has introduced new seat stitching, piano-black dashboard and steering wheel trim, and a driver’s kneepad on the central console, but aside from that it's business as usual.

This means the interior is quirky and interesting, but badly flawed ergonomically. Many drivers will find the speedo is partially obscured by the top of the steering wheel, plus the dashboard has too many fiddly buttons and rear visibility is awful.

The Civic could be more practical, too, because headroom is tight in all five seats, and rear legroom isn't as generous as it is in many rivals.

Still, it's not all bad news. The boot is a good size and it has a large well beneath its floor, while the rear seats are easy to fold down and they have bases that flip up like cinema seats so you can carry tall items in the cabin.

Trim names and exact specifications are yet to be decided, but Honda says that a DAB radio and Bluetooth will be standard across the range.

There is also an optional safety package on offer (for around £800), which will include seven different functions activated via cameras and radars.

Should I buy one?

The revised Honda Civic is a more enjoyable car to drive, and while its ride is stiffer, it's unlikely to annoy you or your passengers.

True, prices for most versions are likely to rise slightly, but you'll get more standard equipment and the entry model in the range will remain priced at £16,995.

Instead, the biggest problem remains the fact that there are rival cars that are both easier to live with and better to drive.

The equivalent diesel Ford Focus manages to combine sharper handling with superior comfort, while the 1.6 TDI Volkswagen Golf is quieter and comfier, and it has a roomier cabin with a more user-friendly dash that looks and feels classier.

What Car? says…

Ford Focus
Volkswagen Golf

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from tbc
Power 118bhp
Torque 221lb ft
0-62mph 10.5 seconds
Top speed 129mph
Fuel economy 78.5mpg
CO2 g/km 94g/km