Honda Civic long-term test review

Honda's revitalised hatchback offers plenty of kit and striking looks, but how well will it cope with family life? We're running one for six months to find out...

Author Avatar
Mark Pearson
31 Oct 2017 10:28 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

  • The car Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC SR
  • Run by Mark Pearson, used cars deputy editor
  • Why it’s here To see if the new Civic can improve on the driving dynamics and all-round appeal of its predecessor and recapture its place at or near the top of the family hatchback sector.
  • Needs to Be the consummate family hatchback all-rounder. Make light work of the suburban commute and the school run. Deal with long motorway trips and fully laden family holidays. Be practical, economical, reliable, comfortable and good to drive.

31 October 2017 – Honda Civic second update

I continue to be enamoured of our Civic. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as a car to drive and own – it's a little gem in a world of mediocre hatchback paste – but, alas, I must start by pointing out an area in which it disappoints considerably: the infotainment system.

The 7.0inch screen is prone to picking up glare, for starters, and the touchscreen often needs a second prod before stirring itself into action. The shortcut icons are hard to locate and hit, and the Fisher-Price-style graphics are awful. But the worst thing is the utterly unintuitive nature of its operation. On more than one occasion, I’ve lost the screen that lists radio station options; it’s taken me days to find it again, rifling through the numerous sub-menus. I’m still not sure how I ended up finding it again, or whether I enlisted the help of my teenage daughter. All I remember is the misery of being subjected to someone else’s choice of music station.

Honda Civic long-term test review

Don’t worry, though – the rest of the Civic’s still great, even if an intermittent tyre pressure warning light caused me a slightly disrupted journey recently. It pinged on just as I joined the M25 on the way to a meeting, resulting in a 40-mile trudge to the next service station, where the tyre gauge then showed nothing to be wrong. The light has subsequently gone out of its own accord, if you'll pardon the pun.

Honda Civic long-term test review

Another light on the instrument panel has been bothering me, too, but in a different way. The Civic has one of those Econ buttons that, as far as I can work out, does nothing else other than illuminate an icon on the said instrument panel. I’m told that it actually softens the throttle response and limits the air-con to achieve better fuel economy, but my figures seem to be the same whether the button is on or not – I’m averaging 38.6mpg overall.

Honda Civic long-term test review

To be honest, I do wish the Civic were a fraction more economical, but that is perhaps an inevitable result of having a fairly weeny 1.0-litre engine in a large-ish car. Having said that, the other day on a 60-mile journey from Surrey to Kent via a traffic-laden M25, it achieved 47.1mpg – a new personal best.

It’s not just me wishing for better figures. Our videographer Mitch McCabe borrowed it recently for 400 miles of motorway work and came back impressed with everything except the infotainment system, as described, and the economy: just 36mpg in his hands. Well, nothing’s perfect, after all – and remember a flawed diamond is still a diamond.


Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC SR

Price £20,340

Price as tested £20,340

Options none

Official combined MPG 55.4

True MPG na

CO2 117g/km

Mileage to date 4810

Insurance group 15

0-62 10.9 secs

Top speed 127mph

Read more - the Honda Civic joins our fleet

Read more - the Honda Civic first update

Read more - the Honda Civic final report

Find a great Honda Civic deal


Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using #askwhatcar

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here