Used Honda Civic long-term test

Earlier this year we named the Civic as our Family Car of the Year, but now we're seeing if it continues to impress when we put it through the toughest test of all: daily life...

Used Honda Civic 2022 long-term Manningtree Station

The car Honda Civic 2.0 i-MMD e-CVT Advance Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out if a hybrid powered family hatchback is the answer to a varied motoring regime, while keeping an eye on running costs

Needs to Soothe in motorway traffic, sip petrol, and entertain on a twisty road

Mileage 15,575 List price new (2022) £36,450 Price new with options £36,450 Value now £33,000 Test economy 56.5mpg  Official economy 56.5mpg Dealer value now £26,681 Private value now £26,512 Running costs (excl. depreciation) Fuel £670

27 June 2023 – Just the ticket

In my Honda Civic, the 240-mile round trip from Mistley, Essex to What Car?’s Twickenham office currently costs £28.35 in petrol. If I buy a return train ticket for the same commute, peak-time so I can arrive at the office before 9.30am, it costs £69.90 – and there’s no guarantee that I’ll get somewhere to sit down for the journey.

Used Honda Civic 2022 long-term train in background

Of course, there’s an environmental argument against commuting by car. I’m adding to the already heavy traffic, with CO2 and other nasties trailing in my wake. However, having averaged (and regularly exceeded) 56.5mpg on my motorway commute, the Civic uses a lot less fuel (and therefore emits much less pollution) than most other cars. And that includes the Vauxhall Astra plug-in hybrid that I ran previously, the best I ever saw from which on the same commute was 52mpg – and that was with a full battery’s worth of electricity on top of the cost of petrol.

Thing is, while a short, urban commute is ideal for a plug-in hybrid with a 30-or-so-mile all-electric stamina (it might never use any petrol at all), that range barely makes a dent in a 240-mile journey. However, with the Civic recharging its own hybrid battery at every opportunity, I reckon at least a quarter of my commuting miles were covered by electricity alone; in essence, it’s more like an electric car than the plug-in Astra is.

This leaves an unfortunate paradox. Because most plug-in hybrid cars can turn in at least 30 miles on clean, emissions-free electricity, it’s rewarded with a very low benefit-in-kind company car tax band (the Astra’s is just 8%) that makes it appealingly cheap for a user to “own”. Ironically, though, on the long motorway journeys that such people often make, the Astra is likely to use more fuel and be worse for the environment than the Civic – which is saddled with a 27% tax rating. 

If you’re a company car user, then, the Civic doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, if you’re a private buyer, it should be right at the top of your family car shopping list, and its economy is just the tip of its iceberg of benefits – especially if you enjoy driving. 

Used Honda Civic 2022 long-term fuel good corner

The Civic corners eagerly, grips hard and accelerates briskly enough to make you question whether you really need a Honda Civic Type R (our reigning hot hatch of the year) – with its much less thrifty 34.5mpg official fuel consumption. In fact, it feels as if Honda started with the Type-R and devised the regular Civic as a comfier, more economical version, without sacrificing driver appeal along with the racy badge. It’s that good to drive.

I think it’s let down by its humble, non-aspirational name. In my first report, I mentioned how much more sophisticated my car is than the Civic I passed my driving test in centuries ago; it’s still a family car, as ever, but it feels much more special inside than a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Astra, and it’s vastly better designed inside than the Volkswagen Golf. If you ever want to adjust your air conditioning by feel alone or dim the instrument panel without diving into a touchscreen menu, you’ll like the cut of the Civic’s jib.

Okay, it doesn’t pack as many plush, soft-touch surfaces as an Audi A3, but the Civic’s interior is so beautifully assembled that such materials would have little tangible benefit other than to gild the lily. The A3’s infotainment system has swisher menus, too, but it ends up being less intuitive to use; the Civic’s uglier interface is easier to navigate on the move.

Used Honda Civic 2022 long-term at hotel

After the softly sprung Astra, the Civic’s ride is rather firm, but if softening it up would mean slackening its reflexes on a country road, I’d rather not. A bigger gripe, though, is that – on its 18in Michelin tyres – my car kicked up far too much road noise at motorway speeds; conversation always meant slightly raising my voice. That hurt the pleasure of long-distance driving, but it’s the only fly in my Civic’s ointment.

Few new cars have ever given me more smiles per mile, per pound spent on fuel. And, with the promise that you’ll see a big proportion of its purchase price back when it comes time to sell (even more so if you buy used), the Civic truly is a brilliant buy.

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