Used Honda Civic long-term test: report 2

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 country road

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 10,275 List price new (2022) £36,450 Price new with options £36,450 Value now £33,000 Test economy 52.2mpg  Official economy 56.5mpg 

20 April 2023 – I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle

One of the most memorable sequences in sci-fi epic Terminator 2 involved John Connor trying to escape the clutches of the sinister T1000 cyborg on a two-stroke dirt bike that seemed to have an infinite number of gears. And in a very specific way, my used Honda Civic brings that unfolding scene vividly to mind. 

Used Honda Civic long-term test driving mode

It all comes down to Sport Mode. As is usually the case, selecting this instructs the car to put thoughts of economy aside in favour of letting its hair down and living a little. But in the Civic, Sports Mode is more transformative than most. 

The simple act of toggling the mode on begins to build excitement; it makes a sound that could have come straight from an in-game menu in Gran Turismo. Once selected, the digital instruments go red, the accelerator response becomes crisper, and the sound of the car undergoes a metamorphosis.

Used Honda Civic long-term test driving

Put your foot down and the usually muted Civic yells like a rally car, and your acceleration is punctuated by frequent, jagged sequential gearchanges, just like those of John Connor’s dirt bike. However, while the Civic's acceleration is real enough (we timed 0-62mph in 6.8sec on test), the soundtrack – well, let's just say it embellishes the truth.

It comes through the stereo speakers, and its purpose is to instil a sense of drama that T2 director James Cameron would be proud of. Onlookers will hear a rather more mundane four-cylinder exhaust note to what greets your ears from inside the car, and those gearchanges are made to sound a lot more immediate than they really are. And, artificiality be damned, these special effects really do create the impression that you’re suddenly driving something altogether more exotic. 

long-term Honda Civic front wheel

It’s not only the make-believe soundtrack that convinces, either. The Civic’s driving position is sportily low and the steering feels meaty when you want it to, plus the wide tyres mean it turns in to corners eagerly and remains impressively flat right through them. It feels very well balanced, too, like a proper sports saloon. It’s obvious that the DNA it shares with the brilliant Civic Type-R hot hatch gave the latter a good start in life.

It’s now been a few days since I took the Civic for a brisk drive on a really good country road, but I know it won’t be long before “I’ll be back”.

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