The Honda Civic has been a steady seller for Honda in Ireland and accounts for over 50% of Honda’s sales here. The Honda Civic has its own loyal following of fans and though the Civic has always been a little alternative, they’ve stuck with it through some of the more challenging design iterations.
Generation ten, which landed in Ireland earlier in 2017, will challenge them yet again. Honda takes a more contrarian view to design, showing complete disregard to the mid-sized ‘box’ culture that other manufacturers take when designing a new mass market hatchback. The wedge-shaped weirdness of the previous generation has evolved into something far more aggressive and sporty. The pronounced wheel arches, spoiler, swept back headlamps and large intakes set in the bumpers front and back combine to make rivals look meek in comparison.
Inside new Civic the quality of the materials has improved, and the confusing multiple screen and digital display layout is gone. It looks grown up and upmarket, and there is loads of space. The second generation Honda Connect infotainment system is standard on all but the base model, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The new Honda Civic is a very generously proportioned car. There’s almost a bit of class blurring going on here, such is the substantial feeling to this car. The rear bench feels more accommodating than most of the rivals and the footwells are very large. Step around to the boot and you will find one of the best in class at 478 litres. Due to a new rear suspension design, the innovative ‘magic seats’ feature is gone: you can’t slap up the rear bench to hold a pot plant (!) for example, but this new car is so good to drive that I think you will agree the sacrifice for a better suspension was a much better investment.
On the road, the new Honda Civic is a smooth, smooth operator. That’s in part because Honda has launched the car with solely petrol engines (though a diesel will follow later). But the whole execution of the car feels tight and composed. The steering is fluid and direct and the front end grips willingly with amazing stability from the car even when pushing on. Comfort has not been sacrificed and the new Honda Civic deals very well with Ireland’s changeable road quality.
The new Civic is currently on sale with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 127hp, which will suit the needs of most buyers, while there is also a more powerful 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with 180hp. When revved the 1.0-litre has a familiar three cylinder thrum, but it settles down well to a cruise and it is a very flexible engine being one of the most powerful of the 1.0-litres in this class. It works exceptionally well with Honda’s 6-speed manual gearbox. Motor tax is €200 per year for this model and it returns a claimed 55mpg, with real world economy not far off that.
Pricing for new Civic starts at €23,750 for a 1.0-litre in ‘Smart’ trim. Standard equipment includes 16” alloys, Bluetooth, parking sensors, automatic air conditioning and the Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment. Impressively traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking system all come as standard.
The model tested was a ‘Smart Plus’ 1.0-litre (€26,250) and includes Honda Connect with navigation, rear parking camera, 17” alloys, front fog lights and auto wipers. ‘Premium’ models with leather interior, heated seats, opening glass roof, adaptive dampers, 11 speaker audio system and keyless entry and start are priced from €30,150, while ‘Premium Plus’ (from €31,650) includes wireless charging, LED headlights and LED fog lights, and headlight washers.
The 1.5-litre 180hp range starts from €28,550, rising to €32,550.
The new Honda Civic is an exciting new launch for the Japanese carmaker and is definitely worth sampling if you are in the market for a new hatchback. The new Civic arrives in our diesel-biased market with two brand new petrol engines, but for many people a petrol powered hatchback will meet their needs. The new Civic is one of the most comfortable and refined cars of its class, and a genuinely good drive, while a high standard spec including democratising safety equipment and a spacious cabin to boot, mean that the Civic has all the right ingredients to make an excellent family car.
Model tested: Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo Smart Plus
Price: €26,250 (Range starts at €23,750)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
0-100km/h: 10.9 seconds
Top speed: 203km/h
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year
If you are looking for a petrol hatchback, you might also like this review of the Volkswagen Golf TSI.