Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Si 5-dr
Civic three- and five-door
hatchbacks are in their final year of
production until the next generation
arrives in early 2012. Good news
for buyers is that the final updates
are designed to enhance the striking
appearance and passenger comfort
at no extra cost...
IN A COMPLICATED RUN-OUT year the model line-up of three- and five-door models
are now only available with 1.4 and 1.8 petrol engines. The 2.0-litre i-VTEC
petrol engine has been removed from the range as too has the 2.2 i-CDTi diesel.
On-the-road prices start from £15,640 for the 3-door 1.4 Type S and £16,220
for the 5-door variant with the same size engine and specification.
A new Si grade has been added to the final-year range but only for five-door
models although it is available with both engines and offers manual and auto
transmission options. A cosmetically sportier Ti special edition run of 500
units to support Honda's 2011 British Touring Car Championship campaign is also
joining the line-up, again in five-door form with the option of both engine
versions are priced from £17,240 with the 1.4-litre engine and have graphite
coloured 16-inch alloy wheels while higher-powered 1.8 petrol Si Civics ride
another bid to boost
the Civics run-out
appeal, the limited
edition Ti has race-car
with high-spec interior
All Si variants have colour-coded bumpers, front fog lights, a Type R-style
mesh front grille and dark chrome door handles and fuel cap like that
on the Championship White Type R.
Inside, Si models continue the sports theme with half-leather upholstery and
also gain heated front seats plus a USB port for iPod connectivity. Honda says
the Si has been designed to appeal to the Civic's increasingly youthful customers
and those who want sporty looks with the practicality of a five-door bodyshell.
In another bid to boost the Civic's run-out appeal, the limited edition Ti has
race-car looks combined with high-spec interior equipment. Based on the five-door
1.4 and 1.8 i-VTEC SE variants, the Ti comes with £3,700 worth of extra equipment
over and above the standard model includng a body styling kit and SatNav. Prices
start at £15,995 for the Ti 1.4 and £16,995 for the 1.8 variant. Levels of specification
in its run-out year are S, SE, Si, Ti, ES and EX GT and the 2011 Civic range
tops out at £23,220 for the five-door 1.8 EX GT.
The most recent styling and specification updates include a new front grille
(inspired by the iconic Type R model) which creates a smarter, more upmarket
face. Other exterior changes include a range of new alloy wheels fitted as standard,
with individual designs and sizes dependent on the variant chosen.
The Civic, with its radical and edgy styling, wedge-shaped side profile, flared
wheelarches with twin triangular exhausts and similarly shaped front fog lights,
has been something of a success story in the retail and fleet sectors despite
its 'like it or loathe it' initial reception.
The wider view of motoring pundits was that that Honda was trying too hard to
be different with Civic. The aim was, of course, to give the Honda brand youthful
appeal by drawing in conquest younger customers in addition to retaining their
older but young-at-heart followers who had traditionally bought previous models.
the Civic five-door range, I have just been trying the 1.8 i-VTEC Si version,
arguably the best option for most buyers and fleet users. This model costs £18,270
on-the-road but it is a buyer's market so it will pay to haggle on the price;
there are also attractive finance offers to be had.
handling is very
sharp and agile,
the steering really
precise with good
front-end cornering grip.
But the ride is very firm
and the car feels
unsettled at medium to
The Civic sells in the segment dominated by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and
the increasingly popular Volkswagen Golf, so it couldn't have tougher competition.
Apart from the styling issues, the Civic isn't the roomiest family-sized hatchback
for rear seat passengers and nobody seems to have a good word to say for the
rear tailgate styling with its spoiler positioned halfway down the rear window,
thus restricting visibility and not allowing for a rear wipe/wash unit.
That said, the front interior is a pleasant enough environment; roomy and the
twin cockpit-style dash layout is easy to use while the deep screen gives excellent
forward vision. The 60:40 split rear seats fold down to extend the already large
485-litre boot and provide an even more useful 1,352-litre loadbay.
With its part-leather upholstery, the Si specification is a good combination
of being sporty but not garish. The level of equipment is high with all the
usual features including front and rear electrically-operated windows, electric
door mirrors, air conditioning, heated front seats, a good sound system, push
button starter, keyless entry and lots of digital instruments along with an
on-board information system.
The handling is very sharp and agile, and the steering really precise with good
front-end cornering grip. However, the ride is very firm and the car feels unsettled
at medium to high speeds.
In these days of the £6 gallon of petrol a major reason to consider the 138bhp
1.8-litre engine is its combination of performance with its ability to be frugal
on fuel. Top speed is 127mph and the zero to 62mph acceleration time is just
8.9 seconds. Impressive, but even better is the fact that driven in a sensible
manner using the green light eco 'prompts' for gear changes my
test Civic returned no less than 50.2mpg over 260 miles using the M4 and M25
motorways at legal speeds and keeping up with the rest of the traffic and not
dawdling along at a snail's pace.
just goes to show what can be achieved by the latest petrol engine technology
and makes costly hybrids look less appealing.
the Civic 1.8
finished up returning an
once I had covered
some A and B roads
and a few trips into my
Overall, the Civic 1.8 finished up returning an average 47.4mpg once I had covered
some A and B roads and a few trips into my local town.
All the more remarkable when you consider the official average fuel economy
quoted by Honda is 5mpg less, at 42.2mpg. With CO2 emissions of 155g/km,
the VED road tax cost is £155 a year and company car drivers will pay 20% Benefit-in-Kind
There are not too many uniquely styled mainstream family-size cars on sale today
but the Honda Civic is one of them. It isn't without its faults, namely cramped
rear passenger leg and headroom, a firm and unsettled ride and 'love or hate'
styling. But it is very well made, built in Britain and it can be miserly with
fuel as well as offering good value for money. It also handles well and has
a usefully large boot.
I'm now looking forward to seeing and driving the next generation
Civic to see if Honda retains its radical styling approach or plays safe and
goes the conventional and potentially boring route. David Miles
Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Si 5-dr | £18,270
Maximum speed: 127mph | 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 128lb ft | CO2 155g/km