Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX Auto
up a shortlist for a new
family car? Be sure to add Hondas
latest and decidedly dashing Civic
BECAUSE THIS SLEEK AND SPORTY-looking 10th generation version is lower, longer
and wider, with a more dynamic suspension set-up that pitches it well against
other family choices on offer from the likes of Skoda, Vauxhall and VW.
It also comes dressed to impress with a surprisingly sexy body for a family
hatchback. Whichever angle you view it from it looks good with a strong family
resemblance to the Civic range's 169mph 'bad boy' the Type R.
You'll certainly look twice at this Civic thanks to its suggestive trackday-emulating
looks, fronted by flowing front wings, sleek headlight units and a thrusting
bonnet. The tail is equally out of the ordinary with strong rear haunches, tastefully
done faux air intakes at the corners topped by a raked tailgate, roof spoiler
and standout arrow-shaped rear light clusters underscoring its coupe-like rear
styling. Few five-door family hatchbacks are quite so visually pleasing.
can have it with petrol or diesel power: unleaded fans get to choose between
a 1.0-litre with 129hp or a 1.5 with 182hp; turbodiesels are of 1.6-litre capacity
and partnered with either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic 'box.
the Civics petrol
engines boast more
horses in the corral,
the 118bhp turbodiesel
trumps them with its
superior torque: 221lb ft
against their 132 and
162lb ft. The four-pot
diesel unit punches out
all you really need: a
124mph top speed with
the benchmark 0-62mph
clocked in 10.8
While the petrol engines boast more 'horses' in the corral, the 118bhp turbodiesel
trumps them with its superior torque 221lb ft against their 132 and 162lb
ft. The four-pot diesel unit punches out all you really need: a 124mph top speed
with the benchmark 0-62mph clocked in 10.8 seconds. For the rest of the time
it's agreeably lively and serves up more than satisfactory 'pull' from low-down
to remain nicely tractable in traffic as well as on A- and B-roads.
If you prefer a two-pedal transmission, you'll find the automatic version to
be an obedient and agreeably smooth CVT that, using the wheel's paddle-shifters,
effectively mimics nine stepped ratios. More good news: it's also drone-free
at high revs some CVT gearboxes can 'hum' irritatingly when cruising,
but not the Civic's.
It's also satisfyingly good on the fuel officially the combined figure
is 68.9mpg (along with a low 109g/km CO2, the turbodiesel also uses a converter
to reduce nitrous oxide emissions) and during our week with the auto it averaged
a worthy 48.7mpg (and we barely used the Eco mode). We're no molly-coddlers
when it comes to economy so the average owner is likely to regularly see 50+mpg.
This Civic is lighter and sits on a stiffer, all-new chassis with a multi-link
rear suspension and adaptive dampers with benefits for both the ride and the
handling. The result, particularly on quick secondary roads, is a composed car
with decent grip that steers accurately and stays level through the twisties.
All-in-all, it's a recipe for some of the fun stuff in addition to the sterling
family hatch services it delivers day in, day out.
With standard-fit (on EX grade models) adaptive dampers the Civic serves up
an unruffled ride that, both around town and out on the open road, accommodates
bumps and blistered blacktop without any fuss. If you're feeling sporty you
can always press the button on the centre console to revert to a firmer handling-biased
setting. Whichever mode you favour, the Civic travels along motorways with equal
reassurance. Adding to its relaxed manner is a quiet cabin that's reminiscent
of a bigger and more expensive five-seater from the class above.
cabin is as smart as the bodyshell wrapped around it and a satisfying
place to spend time wherever you sit. The sporty seats, upholstered in soft
leather, are well-shaped with nicely holding but not pushy bolstering; thigh
support is good and three-stage heating can be taken for granted, as too can
power-adjustable lumbar support, while the headrests can be 'clicked' through
five settings for that perfect fit.
you prefer a two-pedal
transmission, youll find
the automatic version to
be an obedient and
agreeably smooth CVT
that, using the wheels
effectively mimics nine
Its also satisfyingly good
on the fuel a worthy
48.7mpg; and we barely
used the Eco mode!
For the driver it's a great environment with a first-class driving position
easily set that feels sporting while still letting you see the bonnet and front
wing-tops from behind the wheel, as well as what's coming up behind you; the
rear camera also offers you a choice of three different views.
The three-spoke steering wheel is good to grip with well-thought-out and easy
to identify (visually as well as by feel) multifunction controls and switches
around the boss and, an important 'plus' for comfort, you can drive without
twisting your hips because the pedals line up properly with the driver's seat,
making long-distance journeys that much better. The two-zone climate controls
(traditional rotary knobs and switches) are easy to use on the move with minimal
distraction. Real fresh air can be accessed by pressing the one-shot button
to open the tilt-and-slide sunroof (a blackout sunblind is also on hand to keep
out the dazzle).
Instrumentation is spot-on with a digital panel showing a half-moon rev-counter
along with a speed readout and arced bar graphs for fuel and temperature. All
faultlessly logical with a kind-on-the-eyes blue-and-white palette that makes
it easy to read both day and night. Another must-have is Traffic Sign Recognition
to keep you posted of what speed you should be doing! Helpfully, it's shown
close to the digital speed readout.
The biggest shock when getting behind the Civic auto's wheel for the very first
time is the selector lever or the lack of one! In its place is a set
of buttons: Park, Reverse, Neutral, with another for Drive/Sport. Actually,
the whole thing's a doddle to use.
The sloping centre stack holds a seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment
that includes a foolproof and intuitive Garmin SatNav; the graphics are crisp,
and the colour-mix well-judged. Honda Connect makes it easy to stay wirelessly
wired with the worldwide web via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (the Aha app
is also integrated). For traditional entertainment there's a respectable 11-speaker
HiFi and DAB radio plus Bluetooth connectivity along with a good supply of HDMI
and USB sockets
too, to find plenty of real-world storage areas in the wide and roomy cabin
for all your 'pocket lint', including bottle-holding door bins as well as a
genuinely capacious centre console box with multi-configurable cupholders capped
by a sliding armrest. The damped glovebox is also of a usable size and lit and
lined and there's a handy out-of-sight lower storage area with HDMI and USB
sockets below the centre stack.
biggest shock when
getting behind the Civic
autos wheel for the very
first time is the selector
of one! In its place is a
set of buttons: Park,
Reverse, Neutral, with
another for Drive/Sport.
Actually, the whole
things a doddle
In addition to that already mentioned, the top-spec EX models also come with
smart entry (front doors and boot) and push button Start, rear parking camera
plus front and rear parking sensors, on-demand (and automatically on leaving)
heated powerfolding door mirrors, electronic parking brake with auto hold, four
one-shot windows, alloy pedals, privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing
headlights, glass sunroof, and a set of attractive 17-inch alloy wheels.
Honda equips every Civic with its 'Sensing' suite of active safety systems.
These include Collision Mitigation Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Forward
Collision Warning, High Beam Support, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with
Cut-in Prediction (with cruise active, this predicts when someone will cut-in
ahead of you and, to compensate, slows down ahead of time), Intelligent Speed
Limiter, Lane Departure Warning with Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping
Assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Naturally a full set of airbags is fitted along with active city braking, traction
control, Vehicle Stability Assist with Agile Handling Assist, blind spot information,
cross traffic monitoring, hill start assist, tyre deflation warning, and height-adjustable
front seatbelts, plus whiplash lessening headrests.
Given its coupe-like profile you might think that rear headroom has been compromised.
Don't worry; it hasn't, and the average passenger is likely to find a fist of
air between the top of their head and the roof-lining. Legroom is also surprisingly
good but then the Civic is one of the most spacious hatchbacks in its class
chillaxing is definitely on the menu in the comfy seats. A five-seater
this five-door family hatch undeniably is and supporting the 'family' bit are
Isofix child seat fittings on the rear outer seats.
you're the thoughtful kind of host who gets in Glenfiddich instead of Johnnie
Walker for your guests, you might like to spend another £600 on the Tech Pack
your back row passengers will then enjoy heated seats and you'll gain
too with wireless phone charging, LED headlights with washers, and LED foglights
A good deal that's definitely better than no deal.
(on EX grade models)
adaptive dampers the
Civic serves up an
unruffled ride that, both
around town and out
on the open road,
and blistered blacktop
without any fuss.
If youre feeling sporty
you can always press the
button on the centre
console to revert to a
earn 'family' status a large boot is essential and that's exactly what
the Civic gives you. With the rear seats occupied, the boot can spirit away
a very practical 478 litres (and as much as 550 should you ever need to load
to the roof).
Even more useful, this can be extended to a maximum 1,267 litres by dropping
the 60:40-split seatbacks the resulting loadbay is seamlessly floored
and, combined with the low loading height and large tailgate, makes loading
and unloading straightforward.
A unique, and very likeable, feature is the mini rollerblind luggage cover that
runs side-to-side instead of the usual north-to-south. Removed, it's barely
any bigger than a compact brolly so easy to stow when not needed.
Extra versatility is provided by an easy fold-up boot floor which, when folded
in half, can be set in an upright position to effectively partition the boot
(as well as the cargo bay) widthways, with the uncovered deep and wide lined
well adding extra height. Alternately the folding boot sections can be set as
a sturdy inverted 'V' above the well for protecting delicate items.
An engaging family-friendly all-rounder with a sporting air, the Civic five-door
hatchback deserves to sit alongside the top contenders on your shortlist. Its
comfortable and well kitted out interior is supported by a large boot and the
well-sorted handling makes it fun to drive. ~ MotorBar
Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Auto
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 10.8 seconds | Test Average: 48.7mpg
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 211lb ft | CO2: 109g/km