Civic 1.8 i-VTEC ES 5-dr
new Civic five-door hatch-
back is likely to become their best-
seller. Like the previous generation,
available with the option of the
1.4 or 1.8-litre petrol engine
alternatively you can have a 2.2-litre
CURRENTLY THE NEW CIVIC has a 50:50 sales split in the UK between retail and
business users with just over half (56%) of buyers going for the petrol engine
mostly because, in this segment, the 2.2-litre diesel engine is
too large a capacity. However, a new, and less costly to buy, low-CO2 emission
1.6-litre diesel unit will be added to the range next year (2013).
Introducing a smaller 1.6-litre capacity diesel should also increase the demand
from user-chooser business customers, which in turn will push up the current
22,000 annual sales total for Civic in the UK to make it Honda's best-seller.
Prices for the new Civics range from £16,995 to £26,850, and there's the choice
of four trim levels: SE, ES, EX, and EX GT. The most popular model in the range
is the 1.8 i-VTEC petrol ES manual reviewed here, and which costs £19,380.
new ninth-generation Civic follows the same futuristic styling theme of the
radical for Honda model launched to great media acclaim in 2006.
The new Civic follows
the same futuristic
stealth styling of the
media acclaim in
2006 the latest
interpretation is far more
refined; smoother, less
radical and more
acceptable for the
The only trouble was its sharp angular 'stealth' styling soon became dated.
The modern interpretation is far more refined; smoother, less radical and more
acceptable for the long-term future of this generation.
And there's no mistaking this new Civic for anything else it remains
distinctive, but more appealing with smoother body lines. Basically it is an
evolution of the outgoing model and, thanks to improved engines, offers better
fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.
I briefly tried the new, shall we say 'evolved', Civic with the 1.8-litre petrol
engine which produces 140bhp of power at 6,600rpm and 128lb ft of torque at
4,300rpm a traditional high-revving Honda petrol engine design. The unit
needs to be kept spinning to get the best mid-range response out of it otherwise
it's a trip down the six-speed manual gearbox to get back into the powerband.
That noted, it remains relatively flexible holding sixth gear for the
50mph trundle in nose-to-tail traffic. Top speed is 134mph and zero to 62mph
takes 9.1 seconds; fuel consumption is officially 47.1mpg.
With some motorway use, stop-go town traffic and a few miles on country roads,
I came to within a mile of that, achieving a first class 46.5mpg. Emissions
are 143g/km so the road tax is £135 a year. Company car tax is 19%. And insurance
is five bands lower than the outgoing version with this engine and spec (the
new level is 16E) which is significant for cheaper running costs.
The problem for Honda is that other mainstream car-makers have introduced smaller
capacity, direct injection petrol-engined models Ford's Focus Ecoboost
and VW's Golf 1.4 TSI with low pressure turbochargers that make them
frugal on fuel, cleaner for CO2 emissions and more responsive from low- to mid-range
speeds. Against these the Honda 1.8-litre petrol engine is fine; it will be
reliable but it doesn't set new standards.
The same could be said about the new Civic overall: it has certainly improved;
it has, in most areas, caught up with the competition but it doesn't
lead the way.
ride comfort is also better although the suspension is still set on the firm
side for our troublesome UK road surfaces.
engine needs to be
to get the best mid-range
response out of it
a trip down
the six-speed manual
flexible enough to hold
sixth gear for the 50mph
trundle in nose-to-tail
The interior quality looks and feels smarter as well, and the specification
is better and you'll find it's equipped with all the usual items needed: from
electrically-operated windows and door mirrors to AirCon, a high level of safety
equipment and alloy wheels.
The rear visibility is still its worst feature even though a tailgate wiper
has now been fitted to the split rear window, and the coupe-style roofline limits
Against: Noise intrusion through the suspension from potholes and rough tarmac
surfaces, restricted rear seat headroom for adults, poor rear visibility.
For: Improved styling, less radical and more refined, comfortable ride, improved
interior quality and specification, huge boot/load area, lower emissions, better
mpg, lower insurance costs.
It's a good try but to get ahead of the game it's a 'must try harder' report
if the Honda Civic is to make significant inroads into the C-segment which is
already awash with new models and discounted prices.
On the positive side, the new Civic is really versatile, either as a five-seater
with a large 477-litre boot or an excellent and cavernous carry-all with 1,378
litres. It's easy to see why people of all ages buy it: because it meets a multitude
of motoring requirements. David Miles
Civic 1.8 i-VTEC ES 5-dr | £19,380
Maximum speed: 134mph | 0-62mph: 9.1 seconds | Overall MPG: 47.1mpg
Power: 140bhp | Torque: 128lb ft | CO2 143g/km