Revised in 2015, the Honda Civic’s a clever, boldly-styled family hatch.
Sharp looks, a spacious interior and clever rear seats add up to a convincing family hatchback for those daring to buck the mainstream norm. Changes in 2015 brought greater agility and even more efficiency thanks to a new diesel engine, but some of the details let it down against its more obvious, and common, opposition.
What is it?
Honda’s rival for the Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Auris and a lengthy list of other mainstream small family hatchbacks. It's a tough marketplace and Honda does things its own way, from its rev-happy, petrol-like diesel engine to its spaceship-like cockpit and clever folding rear seats. That does make it an individual choice in this conservative sector, and not for all. The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine is a highlight, with sub-100g/km emissions output for tax-friendly running costs. There’s a conventional five-door hatch and a spacious estate too, if you need more practicality.
What is it like?
Honda hatchbacks have a strange image: the flagship Type R is bonkers fast, but then the rest of the line-up has something of a pensionable image - despite the bold looks. The interior is different too, a weird mix of digital and analogue screens and dials that doesn’t really work that well, visually or functionally. There are some neat highlights, such as the rear seats folding up and forward to allow you to carry through-loads with ease, and the diesel engine is smooth, eager and economical.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Not as rounded a proposition as most of its rivals, there are sparks of genius, but the Civic, despite revisions in 2015, just doesn’t drive with the verve of its best rivals. Some will find its quirks too much to live with, too, that busy dash in particular. If you don’t there’s a lot to like, and there’s lots of kit - from alloy wheels, Bluetooth, climate control and an accident mitigating active city braking system and more in the entry-level Comfort guise.