Carzone drives the 10th generation Honda Civic
Pros: Planted drive, practical cabin, great turbocharged petrol engines
Cons: Styling not for everyone, infotainment takes getting used to, expensive in high spec
Honda doesn’t update its models by halves, and that’s certainly the case with the new 10th generation Civic, which has recently landed in Ireland. Completely overhauled for 2017, the new Civic casts its predecessor into the shadows with bold styling, updated safety technology and a pair of new turbocharged petrol engines. And while cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus lead the hatchback leagues in Ireland, the new Civic represents a great opportunity for Honda to win new fans. We put the Civic through its paces recently to see if it is a good fit for Irish roads.
What is it like?
Love it or hate it, the new Civic stands out from most other family hatchback cars thanks to its futuristic styling. Although we weren’t entirely convinced about its looks at launch, it has grown on us and like a fine bottle of red wine, it should age well for years to come. The styling is sharp with a low-slung stance, and it is only available with five doors. Our test car is a high specification Turbo S model, which means it’s sportier than most, with features like 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows and twin exhaust pipes at the rear. In this colour scheme, our test car is even reminiscent of the newly-launched 10th generation Civic Type R.
The Civic’s interior is a marked improvement from its predecessor, with clearer digital displays, more supportive seats and improved storage space throughout the cabin and in the boot (550 litres). The cabin materials are dark-coloured throughout, but feel durable enough for daily family use. Space in the front seats is good with generous amounts of leg and arm room, but taller passengers may find head room tight in the rear seats due to the sloping roof design. The touch screen infotainment system in the centre of the dashboard is easy to use and we like how it displays the time on a scenic backdrop.
Honda is offering the new Civic with a duo of petrol engines; either a 127bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three cylinder unit or a more powerful 180bhp 1.5-litre four cylinder, which is the one we tested. It’s likely that the majority of buyers in Ireland will gravitate to the 1.0-litre Civic with its lower running costs and asking price, and we’ve heard great reports on this engine too. The 1.5-litre petrol is a lively unit and will be a better option for those who need extra oomph. A new 1.6-litre diesel option was also launched in Ireland in January 2018 and it is super to drive, with stronger fuel economy returns which makes it ideal for those who cover long distances on a regular basis.
Our test car is fitted with Honda’s CVT automatic transmission (€1600 option), but we believe the six-speed manual would be just as good, and it can cover 0-100km/h in a respectable 8.2 seconds. We managed 7.0-litres per 100 kilometres of driving in fuel economy (40.3MPG) during our time with the Civic when driving sensibly, and annual motor tax comes in at €280.
Out on the road, the new Civic offers improved cornering and ride quality, thanks to its new multi-link rear suspension. We spent a lot of time driving the Civic on tight and twisty back roads during our week-long test and it felt surefooted and planted the whole time. Comparing it with rivals like the new Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, the new Civic is definitely up there in terms of driver involvement and feel. The large alloy wheels do add a certain level of road noise in the cabin at higher speeds however.
Prices for the new Honda Civic start from €23,750, for the entry specification 1.0-litre Smart model, which is more expensive than the comparable Volkswagen Golf, but the level of equipment arguably justifies this. All models get alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and a heap of safety features including forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition. This high specification S-Design model has some impressive additional features including central dual exhaust tips, LED headlights, a reversing camera, Honda Connect with Garmin navigation and an exterior sports pack, but prices start from €28,550 for this specification.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The new Honda Civic is more grown up than its predecessor and is likely to attract a new audience, with improved driving dynamics, more practicality and cracking new turbocharged petrol engines thrown in for good measure. It has also taken a leap in technology too with improved smartphone integration and lots of great standard safety features. The Civic’s sporty looks mightn't be to everyone's taste however and the lack of a diesel engine option at present might dissuade certain Irish buyers. All of this means the new Civic is in a better position than ever before to challenge the best cars in its class.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Honda Civic
Prices from: €23,750
Price as tested: €32,350 (including options)
Annual Road Tax: €280
Engine: 1498cc four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power/Torque: 180bhp / 220Nm
Top Speed: 220km/h
0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Body style: Hatchback
Boot Space: 550 litres