Second report: Honda Civic long-term test
24 July 2017
Author: Rachel Boagey
|P11D price £20,285|
|As tested £20,865|
|Official consumption 46.3mpg|
2nd report - A brisk performer
Only a few years ago, buying a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine would have caused a few sniggers from your mates in the local pub. But that is no longer the case as, now, these turbocharged babies are proving that downsizing can be fun.
This is especially the case with Honda's new Civic, which the manufacturer claims will regain the 'essence of Civic' with a distinctively sporty driving character, something undoubtedly missing from its predecessor.
In the last month of it being on our long-term fleet in its 'Brilliant Sporty Blue' colour, the car struggles to go a day without resulting in an unexpected glance and thumbs-up from a passing boy racer, especially with a pretty swift start at the lights aided by its short, precise gears and a light clutch.
It's not just the looks, sound and power that makes it stand out, though. On the road, the 1.0-litre engine is a gem, producing 129hp and propelling you from 0-62mph in
10.9 seconds, even paired with the manual gearbox. In fact, it's staggering that such a small engine can power such a large vehicle. The small three-cylinder provides enough oomph as well as pretty good mid-range pulling power when looking to build up speed on motorways.
There is a bigger engine on offer, the sportier 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol model, which offers 182hp and an 8.2-second 0-60mph speed. However, Honda expects most buyers to snap up the smaller engine and it's not hard to see why. The existing 1.6 i-DTEC diesel will be carried over and added later in the year.
Honda says the new Civic has a 1.0-litre engine that can propel you briskly along and, yet, return a claimed 55.4mpg. At the moment, not having reached 2,000 miles yet, the best we've managed so far is 42.2mpg but this may alter with the more miles we put on the clock.
In spite of this, the Civic is proving to be an enjoyable ride, and is a prime example that good engineering and innovation means that even the smallest of engines can create a big impact.
Our average consumption 42.2mpg
First report - To infinity and beyond
"It looks like something from outer space," mum shouted as I drove it onto her drive.
I would have to agree.
While it was a great car, the previous Civic faced an uphill battle in the small family car market against competition from the likes of the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
For this reason, Honda had to step it up a notch, which it decided meant starting from scratch. Everything is completely new: suspension arrangement, platform, engines, everything. So much so that it looks like Honda went to 'infinity and beyond' to rejuvenate its family car competitor.
At the heart of the new Civic are two petrol engines: an entry-level 127hp 1.0-litre and a 190hp 1.5-litre. Our long-termer is the former and with 200Nm of torque there is enough to get the car up to speeds quickly on motorways. However, the three cylinders means it is all talk at the traffic lights - slightly worrying when you find yourself next to a Civic Type R driver who fancies a drag race.
This Civic doesn't disappoint for potential fleet customers with 55.4mpg economy and 117g/km CO2 figures, and the six-speed manual gearbox is quite snappy leading to a fun and exciting drive. However, moving up to the 17-inch alloys in SR trim as we have done results in an 11g/km emissions penalty - something to bear in mind.
Honda believes this engine arrangement will be the best-seller with either six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox options, but a 1.6-litre diesel is to be added to the offering at a later date, which will be tuned for better fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Also available is a seven-speed CVT automatic, which we would avoid, especially paired with the 1.0-litre petrol as the gear changes are slow and jerky.
The Civic's steering is well-weighted and the car offers enough composure in the corners to inspire confidence. The new multi-link rear suspension allows for greater body control when cornering, helped by the lower and wider stance of the car. In total it is 30mm longer, 20mm lower and 30mm wider than the previous model - all of which, according to Honda, contribute to a lowered centre of gravity by 34mm and therefore a sportier drive.
Our car in the mid-range SR spec is equipped with the Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, as well as front and rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloys, rear parking camera and dual-zone air-conditioning, all fitted as standard.
In this trim, the £20,865 price tag will get you the option of metallic paint at £525. Compared to its key rival, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost ST-Line Ford Focus, and without any add-ons, the Civic comes out £1,000 cheaper. It is also cheaper than the Golf, which is marginally more expensive and doesn't come as well equipped as standard.
The Civic has always prided itself on practicality, and headroom is plentiful up front and adequate in the rear, although six-footers may feel cramped for legroom over longer journeys. With the rear seats in place Honda claims a boot capacity of 478 litres, which is just one litre bigger than the previous car, but larger than many of its rivals such as the 380-litre boot offered by the Volkswagen Golf.
The Civic really stands out against its competitors in the whole-life costs department, thanks to a 35.0% residual value, which keeps pence-per-mile figures very competitive, despite its higher running costs.
While it may be on another planet with its design with busy lines and features we believe a myriad of changes under the bonnet and elsewhere will provide this family car with ample opportunity to compete with its fierce rivals and win over even the most sceptical of mums.
Our average consumption 42.8 mpg
- 17in alloys
- Dual-zone climate control
- Rear parking camera
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Honda Connect with Garmin 7in touchscreen navigation
- Halogen front fog lights
- Honda SENSING
- Apple CarPlay