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Honda Civic facelift Test Drive Review

Date: 17 April 2015   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £20,765
Key rival: Ford Focus
On sale: April 2015
Equipment: 8 airbags, cruise control, LED running lights, Bluetooth, 17in alloys, City Brake (autonomous braking), auto wipers, auto headlamps, parking sensors, rear-view camera
Engines: 100hp 1.4, 142hp 1.8 petrols 120hp 1.6 diesel
Trims: S, SE Plus, SR, EX Plus, Sport
Transmissions: 6-spd manual, 5-speed automatic

Age hasn't wearied the ninth-generation Civic because as the Honda hatch gets older it just gets cheaper to run.

The Civic's also recently undergone the mildest of facelifts. There's now a fresh pair of headlamps that incorporate LED daytime running lights, while inside there are new chrome door handles, seat fabric, and a new seven-inch infotainment system.

For 2015 there's also a new Sport trim that attempts to cash in on all the mania surrounding Honda's soon-to-be-launched 167mph Civic Type-R hot hatch.

Sitting on menacing black 17-inch alloys, the Sport is really more show than go and actually shares the
same engines and suspension as the rest of the Civic range, but behind the wheel the car is as likeable as ever.

Its biggest asset is its smooth-spinning 120hp 1.6-litre diesel, which might sound a little odd with its strange whirring noise, but makes up for it with its sheer enthusiasm. You'd swear the 1.6-litre diesel was faster than the 10.5 seconds Honda quotes it takes from standstill to 62mph.

Reach a twisty road and, ultimately, the Honda still trails the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf for engagement and grip, but it is still agile enough to provide enough entertainment for the
keen driver.

What isn't so easy to like is the unwanted road noise or terrible rear visibility - no wonder Honda offers a standard reversing camera with the Sport.

The cabin also feels its age, and the steering wheel still can obscure the speedo. However, the Civic still easily beats the rest of the class for practicality, with a boot at least a third larger and rear seats that can mimic cinema seats by folding upwards, or which drop effortlessly into the floor for a flat surface.
Honda once sold 25,000 of this current Civic with half going to business, but today just 16,000
will find homes with only 30% bought with company cash.

Apparently, according to one Honda insider, the Japanese brand "can't afford" to court big business anymore - but we're not buying it. Who else would go to such trouble as adding City Brake autonomous braking just to cut insurance costs and slash prices across the range by up to £1600 to give the Civic the competitive the P11D it always needed? Factor in near class-best 76.3mpg and an ultra-low 98g/km of CO2 and it's clear in its middle age that the refreshed Civic means business.

Honda Civic 1.6i-DTEC Sport

Model price range                      £15,975-£26,970
Residual value                                             36.2%
Depreciat­ion                                              £13,240
Fuel                                                              £4242
Service, maintenance and repair                  £1614
Vehicle Excise Duty                                            £0
National Insurance                                        £1547
Cost per mile                                                  43.4p
Fuel consumption                                      76.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band)                                 98g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month                              £59/£118
Warranty                                          3yrs/90,000mls
Boot space (min/max)                       477/1378 litres
Engine size/power                              1597cc/120hp


Quirky Honda Civic evolves into a competitor
  • Spacious
  • Practical
  • Efficient new diesel
  • Decent drive
  • Focus and Golf are better to drive, Golf feels more expensive, poor rear visibility