HONDA’S new Civic is an extremely capable five-door hatch but it still has some disappointing features, as motoring man LES OLIVER found out.
WITH an enormous boot, clever space-creating rear seats, and a high level of standard equipment the new Honda Civic offers good value for money.
But the latest, ninth generation Civic, could still have been better.
One of the main criticisms of the previous model was its compromised rear visibility due to an aerodynamic spoiler blocking the view.
Honda say they addressed this issue by restyling and lowering the rear window.
But unfortunately that spoiler is still there. And when it’s raining you can only see out of the the top half, and only part of this is swept by the wiper.
Rear visibility is still very poor.
The British-built Civic has a sporty design with wide, low stance.
Three engines are available: 1.4- and 1.8-litre petrol, and a 2.2-litre diesel. The 1.4 needs to be worked hard but it is very competent, voted best value for money in the latest Parkers Cost of Motoring New Car Awards.
A 1.6-litre diesel is being added to the line-up.
Despite the overall advances in ther nerwe Civic, the steering and ride were disappointing, and headroom is poor for tall passengers.
The Civic is a steady motorway cruiser, grips well in bends. Unfortunately the light steering and unsettled ride on some surfaces affected the comfort.
The entry-level model on test is competitively priced at £16,995, but some, notably the diesels, look very expensive, rising to £26,850, however the Civic should hold its value well.
The 100PS petrol had an ECO mode and idle-stop technology to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy which were both reasonable for the class.
Insurance is four to five groups lower than the old Civic, reducing running costs, but servicing costs are likely to be high.
Build quality seems good and Honda has an enviable reliability record.
Safety standards are good with stability control, six airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints.
I particularly liked the way the rear seatbacks fold down in one movement to provider a flat load-through floor from the boot, thanks to the clever way the seat cushion lowers itself at the same time. The rear seats can also be flipped up like cinema seats.
Entry-level SE-spec Civics come with alloy wheels, climate control and a USB socket, but the ES model, adds cruise control, Bluetooth, a reversing camera and automatic lights and wipers.
EX models also come with heated leather seats and sat-nav, while range-topping EX GTs get a panoramic glass roof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless start and Bi Xenon headlights.
The new Civic has already won awards. It was named Women’s World Car of the Year in the the Economy Car category..
Honda recently announced new additions to the range including the new 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine, a new Civic estate and a Type R in 2015.
These will also be built at Swindon guaranteeing job security for the workforce and follows the announcement of a £267million investment in the UK plant.
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol
0-60: 13.4 secs
Top speed: 116mph