Honda Civic review: a frugal, fun family hatch hybrid
The hybrid-powered Honda Civic is a frugal, well-equipped family hatchback that really impresses
What’s the best affordable hybrid? It’s the excellent Honda Civic, of course. Why? Well, it offers a highly efficient petrol and electric hybrid system that’ll appeal to those looking for lower running costs, and it’s still good to drive. Plus, it has an impressive amount of standard equipment along with lots of safety technology.
The Civic’s sleek hatchback lines offer some respite from the slew of SUVs and crossover-styled family cars that populate the UK car market. Sure, its sloping roofline won’t quite match the versatility of some of the boxier, more upright SUVs out there, but it’s practical enough for most needs. All things considered, the 11th generation is a worthy contender in its class.
About the Honda Civic
It’s 1972. Russia has landed its uncrewed Luna 20 spaceship on the moon, rock ‘n’ roll band T.Rex is riding high in the music charts, and Ford has just launched its new Granada executive car. Slipping under the radar, with a little less fanfare, was the introduction of Honda’s first-generation Civic – first as a two-door saloon, followed by the now more familiar hatchback model.
Fast forward more than fifty years and eleven model generations, and it’s fair to say that the Honda Civic has become a motoring mainstay in not just the UK, but around the world.
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However, with families increasingly turning to SUVs and crossover-style cars to meet their everyday driving needs, the humble hatchback faces more competition than ever. Honda now only offers the Civic as a sensibly-styled five-door hatch to challenge rivals such as the great-handling Ford Focus, uber-practical Skoda Octavia, ever dependable (and equally hybrid) Toyota Corolla, plus the iconic Volkswagen Golf.
Other hatchback options for buyers include the great value Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30, the stylish-looking Mazda 3 and Peugeot 308, and the impressive SEAT Leon and Vauxhall Astra all being strong options. Those after a more premium model may wish to consider the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, and Mercedes A-Class.
The Civic is powered by Honda's e:HEV hybrid technology with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet, plus two electric motors to power the front wheels. The set-up produces a stout 181bhp and 315Nm of torque. For hot hatch fans, the stonking 325bhp Civic Type R is a high-performance weapon, having broken the front-wheel drive lap records at the Nurburgring race track in Germany and Japan's Suzuka race track.
Higher demand than expected for the Civic has led to short periods when certain trim levels weren’t available to order, but the range is back up to three now: Elegance, Sport and Advance. Entry-level cars are well-equipped, as you'd expect when prices start at nearly £35,000. Every Civic comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry, a nine-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, and adaptive cruise control. Top-of-the-range Advance has a fully digital driver's display, heated leather steering wheel and panoramic glass roof.
For an alternative guide to the Honda Civic, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe hybrid-powered Honda Civic is a frugal, well-equipped family hatchback that really impresses
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Honda Civic’s hybrid engine prioritises efficiency, but performance is still strong compared with rivals
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsGreat real-world fuel economy and solid residual values for the Honda Civic, although insurance costs are a little high
- 4Interior, design and technologyA simpler exterior design, a quality interior, plus generous standard kit help the Honda Civic stand out in a competitive hatchback market
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceMore practical than some of its hybrid rivals, the Honda Civic is an appealing family choice
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Honda Civic features excellent levels of standard safety kit, while Driver Power customer feedback is positive