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In-depth reviews

Honda Civic review

The tenth-generation Honda Civic is a great alternative choice in the hatchback class

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Good to drive
  • Punchy turbos
  • Practical touches
  • Frustrating infotainment
  • Interior quality
  • Refinement on big wheels

The current Honda Civic betters its practical predecessor in nearly every area. There's no hybrid powertrain option yet, but the two small-capacity turbocharged petrol engines are efficient, powerful and refined, while the diesel engine is both economical and punchy. With an all-new platform under the skin, the Civic is a much sweeter thing to drive than its predecessors, too.

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The Civic isn't as well built as some of its European rivals, nor is it as economical as the fuel-sipping Peugeot 308. It's not as fun to drive as a Ford Focus, either, but it’s practical, desirable and filled with kit. All things considered, this British-built compact family car finally has what it takes to challenge the best cars in its class.

The Honda Civic is one of the longest-lived name plates that's for sale today in the new car market. The 10th generation car was introduced in 2017, and continues a line of models that stretches all the way back to 1972, when the first Civic arrived. It's fair to say that the Civic has transformed drastically in the intervening years, changing from a city car, to a supermini, to a small hatchback and into today's family hatch.

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The latest car is a marked improvement on past models, which offered good boot and interior space, but not a lot else. The current Civic matches its most recent predecessors for space, but delivers it in a sharper package than before, so the Honda offers improved handling, performance and comfort.

It needs these traits to be competitive in the compact hatchback class against a number of excellent rivals. This includes the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and SEAT Leon - all past New Car Awards class winners - while the depth of talent in the class means the Civic has to contend with excellent cars such as the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Mazda 3, Vauxhall Astra, Kia Ceed and Skoda Octavia. To round the class off, there's the Renault Megane, Peugeot 308 and Hyundai i30. All of these cars have their own talents, so trying to stand out is tough.

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But the Civic does stand out, in the looks department at the very least. Its long, low lines mean it looks like no other compact hatchback, and the range-topping Honda Civic Type R has an aggressive look of its own. There's plenty of space in the back of the hatchback, and if you need a bigger Honda, there's always the CR-V SUV.

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As well as a new platform, the Civic Mk10 also saw the arrival of new downsized petrol and diesel engines, although the range is rather narrow when compared to rivals. The line-up kicks off with a 127bhp 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder and is joined by a 180bhp 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder. Both engines feature Honda's VTEC variable valve timing to switch between efficient and performance modes, and they're both strong performers for their size. At the top of the range, the Type R packs 316bhp. The diesel is a 1.6 i-DTEC unit with 118bhp. All cars are front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual gearbox, while a CVT auto is offered with all the petrol engines bar the Type R, but not with the i-DTEC diesel.

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Trim ranges vary depending on which engine you choose. The 1.0 petrol and i-DTEC diesel come in S, SE, SR and EX versions, and the 1.0 is also offered in EX Sport Line trim, while the 1.5 petrol comes in Sport trim only. Go for the Civic saloon, and your choice is much simpler: the four-door is currently only offered with the 1.0-litre petrol engine and in top-level EX trim.

Standard kit is pretty good across the range. Entry-level S trim comes with 16-inch steel wheels, an electronic parking brake and automatic LED headlights, while SE adds 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control and heated door mirrors. SR and above get navigation - although it's not the most user-friendly unit - and EX gets leather seats and useful adaptive dampers as standard. To that, EX Sport Line adds black alloy wheels, red backlighting to the instruments and red stitching on the seats. 

Prices for the Honda Civic start from around £19,000, rising to around £29,000 for the standard car. The Type R is a bit more than that, starting from around £31,500.

For an alternative review of the latest Honda Civic Hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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