Honda Civic 2017 front dynamic
The new Honda Civic
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Honda Civic 1.0 i-VTEC Turbo SR

What is it?

The new Honda Civic with expected best-selling engine, the smallest 1.0-litre i-VTEC Turbo. It’s the 10th-generation version of Honda’s iconic hatch, which for the first time is a world design meaning that this latest hatch is not only sold in the UK – but also now sold worldwide. In fact, similar versions are built at the Swindon factory and exported to the demanding North American market and even back home to Japan!

So what’s new about the Civic? Well, everything really. Built on a new, wider, longer and stiffer platform, Honda’s rival for Focus and Astra also has a range of new 1.0-litre and 1.5 i-VTEC Turbo engines and transmissions (just petrol for now, sadly!), new technology and an angular new look, that features styling elements seen on the rest of the range.

Can the latest Civic be more than an attractive also-ran in the small-family class like its predecessor? We hit the road with the expected best-selling engine, the smallest 1.0-litre i-VTEC Turbo, in SR trim to find out.

What’s hot

  •  With its new 1.0-litre i-VTEC turbo petrol engine, we reckon the new Civic perfectly illustrates why engine downsizing makes sense. Although not quite as refined as the other 1.0-litre TSI petrol we recently tried in the Volkswagen Golf , with 127bhp on tap, one thing you won’t be left wanting for is power. In fact, this engine feels quicker and more muscular than the 10.9 second 0-62 acceleration time, 200Nm of torque and the top speed of 126mph!
  •  The performance and torque figures are impressive, but for what business buyers want these are just part of the story, as economy and CO2 figures are also key in any buying decision. The Civic doesn’t disappoint with 55.4mpg economy and 117g/km CO2 figures, meaning this Honda has a 22% tax band for 2017/18.
  • The 8th and 9th Civic generations were known for their distinctive and futuristic exterior styling and the tenth seems to follow the same genre. We’re not sure the latest model is as attractive as the last, but it’s distinctive and a car that looks better on the road, than on a motorshow stand or in a picture. Our favourite parts of the design are the way the front wings curl over the wheels and integrate with the bonnet. We also like the way the aggressive roof spoiler fits in with the roof panel and finally the way the large rear light clusters fold in with the boot and spoiler.
  • Thankfully, to go along with the keen 1.0-litre i-VTEC Turbo engine, Honda has seen fit to give the latest Civic dynamics to match. Multi-link rear suspension, a lower centre of gravity and a more ridged body equals a car that has an impressively comfy ride, yet can hold its own in the twisty stuff. Direct steering and the short-throw six-speed manual transmission completes this fun-to-drive package.
Honda Civic 1.0
Improved interior
  • Inside, the interior of the new Civic is more conventional than before and all the better for it in our opinion. The instruments are easy to read, the switchgear is logically placed and there’s more better-quality soft plastic in the cabin than before. The driving position is lower, comfy and multi-adjustable and the front seats supportive. With the new platform, the ‘Magic Seats’ might be gone, but Honda are claiming the new Civic offers class-leading levels of interior space. Knee room in the back is above average and the boot is even bigger than the last one at 478 litres and it features a clever horizontal folding rear parcel shelf.
  • Six airbags plus Honda’s SENSING suite of active safety technology are fitted as standard. This comprehensive list includes: Collision Mitigation Braking System that helps bring the car to a stop if the system determines you’re going to have an accident; Forward Collision Warning that scans the road ahead to warn drivers of a potential collision and provides visual and audible alerts to prompt the driver to take corrective actions to avoid a crash; Lane Departure Warning; Road Departure Mitigation which uses data from the windscreen-mounted camera to detect whether the car is veering out of its lane; Lane Keeping Assist System that helps to keep the car in the middle of the current lane by detecting road markings; Adaptive Cruise Control; Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR); Intelligent Speed Assistance which combines the automatic speed limit set by the driver with TSR to automatically adjust the vehicle speed to that indicated by the last road sign and finally; Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control that debuted on the 2015 Honda CR-V, i-ACC predicts and automatically reacts to other vehicles ‘cutting-in’ on multi-lane highways. Understandably, Honda are predicting a top result when the new car is tested in the next round of Euro NCAP safety tests.
  • We were driving the equivalent of the mid-range £20,180 SR spec, which is well-equipped with Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, 17-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, rear parking camera and dual-zone air conditioning all fitted as standard.

    What’s not 

  • The six-speed manual might have a short, sporty throw, but our test car had a disappointingly notchy change which is a shame. Still we also had the chance to drive the slower CVT auto version and would still have the manual over it, because the gear changes are constant and too noticeable.
  • The 1.0-litre i-VTEC engine impresses in every area apart from refinement. Yes, a three-cylinder engine sounds more interesting and sporty than a conventional four-cylinder, but we felt we were hearing too much of the three-pot buzz in the cabin. Plus, plenty of wind and road noise.
  • Rear space has much improved, but the curvy roofline eats into the headroom for tall passengers more than it should.
  • Honda’s Connect 2 infotainment system is too slow to respond in our opinion.

Verdict

Honda has spent big on the latest Civic and we think it shows in the way this new hatch drives and handles. Performance from the downsized turbocharged engine is impressive, plus it also offers a tempting consumption and emissions mix, that along with the keen drive, turns the Civic from an also-ran into a contender for class honours and easy to recommend to business buyers.

So how does it compare to its key rival – the Ford Focus? Closest model to this Civic is the 1.0-litre EcoBoost ST-Line. On price alone, the Civic gets a healthy lead being nearly £1,000 cheaper than the Ford.

The Ford might just have the edge in terms of driving dynamics, but for an SME, the emissions and tax band are going to be key and for these two cars it’s the Focus that comes top, (108 versus 117g/km) emissions and 20% tax band versus the Honda’s 22% tax band.

The lowdown on: Honda Civic 1.0 i-VTEC Turbo SR 

List price£20,180
Doors and body style5-door hatch
Engine/gearbox:1.0-litre, 3cyl petrol turbo/six-speed manual transmission
CO2 Emissions:117g/km
Economy (combined):55.4mpg
Power/torque:127bhp/200Nm
0-62mph/top speed:10.9/126mph
Insurance group:15

What it Costs:

P11D value£20,180
Road Tax (VED) from April 2017:£160 first year/then £140 p.a.
Company Car Tax Band 2017/18 to 2019/20:22%, 24%, 27%
Benefit in Kind 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20:£4,440, £4,843, £5,449
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%):£994/£83
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%):£1,989/£166
Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (20%):£888/£74
Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (40%):£1776/£148

 

Honda Civic 1.0
Distinctive sporty rear profile of the 2017 Honda Civic

 


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