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Car Review

Honda Civic review

£19,500 - £38,690
710
Published: 05 Apr 2022
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Sitting lower than in the old Civic, or indeed many rival hatches, makes you feel connected to the road. It’s not just an illusion; the Civic traces a precise and quick-witted path to follow your orders.

The high-geared steering would feel nervous if the car’s actual reactions weren’t so progressive. It rolls less than most rival hatches, and gets on with the job of steering round the arc you set. There’s not huge amounts of feel, but the general chassis confidence makes up for it. It copes well with mid-corner bumps too.

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How's the ride?

No surprise then that the ride is relatively taut, but it never gets harsh over small bumps, and on big intrusions it usually finds something in reserve. The adaptive damper system is nice to have, but not transformative.

The engines aren’t quite such a success. The 1.0-litre does have just enough power to get the car up steeper hills, making a distinctive triple-cylinder chatter as it goes, but because it needs high boost to make its power and torque there’s definite lag across the rev range – especially below 3,000rpm. Also, the rev limit is just 5,600rpm – somewhat of a personal affront to the high-revving Honda engines of old.

The 1.5 solves this though, right?

The 1.5 will rev higher, to 6,500rpm, and lags less. But even so, you can’t help the feeling Honda has pulled back on the tech. How much more responsive would it have been with VTEC and a twin-scroll turbo? (The VTEC Turbo badge is a dummy – there’s no VTEC here.) Still, let’s not bicker – for a relatively mainstream hatch, this is impressively lively. On boost it’ll do 0-62mph in the low-eight-second range, depending on transmission and tyres. Oh and you're looking at 42.8-46.3mpg on paper, down on the 42.2-49.6mpg achieved by the 1.0, depending on which spec you go for.

That's not very exciting...

If it's excitement you're after, you’ll obviously want the Type R. Beneath its abundant styling is one of the sharpest, most focused hot hatches in recent memory, though its adaptive suspension and new exhaust system make it properly refined and comfy when you just want to get somewhere calmly. It’s a better all-rounder than before, yet acts like a tarmac rally car when you press the right buttons and you’re in the mood. It’s brilliant.

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The manual transmission in all Civics has a well-oiled notchy lever action, wisely chosen ratios and is set at the perfect height. The optional CVT (on the sensible engines, obviously) is decently predictable in light driving. But if you press on, or take control using the paddles to choose between the seven virtual ratios, it slurs annoyingly.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Honda Civic 2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R 5dr
  • 0-625.8s
  • CO2178.0g/km
  • BHP320
  • MPG36.2
  • Price£30,960

the cheapest

Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo 126 S 5dr
  • 0-6210.5s
  • CO2110.0g/km
  • BHP126
  • MPG58.9
  • Price£19,500

the greenest

Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC S 5dr
  • 0-629.5s
  • CO290.0g/km
  • BHP120
  • MPG83.1
  • Price£20,850

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