What’s the Honda Civic eHEV like on a long journey?
The Honda Civic eHEV is annoying. Around 90 miles into a 250-mile journey up to the Lake District, it begins to rain. Barring the odd maniac who uses the grubby weather as an excuse to deploy more of their excessively powered car’s excessive power (yes, don’t say it, we know), the rest of the motorway instinctively slows down.
Grubby’s the right word. It’s the sort of rain that smears rather than runs, and we slow increasingly in the Honda because the wipers are having a hard time clearing the sludge from the windscreen. It gets harder to see. Fortuitously, a service station beckons, so we make a quick pit stop to a) refresh the dire state of our sweet inventory, and b) top up the washer fluid.
We pull up to an empty space. The bonnet is popped. Anticipation builds. And then… I am entirely flummoxed. I think I know my way around an engine bay (having buried myself in many old ones attempting to fix various mechanical ailments over the years), but for the life of me I cannot find the washer fluid reservoir.
A full five minutes passes, which is longer than it sounds when you have a) increasingly darkening skies above, and b) an increasingly whiny Golden Retriever who now needs to be let out for another investigation of the car park.
Finally, something catches my eye. A small blue cap poking surreptitiously from the left of the engine bay. Relief swells, we reinsert the Retriever, buy more sweets just in case, and are off again. So why annoying, then? Because on a 250-mile drive, that’s the only complaint, and when the only complaint is ‘I’m too stupid to find the washer fluid reservoir’, it’s amplified. (Having it buried in the wing means it’s easier to refill, FYI.)
The eHEV’s such a comfortable, untaxing motor car to drive, there’s really nothing to think about. The suspension damping is pitched perfectly for something built to cope with a variety of road surfaces, ditto the steering speed. And while the eHEV powertrain is furiously complex – as we discovered in the last update – it never feels so, slipping easily between full EV and hybrid with nary a squeak. There aren’t any actual squeaks, either.
Because the fit and finish and general ergonomics of the Civic’s interior are spot on. That strip of honeycomb running along the dash is a nice touch but also better distributes the cabin air. The door pockets are deep, as is the centre armrest storage. Many, many sweets can be stockpiled here. The CarPlay setup syncs without issue and runs smoothly. The audio system is good. The seats are very comfortable and the driving position spot on. Visibility’s good, though the rear window does get a steep rake so there’s something to bear in mind.
The boot’s massive too – 410 litres with the rear seats up, which is more than enough to compete against the army of crossovers this car trades against. Including the excessively powered one careering down an increasingly rainy motorway.