Honda Civic Review

The Honda Civic’s impressively comfortable and is one of the most practical family cars around, but alternatives have more rear headroom

7/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Big boot for a car this size
  • Smooth petrol engines
  • Comfortable and fun to drive

What's not so good

  • Only one diesel engine
  • Basic entry-level models
  • Looks won’t appeal to everyone

Honda Civic Review

The Honda Civic’s impressively comfortable and is one of the most practical family cars around, but alternatives have more rear headroom

7/10
wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Big boot for a car this size
  • Smooth petrol engines
  • Comfortable and fun to drive

What's not so good

  • Only one diesel engine
  • Basic entry-level models
  • Looks won’t appeal to everyone

Honda Civic: what would you like to read next?

Review contents

Overall verdict

Watch our Honda Civic full video review

The Honda Civic is a family car that’s easy to drive and has a very practical boot. It’s a little more expensive than the likes of the Vauxhall Astra but it feels sportier to drive and its aggressive styling will certainly turn more heads. If you want your Civic to feel like a fast, trackday-ready racing car then check out the Honda Civic Type R, which is reviewed separately.

Inside, plenty of soft, squidgy plastics help it feel more upmarket than a Ford Focus but not quite as plush as an Astra or VW Golf. All but basic S and SE models come with a glossy seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard.

It’s not quite as easy to use as the unit you get in a Golf but some handy shortcut buttons help make switching between key features on the move fairly easy. The Honda Civic menus are a little confusing but it does come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation as standard.

The Honda Civic’s seats are soft, supportive and come with plenty of adjustment to help you get comfy if you’re tall, but you can’t get adjustable lumbar support to help stave off back ache on long journeys on entry-level S models.

The back seats are nicely padded but your taller passengers might be left wanting for headroom – there’s an annoying lump in the roof just in front of the rear windscreen that you don’t get in the Skoda Octavia. Thankfully, leg and knee room are excellent and there’s almost as much space for three adults to sit abreast as you get in the roomy Vauxhall Astra.

The Honda Civic’s boot is pretty generous, too. With all five seats in place you can squeeze in 478 litres of luggage – 108 litres more than an Astra and easily enough for a bulky baby buggy and some large soft bags.

Flip the back seats down (which you can do in a 60:40 two-way split to carry up to two passengers and long luggage at once) and the Honda Civic’s boot grows to 1,267 litres. That’s almost identical to the 1,270-litre Golf and easily large enough to carry a bike with one wheel removed.

Don’t let the latest Civic’s boy-racer looks fool you – this is a comfortable, practical family car that’ll be perfectly happy on the school run

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Honda Civic with two petrol engines and with either a manual or CVT automatic gearbox. The 1.0-litre petrol (that’ll return around 45mpg compared to Honda’s claimed 55.4mpg) is best suited to pottering around town while the quicker 1.5-litre model is a much better bet if you take in a mix of town and motorway driving. It will return near-identical real-world fuel economy.

All Honda Civic models are reasonably comfortable over bumps but EX cars and above come with an adaptive suspension system as standard that really helps iron out potholes. It’s not quite as relaxing as a Golf but it strikes a good balance between being comfortable and feeling sporty to drive. The Honda Civic scored a four stars in the strict 2017 Euro NCAP crash tests thanks to its wide range of standard safety kit.

Even entry-level Honda Civic cars get adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and a system that’ll automatically stop the car if it senses an obstacle in the road ahead.The Honda Civic’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a practical family car that’s comfortable and sporty to drive but it is slightly more expensive than some other very capable alternatives.

If you want to see what sort of savings you can expect, simply click through to our Honda Civic deals page.

What's it like inside?

Watch our Honda Civic interior and infotainment video review

The Honda Civic’s cabin looks and feels reasonably upmarket for a car this size but the back seats aren’t quite as roomy as in alternative models

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

Watch our Honda Civic practicality video review

The latest Honda Civic has grown into quite a big car, but that does mean it has a lot of space for most passengers and a massive boot. The sloping rear window makes the front of the boot quite shallow, though

Under the bonkers styling is a truly practical family car – one that’s better to drive than an SUV

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
492 - 550 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,187 - 1,267 litres

The Honda Civic’s front seats sit close to the floor and come with loads of height adjustment as standard so you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable, even if you’re very tall.

All but entry-level Honda Civic S models come with electrically adjustable lumbar support as standard and EX cars get heated front seats and lumbar support for the passenger, too.

The Honda Civic is a bit more of a mixed bag in the back. Its doors open reasonably wide so it’s easy to jump in but tall passengers will find headroom limited by an awkward bulge in the roof. The small back windows can make it feel a little claustrophobic too, but there’s absolutely loads of foot and knee room and the seats themselves are soft and supportive.

Carrying three adults abreast is a little cosier than in a Vauxhall Astra but the central seat is nicely padded and there’s only a slight lump in the floor to get in the way of your passengers’ feet.

Fitting a child seat is relatively easy, too. The back doors open nice and wide and the Isofix anchor points for fixing the seat base are clearly marked by folding fabric covers (instead of the easy-to-lose plastic caps you’ll find in a VW Golf). Sadly, the Honda Civic’s sloping roofline means you’ll have to stoop down quite low to strap in a child – especially if you’re reasonably tall.

The Honda Civic’s full of handy cubby holes to store family bits and bobs out of sight. The front door bins are big enough to hold large bottles, the glovebox is fairly generous and you get a long storage bin under the folding front armrest on SR models and above.

You can adjust the two front cupholders to securely hold everything from a tiny espresso to a bulky water bottle and SR versions and above come with a folding rear armrest with a second set of cupholders as standard.

All models come with a handy tray under the dashboard for your phone and a set of USB and 12V sockets hidden neatly under the centre console to keep it charged.

The Honda Civic’s 478-litre boot is one of the biggest of any small family car. It’s significantly more spacious than the 380-litre Golf and 370-litre Astra – only the 590-litre boot in the Skoda Octavia beats it. As a result, the Honda Civic will have no trouble swallowing a large baby stroller and some bulky soft bags.

Unfortunately, there’s a slight boot lip to contend with and you can’t raise the Honda Civic’s boot floor to make loading heavy luggage easier. Thankfully, there’s plenty of underfloor storage and you get a few handy tether points to stop smaller items rolling around. SR models and above come with a 12V socket in the back for keeping various boot-bound gizmos charged, too.

Another noteworthy feature is the Honda Civic’s sideways-folding load cover. It’s about half the size of a traditional forward-sliding cover and it’s easily small enough to tuck neatly under the floor.

The back seats fold down in a handy two-way (60:40) split so you can carry a passenger in the back and some long luggage in the boot at once. Fold both back seats down – using the latches beside the headrests – and you’ll have access to an impressive 1,267-litre load bay.

It’s pretty much on a par with the roomy 1,270-litre Golf and easily big enough to carry a bike with one wheel removed. The boot floor isn’t completely flat (it ramps up slightly behind the back seats) but it won’t give you too many headaches unless you need to slide very heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.

Unfortunately, the new Honda Civic does away with the old car’s magic seat system. As a result, you can’t flip up the back seat bases to carry tall items such as a kid’s bike in the rear passenger compartment.

What's it like to drive?

The Civic's noisier inside than a VW Golf

The Honda Civic’s adaptive suspension helps make it involving when you want to have fun and comfortable when you don’t. Unfortunately, it’s only standard on high-spec EX models

The entry-level Civic’s 1.0-litre petrol engine does a fair (if slightly forgettable) job but the 1.5-litre turbo model is an absolute gem – it’s smooth, powerful and fairly frugal, too

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Honda Civic with one of three petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or CVT automatic gearbox.

You’ll want to consider the 129hp 1.0-litre petrol model if you spend most time around town. It’s reasonably perky and can return around 45mpg (compared to Honda’s claimed 55.4mpg). If you mostly do long journeys then the 182hp 1.5-litre model will be a much better bet.

It’s not just faster than the 1.0-litre version (it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds compared to 10.2 seconds) but it’s smoother and can return almost identical fuel economy – go easy on the accelerator and it’ll easily manage 44mpg.

You’ll want to consider a 1.6-litre diesel Honda Civic instead if you do lots of long journeys. This 120hp Civic will accelerate from 0-62mph in a respectable (but hardly spritely) 9.8 seconds but easily outstrips the petrols in the fuel economy stakes. Honda claims it’ll return 80.7mpg but even in normal driving conditions you can expect to see a figure in the high sixties.

It’s also impressively quiet at low speeds for a diesel engine and it’s also happier pulling heavier trailers than the petrols. Sadly, you can’t get it with an automatic gearbox but the standard-fit six-speed manual is impressively smooth and very easy to use around town.

The optional CVT gearbox will set you back £1,400 across the Honda Civic range but it’s worth considering if you spend a lot of time in heavy traffic. It’s not perfect, however – it causes the engine to drone loudly when you accelerate hard and blunts the 1.5-litre models’s otherwise rather spritely performance. Fuel economy takes a slight hit compared to the standard manual gearbox, too.

The Honda Civic’s light steering makes it easy to drive around town but there are a few blindspots to worry about. The pillars where the front doors meet the windscreen can obscure your view out at junctions and the narrow rear windscreen can make parking slightly nerve-wracking, too.

Thankfully, all but entry-level S models come with front and rear parking sensors and SR models and above get a reversing camera as standard.

The Honda Civic soaks up bumpy city streets and poorly maintained country roads impressively well for a relatively small car, too – especially EX models and above thanks to their standard adaptive suspension. It can’t quite soften the jarring thud of large potholes quite as well as a VW Golf but the Honda Civic runs the class-leading German car very close in terms of outright comfort.

You’ll hear a little more wind and tyre noise in the Honda Civic at motorway speeds than you would in the VW but it’s far from excessive – you can easily have a conversation with your passengers without raising your voice.

Head off the motorway and onto a windy country road and the Honda Civic feels more agile than the Golf. It comes with a clever system that individually brakes its rear wheels to help it turn sharply and its adaptive suspension stops it leaning too much in tight corners. That said, it’s not quite as sporty as a Ford Focus or as surefooted as a Vauxhall Astra.

When it comes to safety, even entry-level S models come with bundles of kit as standard such as lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking (which’ll stop the car automatically to help prevent a collision) all helped the Civic score a reasonable four-star safety rating in the strict 2017 tests.

Read about prices & specifications

What's it like inside?

Watch our Honda Civic interior and infotainment video review

The Honda Civic’s cabin looks and feels reasonably upmarket for a car this size but the back seats aren’t quite as roomy as in alternative models

Next Read full interior review
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