At a time when crossovers are seemingly everywhere, the Civic Saloon aims to win you over with low running costs and a spacious interior. However, it’s not exactly a bargain
The Honda Civic Saloon is a mid-size four-door family car that’s similar in size to the Mazda 3 Fastback, Skoda Octavia and Kia Optima.
The Civic Saloon was introduced in 2018 and adopts a more restrained look than the Civic Hatchback. Gone are the aggressive bumpers and split rear window and in their place, you’ll find a tasteful bodykit and a regular rear window for better visibility – the Civic Saloon is perfect if you think the Hatchback looks a little over the top.
What both the Saloon and the Hatchback share, however, is interior design. That’s a good thing because the Civic interior looks sportier than what you’d find in an Octavia, for example. The low-slung seating position also helps with the sporty impression yet all-round visibility is good. Seat and steering wheel adjustment is straightforward, so a comfortable driving position can be achieved without much hassle.
The infotainment system is a bit of a hassle to live with, however. Available on mid-range SR models, the 7.0-inch touchscreen system does have Android Auto and Apple Carplay functionality, but overall it’s behind systems from Skoda and Mazda in terms of operating speed and ease of use.
The Civic is on par with the Octavia for passenger space and slightly better than the Mazda so transporting three adults in the Civic Saloon won’t be much of a challenge. You can carry their luggage easily, too – at 519 litres, the Civic Saloon has a slightly bigger boot than the Hatchback, which should be enough for a couple of large suitcases or four small ones. However, compared with the Civic Hatchback, the Saloon boot opening is smaller so bulky items are harder to get in or out.
Trim levels mirror the Hatchback’, so affordable SE models get Honda’s suite of safety systems as standard. That includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.
SR models add 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual climate control and a rear parking camera. EX models come with leather upholstery, heated seats, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and push-button start.
The Civic Saloon might not be as visually exciting as the Hatchback, but it compensates with low running costs and great space inside
While the Civic Saloon shares much with the Hatchback, you won’t be able to choose from the same range of engines. The Civic Saloon comes with a choice of only two: a petrol and a diesel. The good news is that they are both good engines that are very fuel efficient. If you drive in town mostly, go for the 129hp 1.0-litre petrol – its lively nature means it’s easy to dart around tight city streets. The claimed fuel economy of 58.9mpg is impressive and so are the CO2 emissions of 110g/km.
The 118hp diesel, on the other hand, has longer legs than the petrol so feels best at a steady 70mph on the motorway. The diesel is even more fuel efficient than the petrol and has a claimed fuel economy of 83.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 91g/km. Both engines are available with an automatic gearbox.
Even without an automatic gearbox, the Civic Saloon is still relaxing to drive. While lacking the adaptive dampers of high-spec Civic Hatchback models, the Civic Saloon feels planted around corners and irons out the worst of the bumps in the road. It’s a great balance between sporty feel and comfort that a Skoda Octavia can’t match. Unfortunately, the Saloon has inherited some of the drawbacks of the Hatchback too – there’s road and wind noise at speed, especially if you’re sitting in the back.
Overall, the Honda Civic Saloon is a decent companion for long journeys. It’s more exciting to drive than a Skoda Octavia and more spacious inside than a Mazda 3 Fastback. However, a Civic Hatchback has a more practical boot opening and to some will look more exciting.