The Honda Civic, a long-standing player in the automotive arena since its introduction in 1972, continues to hold its ground in a market increasingly dominated by SUVs and crossovers. The latest iteration, the 11th generation, stands as a testament to Honda's commitment to the hatchback segment, offering a blend of efficiency, practicality, and driving enjoyment.
The exterior of the new Civic is characterized by cleaner lines and a more streamlined silhouette. This design direction is evident in its longer hood, a more pronounced front grille, and the reduced use of sharp lines and creases that dominated the previous generation. The car's profile is lower and wider, giving it a grounded, stable stance that hints at improved aerodynamics and a more balanced handling experience.
One of the key highlights is the increased glasshouse, which not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also improves outward visibility, a practical aspect often overlooked in modern car design. The rear section of the Civic is equally well-crafted, with a more understated approach to the tail lights and boot lid, moving away from the somewhat flamboyant styling of the earlier model.
Stepping inside, the Civic's interior mirrors the exterior's move towards a more refined and mature design. The dashboard is clean and uncluttered, with a focus on horizontal lines that enhance the sense of width and space. Quality materials are used throughout, elevating the perceived quality and comfort.
The center console is well laid out, with intuitive placement of the infotainment system and climate controls. Physical knobs and buttons for essential functions are a thoughtful inclusion, offering ease of use while driving. The instrument cluster and infotainment system are seamlessly integrated into the design, avoiding the tablet-like add-on appearance seen in some competitors.
Engine and Performance
The heart of the Civic's performance is its e:HEV hybrid system, a significant upgrade from traditional powertrains. This system combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors, producing a combined output of 181bhp and 315Nm of torque. This hybrid setup is particularly effective in urban environments, where the instant torque from the electric motors enhances the car's responsiveness and agility.
The transition between the petrol engine and electric motors is seamless, contributing to a smooth driving experience. The Civic accelerates with purpose, showing ample power for both city driving and highway cruising. The e-CVT transmission, often a weak point in hybrids, performs admirably in the Civic, avoiding the rubber-band effect common in other CVT systems.
In terms of ride quality, the Civic strikes a commendable balance. The suspension is tuned to be firm enough to convey a sense of sportiness and control, yet it remains compliant enough to absorb bumps and imperfections in the road. This dual nature makes the Civic equally at home on twisty back roads as it is on long highway stretches.
The car's wider stance and lower center of gravity, compared to the previous model, contribute to its improved stability and cornering prowess. The steering is precise and well-weighted, offering good feedback and making the car feel agile and responsive.
Handling is where the Civic really shines. The chassis is well-engineered, providing a confident and planted feel around corners. The car's balance is excellent, with minimal body roll, allowing for spirited driving without sacrificing comfort. The grip levels are impressive, thanks in part to the well-chosen tires, which hold the road effectively even under more aggressive driving.
The braking system deserves a mention too, offering progressive and reassuring stopping power, enhancing the overall sense of control and safety.
Cabin Space and Comfort
The interior of the Civic is designed with practicality in mind. The cabin feels spacious, offering ample headroom and legroom for both front and rear passengers, making it comfortable for adults of all sizes. The rear seats are especially noteworthy, with enough space to accommodate three adults comfortably for shorter trips and two very comfortably for longer journeys.
Storage solutions within the cabin are well-thought-out. There are numerous cubbies, pockets, and compartments, including a sizeable glovebox and center console, providing plenty of space to store personal items, smartphones, and travel essentials. The door bins are generously sized and can easily hold larger water bottles.
Boot Space and Versatility
The boot of the Civic is one of its strongest practicality features. With a capacity of 410 liters, it surpasses many of its rivals, including the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. This space is not only generous in volume but also well-shaped, with a wide opening and low loading lip, making it easy to load and unload bulky items.
The rear seats can be folded down to increase cargo space, offering additional flexibility for transporting larger items. The split-folding feature allows for a mix of passenger and cargo space, adding to the car's versatility.
The Honda Civic emerges as a strong contender in the compact car segment, striking a commendable balance between practicality, performance, and innovation. It stands out with its refined hybrid powertrain, impressive interior quality, and a comprehensive suite of safety features. While it faces stiff competition from rivals like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, and Toyota Corolla, the Civic holds its own with its unique blend of attributes.