Honda’s most important new car in years, detailed
The Honda Civic has been around for so long, this year sees the 10th generation of the model hit UK dealer showrooms. Arriving in March, the all-new British-built car has been a long time coming. How, then, will Honda rise to the formidable challenge posed by the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus?
First and foremost, it seems, by turning this latest Civic hatch into a bit of a looker. Gone is the dowdy appearance of today’s car and in comes a longer, lower, crisper and more contemporary appearance. At last, a Civic that may turn a few heads.
There’s a new look inside too, with the higher-quality dash sporting a partly digitised instrument display ahead of the driver. The steering wheel is smarter, as is the touchscreen infotainment system in the middle of the dash. However, while it replaces a fair few of the dash buttons, we do hope it’s less clunky than the system in the current car…
Honda says it hasn’t forgotten practicality with this latest-gen Civic. The current car is roomier than the class best-sellers, and so too is this one. The boot is a massive 478 litres, way larger than its arch-rivals. Don’t look for the ‘Magic Seats’ of today’s rear split-fold bench, though. They’ve been magic’d away – as has, for now, the estate option.
There’s an alphabet soup line-up of models: S, SE, SR, EX, Sport, Sport Plus and Prestige. The SE should prove popular, and it comes with climate control, touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, reversing camera and auto wipers. Standard safety kit is comprehensive too, with automatic city braking included on all cars.
Under the bonnet, just three engines will be offered. Petrol choice is either a 127bhp 1.0-litre, or the 180bhp 1.5-litre that Honda expects to prove much more popular. The diesel will be a carry-over 1.6-litre producing 118bhp and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. Gearboxes? A standard six-speed manual and either a CVT auto on petrols or a nine-speed auto on the diesel.
Hot hatch fans, panic not: there will be a new Type R version, using a breathed-on version of today’s 306bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine. It won’t be here at launch but it will arrive before 2020.
Another interesting aspect of the new Civic is how much Honda’s charging for it. Prices start at £18,235 for the 1.0 S, compared to an entry point of £18,360 for the current car – meaning this much-improved machine is actually cheaper than the car it replaces. Seems line Honda’s looking to make a statement in the showrooms.
Let’s just hope buyers don’t check out the entry price of the Astra, Focus and Golf, though: they cost from £15,445, £16,245 and £17,625 respectively – and they’re jolly good models in their own right. Certainly, they’re some of the best-selling cars in the UK.
Honda will be hoping the much-improved new Civic can join them when it goes on sale in the spring. Initial impressions suggest it’s in with a fighting chance: let’s hope the drive shows as much promise.