Shopping around for a mid-sized family hatchback is getting more and more complicated these days, and now it just got that little bit trickier with Honda’s latest take on this, the tenth generation Civic.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s somewhat bigger than it’s predecessor. Out with the rounded boot, and in its place is a rear end that’s a closer rival for something like the Skoda Octavia. Overall it’s longer, lower and wider too, all in a bid to help improve practicality as well as retaining driving dynamics. But is it enough to rival the likes of the Ford Focus, VW Golf and the aforementioned Skoda Octavia?
The engine line up isn’t as vast as some of the rivals, but then sometimes you don’t need to bamboozle customers with choice, in all honest,y there should be a version for pretty much everyone. The entry level 1.0-litre petrol pumps out 127bhp and is more than a match for some of its rivals with the same engine capacity.
The model we’re driving here is the 1.5 litre petrol Vtec sport plus and this really feels like a step up in performance without going for the full bodied hot hatch which is the Type-R, that’s available in a separate review on the motors channel.
Finally, if you’re more inclined to opt for the diesel, then the 1.6-litre makes sense as it pumps out just 93 g/km of CO2. Now it only has 118bhp so performance is more laboured than the other options.
Now the ride is a little on the firm side, yes that does mean that it’s more than capable when driven at pace round corners, but it will become a little irritating over bumpy roads. On higher spec models there are adaptive dampers which means you can stiffen and soften the suspension, which does improve the ride slightly. Overall, it’s not quite as fun to drive as a Focus or Golf, but not many owners will be pushing them as hard as they would in a hot hatch version.
Inside, the cabin is fairly minimalist, most of the controls are operated via this seven inch touchscreen infotainment system, which will take a little bit of getting used to. It’s available on all but S and SE trims and is certainly not as intuitive as rival systems, even changing the volume is more complicated than it needs to be.
There are a few examples of penny pinching with hard plastics like here on the steering wheel and down here, but then you can find that on other cars in this class too. The seating position is a bit lower than you’d find on some rivals, so you don’t feel like you’re looking down at other cars.
While visibility is good out of the front, out of the back it’s slightly different. There’s a split in the tailgate, and the upper part is quite small, so that might make parking somewhat tricky. It will be helped in part though with a reversing camera which is standard on SR models and above.
There isn’t much of an issue when it comes to legroom in the front or back, however, while headroom is good up front, in the back it’ll be slightly more uncomfortable for six footers in the back, largely down to that sloping roofline. The boot is a good size and shape and bigger than the likes of the golf or focus, and the seats split 60:40.
Overall the Civic is a good alternative to the mainstream ‘popular choices’ like the ford focus and vw golf. It’s certainly more of an all rounder now with lots of kit as standard and now a bigger boot to aid practicality. It’s just a shame the infotainment system and some of the cabin plastics are a bit below par, and headroom in the back isn’t as good as some of the competition.