First Drive: Honda Civic

2017 Honda Civic

For the model's tenth generation, Honda has completely reworked the look of the long-running Civic hatchback.

As one of Honda's most successful models, this latest Civic is an important marker for the Japanese brand, but does it carry on the great work the previous nine versions? AOL Cars drove the new model to find out.
What is it?

With a completely new look, the new Civic takes more saloon-style design cues for the hatchback model, which offers more space, comfort and driver interaction and helps to make it more rounded and useful for many target markets.

Fitted with just two engines from launch, both the 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines can be paired with a CVT automatic or six-speed manual gearboxes that provide great efficiency and performance, helping the Civic get off to a solid start.

What's under the bonnet?

The aforementioned petrol engines help to get the Civic up to speed swiftly, with the 1.0-litre petrol producing 127bhp and emitting 117g/km CO2. The smallest engine returns 55.4mpg, but it will hit 60mph in a respectable 10.7 seconds.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol is currently the most powerful option with 179bhp, returning 46.3mpg and emitting 133g/km CO2.

A diesel option is set to arrive towards the end of 2017 to give more variety, although details will be revealed at a later date. Civic fans will be most interested, however, in the Type R version, which is set to race into showrooms this summer and will bring a more powerful petrol offering that will be very attractive to driving enthusiasts.

First Drive: Honda Civic
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First Drive: Honda Civic

What's the spec like?

In the SR trim we tested, the Civic comes with the 1.0-litre engine and many great features as standard. For the £20,180, you get 17-inch wheels, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, as well as a larger touchscreen, and for the first time in a Civic, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which gives better smartphone integration than before.

The Civic is a nice place to be, and you feel like you get a good deal for the price. The 1.5-litre engine comes at a £2,290 premium over the smaller 1.0-litre for those who want that little bit more power at their disposal.

Any rivals?

As such an established name in the sector, the Civic will be taking on the heavyweights of the hatchback market, the VW Golf and the Ford Focus. With the new image, the Honda looks the most dynamic of the three, but the ever-popular Focus will be difficult to knock off the top.

What's it like to drive?

Driving the 1.0-litre-powered offering, it offers a surprising 200Nm of torque, which helps to give the Civic more day-to-day usability and you don't notice the smaller capacity engine as much.

One thing that is immediately clear is the car's ride around an urban environment. It is composed, which makes it relaxing to drive, and with the steering coming with a well-weighted feel, it makes the Civic easy to manoeuvre in busy towns and cities. Fitted as standard with dynamic steering, it reduces the amount of steering lock you need to apply in sharper corners, which makes quick changes of direction simple.

At higher speeds, the Civic's dynamic side rears its head and offers an impressive amount of stability and poise, with almost no body roll, something many hot hatches currently can't match.

You have to push the Civic quite hard before you get a hint of understeer, thanks to the high levels of grip. This helps to make the Civic very entertaining to drive.

AOL Cars Verdict

It's hard to fault the new Civic, and despite some of the interior materials feeling hard to the touch, the new model is civilised and well-specified. With the Civic also coming with an excellent driving experience, the overall package is rather good. We hold our breathe for the Type R model this summer!

The info:

Power (bhp): 127bhp
Torque (Nm): 200
Max speed (mph): 126
0-60mph: 10.7
MPG: 55.4
Emissions (g/km): 117
Price (as tested): £20,180
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