Honda Civic 1.8 i-Vtec

 

 

Price: £17,995
Engine: 1,798cc, four cylinders, 142bhp
Transmission: six-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive.
Performance:134mph, 0-62 in 9.1sec, 47.1mpg official average, CO2 143g/km (137g/km for entry SE model)

Time flies. This is the ninth generation of Honda's Civic, the car that is the epicentre of the Japanese company's range. Who could have foreseen that founder Soichiro Honda's disastrous idea of a 1300cc family car with an air-cooled flat-four engine, would turn, in 1972, into the first Civic, a car of neat design but normal architecture, and that almost 40 years later, it would still be going strong.

The Civic that has just stopped rolling down the production lines at Honda's Swindon factory, where 80 per cent of the cars it sells in the UK are made, was a dramatic-looking, futuristic car outside and in. It represented the manic side of Honda's slightly bipolar personality, in opposition to the forgettable Accord, curious CR-V and grey-pound Jazz.

But the lack of a rear wiper – droplet-dispersing aerodynamics are little use in slow traffic – and the abrupt ride that resulted from a most unHonda-like, torsion-beam rear suspension, annoyed buyers. So the latest Civic seeks to keep the good and banish the bad. The style is similar, but more voluptuous and less taut. The rear lights are oddly protruberant, and joined via a strip of red which contains the central brake light. The bar this forms sits lower than the previous Civic's rear-window divider, so the upper window is larger with space for a wiper. Some of the unusual details of the old car – the triangular front foglights and rear exhaust pipes, the rhomboid recesses for the front door handles – have gone, but the hidden handles for rear doors remain.

Inside, it's a smarter, plusher, higher-quality, slightly less extreme version of what went before. The rev-counter is still dead ahead of the driver, and fairly normal dials sit either side, all of them in deep bezels. As before, a digital speedometer sits above, much further away so your eyes can easily focus on it. Also as before, you have to set the steering wheel lower than you otherwise might to stop the rim obscuring the speedometer. Segments either side of the speedo change colour according to how economically you are driving.

You'll be able to drive extra-economically when the hybrid version arrives, but for now the engine line-up is much as before: a 100bhp 1.4, a 142bhp 1.8 and a 150bhp, 2.2-litre turbodiesel. All have six-speed gearboxes, with a five-speed automatic optional in the 1.8. Also as before is the clever placement of the fuel tank under the front floor, freeing-up space under the moveable rear cushions for carrying tall objects.

As promised, this new Civic is a much more restful drive. Bumps seem distant now despite the retention of the torsion beam; clever fluid-filled mountings are why. The 1.8 proves particularly comfortable, yet much of the old feeling of precision and alertness remains.

The electric power steering feels more natural than some such systems, and the 1.8 feels just as a keen Honda should. By contrast the diesel feels unwilling relative to its better rivals, lacking the easy surge of energy that such engines usually possess nowadays. This is strange; in the outgoing Civic, the punchy diesel was the star and the 1.8 felt a bit flat.

So, a better Civic? It's more pleasing to travel in, and better equipped with hi-tech gadgets, including an automatic braking system. It's still a radical-looking car by most standards, but not so much as to frighten buyers away. If you want a diesel you should look elsewhere (probably at the Volkswagen Golf). The Civic 1.8, however, could make a very satisfying buy.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Digital Marketing Manger,Mill Hill,London

    To £55kpa (12 Month Contract): Charter Selection: Major household name charity...

    Project Co-ordinator/Administrator - Central London

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

    Linux Systems Administrator - UNIX, Linux, Shell, Bash

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...

    UNIX Systems Administrator - Oracle DBA, UNIX, Scripting

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Systems Administrator - Orac...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil