Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Honda Civic
Want a practical yet enjoyable family car? You could do worse than a classic Civic

While everyone rightly loves the attention-seeking Type R, the milder versions of the 10th-generation Honda Civic have always been a little overlooked.

Derided for not being as good an all-rounder as the Volkswagen Golf (few things are) or as competent as the Audi A3 Sportback (ditto), there’s still a lot to like about this low-slung family car, not least its stand-alone, if slightly divisive, looks. Honda threw the kitchen sink at it and really upped its game in areas such as driver enjoyment and interior quality.

You can now put one on your drive for as little as £11,000, so for anyone after a smart and frugal hatchback, it’s well worth a look. Ignoring the explosive Honda Civic Type R (difficult, we know), you can seek out the Civic with a 124bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder or 180bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. In 2018, Honda added an economical 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel. Those buying new could match any of these engines with a CVT instead of a manual gearbox.

Click here to buy your next used Civic from Autocar

The range initially kicked off with the basic S version, sans DAB radio or air conditioning, but this was quickly dropped due to slow sales. The SE is far more appealing, with a DAB radio, air-con and parking sensors front and rear.

SR then adds a leather-trimmed steering wheel, automatic wipers and a reversing camera, while EX comes with a package of extra safety kit, keyless start and a leather interior. Then there’s the Sport, which brings heated seats, a sportier bodykit and LED headlights. Sport Plus and Sport Line were added in 2019, while top-of-the-range Prestige gets you a full leather interior and heated rear seats.

On the road, the Civic rides well and is pleasingly refined. Most impressive are its quick steering and slick manual gearshift. The 1.0-litre version is smooth but not stunningly quick; the 1.5-litre is better in that respect, but not by enough to make us seek one out especially. The diesel is frugal but lacks puff.

That £11,000 gets a 1.0-litre car in SR trim with an average mileage for the year. Set aside between £12,000 and £14,000 and you can take your pick of 2018 cars, petrol and diesel, all from Honda dealers and with minimal mileage on the clock. Prepare to spend between £15,000 and £17,000 for a 2019 car.

As you’d expect of a Honda, not much seems to go wrong. Mind you, some owners have complained of squealing brakes, while others have described electrical niggles. Cast a keen eye over the paintwork and lights, too, because both of these have caused concern.

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Two years ago, Honda introduced the Civic 4 Door, with the swooping roofline lengthened to create a tail and a style for the saloon that makes a neat alternative to the hatchback. Used prices so far seem to be echoing those of the regular Civic.


Engine Some owners have reported failure of the fuel pump. The direct-injection 1.5-litre petrol engine can suffer fuel dilution of the engine oil, reducing its lubrication efficiency, so check the level. Also, smell for unburnt fuel vapour in the cabin. It's a very efficient engine but takes an age to warm up, so don't expect to be too cosy on chilly mornings. Vibrations, caused by the engine being optimised to run at low revs, are another possible problem. Check rodents haven't chewed the wiring, which is wrapped in a soy-based cover.

Tyres Check the tyre pressure warning system is functioning properly – Honda has a history of problems with the system. A warning light on the dashboard is one clue.

Body Check the bodywork for any dings picked up in car parks or stone chips from motorway driving and examine the alloy wheels to ensure there are no signs of kerb damage. 

Interior The Civic is a family car, so some examples might have been messed up by unsympathetic occupants.

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Need to know

The Civic scored well in the most recent

Wild card

Civic 1.5 VTEC Sport: No, it’s not significantly faster, but the 1.5-litre is a little quieter and gives useful motorway verve. Flash Sport trim really ups the ante, too, with heated seats and neat LED lights.

Ones we found

2017 Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo SE, 18,484 miles, £13,379

2017 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SR, 7078 miles, £19,995

2018 Honda Civic 1.5 VTEC Turbo Sport, 11,500 miles, £20,464


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si73 10 October 2021
My son had one as his second car, a 1.0SR, and it was a great drive, the gearbox felt great to use and it had enough performance to be enjoyable. Ride and handling were also great as the car turned in well and stayed pretty flat, touch screen system was never used as he used the Android auto and associated apps which worked really well.
As for the looks, well in his words, it looks sporty and almost coupe ish due to the fastback style and a lot less frumpy and bland than a Golf.
He replaced it with an i20N
Kidda 8 May 2020

Not that flawed

It is funny how much people like to jump on the band waggon and have a go at the looks, but looks are subjective. I'm going to be seemingly controversial, but I like the Mk 10, but I will happily concede that I am biased as I own one and that will agree that it is marmite in that department - some will like it, others hate it.

As for practicality, I wonder how much of the flak comes from actual owners? I owned a Mk 8 for nearly 5 years, and have had a a Mk 10 for 18 months,  and have not found any reduction in practicality in my day to day use with the loss of the magic seats. Granted, I may not be able to fit a 6' tall load in the back seat area, but I never did that with the Mk 8 either... Likewise - all these comments about the boot space being compromised by central exhaust, the seats not folding perfectly flat is nonsense. While a couple of inches of added depth are lost (where a space saver would go), I still get slightly more stuff in the boot than I did in the Mk 8. We regualrly pack 3 suitcases and several boxes of stuff down to Cornwall when the family go to visit the mother in law with no complaints on boot space. 

Space wise, it is much more spacious inside than the Mk 8 (thanks to all that extra lenght and width). 

I have a CVT 1.5 petrol and love it. Again, the very letters CVT make a number of people recoil in horror, but I have found it very enjoyable to drive. It certainly does not have the pronounced kick down of conventional autos when you put your foot down, it just simply goes. 

There are one or two niggles, like the squealing brakes (caused by a batch of pads with a higher than usual metal content in order to meet some new regulation), but this can be cured by simply changing the pads, but nothing that puts me off the car in the slightest. The touch screen is not the best, but nor is it the worst. My only real complaint is the Garmin Satnav, which always tries to take you down the narrowest farm track it can find. But again, that can easily be overcome. 

Will86 7 May 2020


Like so many Civics, this one is brilliant but flawed, and I say that as the owner of a 2014 Civic which is both very satisfying and frustrating. I wonder if Honda ever hold customer focus groups because some of the issues seem so obvious its a wonder they make it to production.

Anyway I've driven all three engines and they all have issues. The diesel feels laggy but is punchy and economical. The 1.0 is the one to avoid if you take any pleasure in driving. The rev hang is awful and it's so quiet you don't even notice if you're doing 4000rpm. It's just a tool and not a good one. The 1.5 is the pick being decently quick, engaging and surprisingly frugal. However it too suffers rev hang and the gearbox, at least of the one I drove, was overly light and lacked feel. Not a bad, but not Honda's best. The CVT is meant to be good with the 1.5 but not with the 1.0.

Ride and handling were really impressive, felt sophisticated and carefully engineered. I have no doubt the Type R is epic with such a good foundation. The touch screen is hopeless, boot space compromised by a hump in the floor, the seats won't fold flat and rear headroom is a bit pinched. Then there's the looks. Tuga is right - the saloon looks much better.

The problem is all cars are pretty decent these days and do the things the Civic does well without the Civic's compromises.