Latest round of upgrades for popular hatchback are not enough to disguise the Honda Civic’s age

What is it?

You know when a car is nearing the end of its life; the special editions seem to appear on a weekly basis and minor upgrades are offered to ensure the parts bin is empty when production of a replacement is underway.

The Honda Civic is one such car; production of the current model will end at Swindon in the next 12 months and be replaced with a new model to be presented before 2011 is out.

What's it like?

What we have here is the final round of upgrades for the current standard Civic range. Our Si model came equipped with the familiar 138bhp 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and a range of cosmetic upgrades to keep the Civic’s futuristic styling looking fresh six years on.

It’s new front grille is taken from the Type R model now departed from UK price lists – it’s high-revving 2.0-litre VTEC engine fell foul of EU5 emissions regulations – and it also sports new 17-inch alloys and seats upholstered in half leather and Alcantara.

We’ll leave you to judge the Civic’s subtly tweaked looks, but on the dynamic front it’s obvious the Civic is now feeling its age. The engine, although quiet and refined, lacks grunt compared to more modern powerplants from rivals Volkswagen and Ford, while the ride quality is hit and miss. It’s fine on smoother motorways and A-roads, but has a habit to crash and fidget on more broken city surfaces, not helped by those alloys, handsome though they might be.

The age is felt inside, too. Although the feeling of solidity and the excellent build quality remain, the design of the centre console feels dated and the look and feel of the switchgear is way off the class best.

Should I buy one?

This Honda Civic 1.8 Si will tempt some with its spacious interior, looks and familiarity and is still a decent all-round package. But in this highly-competitive segment where decent is such a long way from class best, a replacement Civic can’t come soon enough.

Honda Civic 1.8 Si

Price: £18,270 Top speed: 127mph 0-62mph: 8.9sec Economy: 42.2mpg CO2: 155g/km Kerb weight: 1321kg Engine: four-cylinder, 1799cc, petrol Power: 138bhp at 6300rpm Torque: 128lb ft at 4300rpm Gearbox: six-speed manual


Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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dagobah_tony 23 February 2011

Re: Honda Civic 1.8 Si

What are you all moaning about.

I have had my 1.8ES for 2 years, with the mid life front grill & lights upgrade.

42mpg whilst cruising at 3000rpm

handling, yes its firm but in Milton Keynes (land of roundabouts) it is fantastic fun

Quiet, unless I am in a multi storey or underground carpark where it can sound great

Size, it is small on the outside but holds so much stuff with the flexible seats and rear passengers prefer to sit in my car rather than my wifes Grand Picasso.

Equipment, for the £17.5K at the time, nothing else on my company car list (Focus, Astra, Golf etc) had the USB stereo, cruise control, dual climate, glass roof; not to mention the extremely low company car tax.

Ok, it is a bit flimsy and the missing rear wiper is annoying; but Ive never had trouble reversing and after 50k most cars start to show wear and tear

I still have it for another two years and will be looking closely at the new one when it comes out.

Citytiger 22 February 2011

Re: Honda Civic 1.8 Si

catnip wrote:

Is it just me, or does the paint finish in the pic that shows the Si badge look extremely 'orange peely' ?

Just about to say the same, I haven't seen orange peel that bad for years.

jonfortwo 22 February 2011

Re: Honda Civic 1.8 Si

i thought this generation of Civic tried way too hard to be stylish and just ended up looking contrived and oddly dated fron day one A full width clear plastic nose looked very 60`s sci fi and the dashboard just plain overstyled and fussy.............and people complain about the Focus dash.

I understand the next Civic is not all new but just a clean up job on this one.......they have plenty to go on.