From £34,9958
In a class that risks being neglected, Honda arrives with a new Civic – one of the most compelling and best to drive

The new Honda Civic, the 11th iteration of Honda’s staple family hatchback, has arrived in the UK ahead of customer deliveries beginning in October. It’s priced from £29,595 up to £32,995, depending which of the three trim levels you go for.

 

At 4.55m, it’s the longest car in its class, and at 1.41m, it’s the lowest, too. In a segment coming under increased pressure from crossovers and SUVs (to the extent that Ford is canning the Focus), the Civic looks like a very conventional old-school hatchback. 

 

It’s made for the world but designed primarily within Europe and to our demands, because they’re the highest around the globe.

 

Anyway, it’s so old-school that it has a petrol engine and even what Honda calls an e-CVT. But not so fast: “I’m not very happy about that name,” says Honda product planning manager Andrew Winfield, “because there is no gearbox.”

 

The new Civic comes as a hybrid only, with a single powertrain option until the hot Type R arrives – and for the most part, it’s driven by a 181bhp electric motor, whose energy comes generated via a petrol engine. The 141bhp naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit spins a generator that makes power for that motor. 

Honda civic ehev blue 143

 

A similar set-up is used in the Jazz and HR-V, but here the motor is much more powerful and so the engine’s mechanical influence is lessened. For the vast majority of the time, the engine is totally disconnected from the front wheels. Only at steady high speeds does it clutch onto the wheels – and then only at one fixed ratio.

 

But what do you do with an engine to avoid it sounding whiny and dull the rest of the time, when it’s just making power (and heat and noise) but isn’t attached to the wheels? Why, if you’re Honda, you zhuzh it up a bit by, under acceleration, having it rev up and down by placing some fake gearchange points on the way, so as speed increases it zings around the rev band like a conventional car changing gear, even though there are no gears. If you pull a steering wheel paddle, it adjusts the regenerative deceleration’s strength, rather than affecting a non-existent gear. There’s even a rev counter and a Sport mode.

Honda civic ehev blue 023

 

It’s all quite odd – and you can’t plug in the car at all to give it battery-electric-only range. But if you’re one of the 80% of people who still buys a non-pluggable car in this class, that won’t bother you. It’s very effective. Plus, it will do 60mpg without trying.

 

Perhaps obviously, because motive power is electric, it’s very smooth. I couldn’t tell you (although there is a graphic on the infotainment that can) when the engine clutches onto the wheels to provide drive, either. It’s as slick as an EV, because most of the time it’s propelled like one. It’s quick enough, too: the power is delivered softly, but it will do 0-62mph in 7.8-8.1sec, depending on the trim level.

Back to top

Honda civic ehev blue 147

 

That bit aside, there’s conventional hatchy stuff. Slink into the interior and while there’s a touchscreen in the centre, there’s also a smattering of physical buttons, like the ventilation controls to one side of you and the buttons to quieten the parking sensors and a dimmer rocker for the dials to your right. The buttons and rollers on the steering wheel are real ones too, so it’s all easy to use. The rest of the touchscreen isn’t much easier than the class average, but it will hook up to a smartphone simply. 

 

The seats are accommodating, the driving position is good and the rear leg room is excellent. The 820-1220-litre boot is capacious, too, and has a genius load-bay cover that rolls out from one side to the other, rather than front to back, and once retracted detaches in a package about the size of a compact umbrella rather than the usual 5ft-long lump.

 

Then there are the advantages of it being a straightforward, low hatchback: the Civic is really good to drive. The steering is smooth, accurate and consistently medium-weighted and the ride is great. It rounds the edges from bumps deftly and smoothly, and yet if you lob it over a crest at too high a speed, it settles with barely a ripple of upset. 

Honda civic ehev blue 002

 

The Civic slots into being one of the best to drive in the class just like that. Like recent drives in a Kia Ceed and a Citroën C5 X, it's a reminder that a simply proportioned car retains lots of appeal, in terms of chassis dynamics and also economy. A car with a big frontal area wouldn’t return such low fuel consumption. 

 

To top it all off, it even has a rear wiper. Honda spoils us.

PRICES & SPECS

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Join the debate

Comments
21
Add a comment…
cdraustralia 20 August 2022

Hi! I’m Andrew Robert, a CDR consultant at CDRAustralia.Org. It was nice to read your blog. If someone searching for Engineering New Zealand Assessment writing services then contact our website. We are available round-the-clock to assist you with the best and most effective KA02 For New Zealand Immigration services. So, you can ensure your successful KA02 Assessment by having our services. Visit us for more.

 

 
jason_recliner 19 August 2022

Looks brilliant inside and out. Apparently drives great. It's a Japanese (not Thai) Honda so you know it will be beautifully engineered. What's not to like?

Boris9119 18 August 2022

Here is the USA the 2022 Civic starts at equivalent of 18k sterling, I purchsed one for my son last September. Great car as an urban runabout, hard to fault,  especially at the price. As for engines, we don't get the version tested here which is a shame. If you are in the market for this type of vehicle then be sure to drive one. They are also reliable, this is the sixth Honda we have bought, out of all of them over 15yrs only thing we have had to do is replace two batterys outside of warranty.

artill 19 August 2022
Boris9119 wrote:

Here is the USA the 2022 Civic starts at equivalent of 18k sterling, I purchsed one for my son last September. Great car as an urban runabout, hard to fault,  especially at the price. As for engines, we don't get the version tested here which is a shame. If you are in the market for this type of vehicle then be sure to drive one. They are also reliable, this is the sixth Honda we have bought, out of all of them over 15yrs only thing we have had to do is replace two batterys outside of warranty.

£18k is quite a lot less than £30k. Makes the hybrid system look quite expensive. You cant buy a Jazz here for £18K