1L SR VTEC Turbo
The Civic is a car with loads of character, lots of practical space and an amazing reputation for reliability. It’s also great to drive around town and very comfortable on long journeys.
Honda’s Magic Seat system adds to a good level of standard equipment, such as active cruise control, while engines range from a frugal diesel to the sporting cult status Type-R hatchback.
The current generation launched in 2017. It not only looks good and has strong road presence, but it also has a more premium feel and is available in both hatchback and saloon body styles.
The interior is unique with its futuristic digital dashboard. Three traditional circular dials sit inside the main dial and there’s a digital speedometer across the top of the dashboard. It’s all very space-age, although you have to watch that the steering wheel doesn’t obstruct your view of the digital speedometer.
The materials are generally high-quality but there are a few hard plastics and the controls are all well designed and placed. There's also a decent infotainment system complete with navigation.
Space is generous front and back, while Honda’s Magic Seat system has a simple lever to adjust them for more passenger room or additional luggage. Boot space is impressive at 401 litres with another 76 litres beneath the floor, which means you’ll have space for a number of suitcases. There’s a Tourer estate version if you need an even bigger boot.
As sporty as it looks, the Civic is more about comfort than tackling twisty bends unless you go for the Sport or Type-R versions. The driving position and seats are comfortable and feel relaxed. Visibility through the back window is hindered by the spoiler directly in your rear view, although this slightly improved on the latest generation.
The Civic’s manual gearboxes are great and the automatics make life easier if your everyday trips tend to have lots of traffic. The petrol engines are the ideal choice unless you do high mileage (more than 12,000 miles a year). The 2.2-litre diesel engine, which featured in the pre-2017 generation, was replaced by a more efficient 1.6-litre engine. The previous 1.4-litre petrol engine and the current 1.0-litre turbo have a good balance of power and efficiency, so will suit most people.
The suspension does a great job of handling bumps in the road and on the motorway, so you can just engage cruise control and stay relaxed all the way to your destination.
Previous generation Civics have depreciated which means you should be able to find your ideal model at a good price. Tourers can be difficult to find and you’ll pay slightly more for them than you would for a Type-R. The latest generation hasn't depreciated as much as the previous generation but you’ll still get good value for money.
Running costs are excellent with the 1.6-litre diesel providing up to 78 mpg and all models have an Eco mode which tells you when you’re driving most economically. The 1.0-litre in the latest generation is a great balance of power and economy. With the exception of the Type-R, road tax and insurance costs are all low even compared with some major rivals.
Honda has an almost unparalleled reputation for reliability and the Civic is no exception.
Safety is also a strong point for the Civic. Even the previous generation has autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control on top of all the essential safety equipment you’d expect from Honda.
Best for economy - 1.6 i-DTEC
Best for family - 1.0 Turbo
Best for fun - Type-R
With excellent used prices around for the Civic, it’s certainly worth looking for the highest specification you can. Check out the EX Plus which has sat nav and decent Bluetooth connectivity.
If you’re looking at the latest generation, there are lots of 1.0-litre versions around which are very capable. Honda’s CVT automatic gearbox is very popular and makes life easier when you’re stuck in traffic.