The Honda Civic has been around since 1972 and it has gone through phases of being massively popular and not so popular here in Ireland. However, regardless of the popularity of this car, the brand is well known for its excellent reliability and well-built cars. The Civic itself has historically gone from being an exciting car to a rather forgetful car. The latest version of the Honda Civic is sure to stand out from recent generations. It comes to the Irish market with a newly sculpted body and some excellent safety equipment.
In terms of performance, there are two engines currently available to our market. We benefit from the 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol and the 1.4-litre petrol engines. We've been told that a new diesel model will make the market towards the end of 2017, but as of yet, it has not arrived. The 1.0-litre 3-cylinder offering is surprisingly good. It offers 130 bhp and drives like there's a larger engine under the hood. Honda tells us that it returns a fuel economy of 4.8 litres per 100km, but we are currently unable to confirm if this is the case in real-world driving situations. The 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engine offers a powerful 180bhp.
On the road, the new Honda Civic feels more agile than before. It now has a lower stance and the length and width dimensions have grown. These new dimensions, coupled with a new front and rear suspension set-up changes the drive of the vehicle significantly in comparison to the outgoing model - for the better. The steering is sharp and direct. The only real negative is when you enter the red rev zone in lower gears, the power seems to cut off once the revs go that high. The cars are available with 6-speed manual transmissions or CVT boxes. We're yet to try the CVT transmission, but while we are sceptical, we have been told by other motor journalists that it is surprisingly good. We'll hold back on voicing an opinion to this until we have driven one.
The 1.0-litre engine can be loud when the foot is down to increase to motorway speeds. However - some people might enjoy these noises. That noise softens once you hit cruising speeds. The car itself does let in road noise while on rougher surfaces.
Honda's reputation for reliability is excellent, and based on that, we would expect that this car will provide reliable driving to customers. These vehicles come excellently specced from the entry level trim. For example, these new Civic cars come with Bluetooth, Parking Sensors and other such goodies. The interior quality is good too, although unless you get the larger touchscreen system, we can imagine that some people will find the interior to be bland.
The last generation of Civic scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP. The cars, according to the manufacturer are safer still and some excellent safety equipment comes with all trims of this vehicle, for example, entry level models get Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Speed Limiter, Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Sign Recognition. CVT models get "Low Speed Following" as standard too.
Leg room to the back is good, but head height is a little annoying, there is a bar in the coupe dip to the rear and we found that our heads were touching off it. The boot offers an excellent-for-its-segment 478 litres.