New Honda Civic revealed. Honda gives ninth-generation family model bolder, evolutionary look and promises car is better to drive than ever.
Cheaper to run, more comfortable and better to drive – that’s the new Honda Civic. The compact family car has been thoroughly overhauled in order to keep pace with the all-new top-value rivals.
The ninth-generation Civic is slightly longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces, with the same space inside. Yet there’s no huge visual leap.
“We had a very positive reaction to the current car, so we’ve enhanced and improved aerodynamics to boost economy and reduce CO2,” explained Takehiko Masuda, assistant large project leader – body design.
Styling changes include a prominent nose with LED running lamps and new plastic trim, more dramatically curved arches, and a rear LED light bar which doubles as a spoiler. This has been moved down 20mm to improve visibility out of the split back screen, while there’s a wiper for the first time.
Input from ex-Honda Formula One aero engineers sees the inclusion of small fillets above the rear arches to improve airflow, an active grille shutter and an enclosed chassis. These make the Civic the most aerodynamic car in its class, with a drag coefficient of only 0.27 – around 10 per cent better than before. As well as reducing wind noise, this has efficiency benefits. Plus, all the engines have stop-start, and are much cleaner and cheaper to run.
The updated 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel has a 10bhp power hike, to 148bhp. Yet it puts out only 110g/km of CO2. That’s down from 135g/km, and means road tax is free for the first year and £20 annually thereafter.
The 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol unit jumps from 138bhp to 140bhp, while emissions have fallen from 157g/km to 138g/km. An entry-level 1.4 petrol will also be available, although there is no plan to offer a hybrid. All engines get six-speed manual boxes, with the option of a five-ratio auto for the 1.8 petrol.
Better-quality materials are the highlight of the overhauled cabin. The dash design will be familiar to existing owners, with a separate digital speedo and ‘driver information zone’.
Standard spec will include driver, passenger, curtain and side airbags, plus an ECON button which puts the car in a frugal driving mode. Options include a collision-mitigation system – which brakes the car at low speeds if it senses an accident – plus adaptive cruise control. But Honda’s lane departure warning system has not proven popular with owners, so won’t be offered.
Under the skin, the Civic uses an updated version of the current car’s front-wheel-drive platform. That means the fuel tank is still mounted under the front seats. This combines with the compact torsion beam back suspension to give plenty of rear space, plus a twin-height boot floor. Versatility is boosted further by back seats that flip up cinema-style or fold flat. Honda has done extensive testing on UK roads in a bid to improve ride comfort without sacrificing steering precision.
The front subframe has been changed for a stiffer unit, and the rear suspension gets new fluid-filled bushes to boost refinement.