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Facelifted Honda Civic such good Sport

17:41 02 July 2015

Honda

Honda's facelifted Civic range gains a new Sport version which lives up to the promise in the way it looks and drives.

Honda

Honda has revised its Civic range and the new Sport model is even more eye-catching. Motoring editor Andy Russell says the drive lives up to the looks.

A long journey is a good shakedown to show a good car’s qualities or a bad shake-up for the driver to highlight any faults. You learn a lot driving a car for a long distance and that’s what I did with the Honda Civic Sport, the latest version which joins the facelifted range.

Style statement

The Civic hatchback and Tourer estate get a more sporty front end with revised bumper and headlamps with daytime running lights while the hatch also benefits from a new back bumper, side skirts, rear spoiler and LED rear light clusters.

Honda Civic

Price: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Sport hatchback from £20,820 (range £15,975 to £25,335)

Engine: 1,597cc, 120PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 10.5 seconds; top speed 128mph

MPG: Urban 68.9; extra urban 80.7; combined 76.3

CO2 emissions: 98g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 17%

Insurance group: 15E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 90,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,370mm; width (including door mirrors) 2,065mm; height 1,470mm

The Sport version looks the business with black back bumper diffuser, 17in sports alloy wheels and a front bumper with low mesh grille picking up on the new high-performance Type R.

Under the bonnet

It’s a choice of 142PS 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol or 120PS 1.6-litre i-DTEC turbo diesel engines.

The turbo diesel, mated to a precise six-speed manual gearbox, is a cracker with gutsy low-down pull and strong mid-range punchy performance which saves having to work it hard when it gets gruff. What makes it even more attractive is sub 100g/km CO2 and, even with some hard driving, I was getting around 60mpg overall, and low 70s with a light foot.

How it drives

If those sporty looks whet the appetite to drive the Civic, you won’t be disappointed when you do.

With good feel and feedback from the steering and a well-sorted chassis it’s entertaining on twisty roads, cornering flatly with plenty of grip.

The ride is also pretty good, even with 17in wheels with lower profile tyres, and generally supple and capable of soaking up bumps and lumps. It’s a little firmer than some rivals and things can get fidgety on poor roads at speed but not unpleasantly so.

At the wheel

The tiered, wrapround fascia with the dominant rev counter behind the wheel and the digital speedo and warning lights set higher and further back will divide opinion. It feels more like a cockpit than a dashboard but is user-friendly. That can’t be said of some information menus which take practice to.

The driving position has a good range of adjustment and well-bolstered sports front seats nip and tuck in all the right places but a traditional handbrake, rather than an electronic parking brake, looks out of place in the hi-tech cockpit.

Space and accommodation

This is a big selling point for the Civic and I mean big - even for the hatchback. Given its distinctive slippery body styling, you could be excused for thinking it might not measure up inside when it comes to space but you’d be wrong.

With average-sized adults up front there’s abundant legroom in the back and adequate headroom but take care not to catch your head on the sloping roofline when getting out.

The hatch also has a class-leading 477-litre deep, boxy boot with an underfloor storage compartment big enough to take a couple of small cases.

Honda’s Magic Seats which live up to their name. The 60/40 split rear seat cushions move forward and drop when the backs are released to create a flat load floor but the clever bit is cinema-style seat cushions that also flip upright to create a tall, wide cabin load space. With the seat cushions down you can also store small items beneath them.

If you need even more carrying capacity the Tourer version also leads the way in the segment with its 624-litre boot.

The interior has a quality look and feel and benefits from upgraded materials and more equipment as part of the facelift.

Final say

The Honda Civic’s eye-catching looks are a big attraction to the right person and the facelift has made them even sharper. Add in Honda’s reliability and technology, more equipment and up to £1,620 off the price of the new range compared to equivalent spec outgoing models and the Civic poses a serious challenge in this highly-competitive sector. It’s not just the Civic’s styling you can’t ignore.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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