The tenth generation of the Honda Civic is a major step forward for the Japanese brand but are they doing enough to keep up with the competition? Over the last few model releases of the Civic, Honda seemed to be lost in the dark with what they were doing with what was once a strong performing model within their range. With the newest model launch of the Civic they seem to have got so much right that they are back on track.

From the outside looking in, the new Civic looks confident with a sporty character to it also. The athletic look begins with the low and wide proportions which reflect an increased footprint. The new Civic is 30mm wider, 130mm longer and 20mm lower than the previous model thus producing a sleeker profile for the new model. These increases are not restricted to the exterior as the interior also benefits from increased space.  You get the feeling that the Civic is starting to grow up.

As you sit into the new Civic you are welcomed by an abundance of space throughout the cabin. The materials that have been used throughout appear to have a long-lasting feel to them. One down side that I cannot overlook however is that the infotainment touchscreen does appear dated when compared with the competition. This may be something that will be addressed by Honda going forward as the rest of the interior appears to be up to date.

The driving position has been lowered by 35mm from the previous model. This creates a more secure feeling area around the driver. The dashboard has also been lowered considerably by 65mm which results in improved forward and downward visibility which has resulted in what Honda claim to be a class leading forward visibility. The cabin does feel spacious and airy as a result of the changes it must be said. In terms of boot space, the Civic offers 478 litres with the rear seats in place. The rear seating can be split / folded 60:40 in order to increase boot capacity up to an impressive 1,267 litres.

The new Civic has been engineered from the ground up on a whole new platform in order to fulfil a promise of agile and rewarding dynamics. With a lightweight build and a low centre of gravity the new Civic brings you back to what we have learned to expect from a Civic. An engaging and energetic drive. The new Civic is available with two petrol engines on the Irish market; the 1.0 litre VTEC Turbo which is the subject of this review and the 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo. My test car was also paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Honda always seem to pull it off when it comes to the Civic that the manual transmission always has that short throw feel to them and this one is no different. Between the energetic 1.0 litre VTEC Turbo engine and the snappy 6 speed manual it is as if the Civic is daring you to drive it hard, to send the rev limiter to the upper end of the scale and see just what it can do. In terms of 1.0 litre engines which there are plenty of available at the moment, the new Civic engine seems to be the most energetic of the bunch and will gladly bounce the rev counter back down as it hits 6,500 rpm. This 1.0 litre engine will churn out 129 hp and 200 Nm of torque on demand.

On the road, the new Civic handles brilliantly. Given the engineering that has been put into the chassis it shows straight away. The steering is light, direct and accurate and allows you to push the Civic on that little bit further all the while still keeping you where you should be. With the inclusion of the adaptive damper control it ensured that the suspension was always at the ready when a stiffer response was required. I have to say that the new Civic proved to be one of the most entertaining, energetic and engaging drives I have had in a car in quite some time. It doesn’t throw you around to a point where you get dizzy, it doesn’t roar at you until you go deaf, it simply reminds you that driving is fun.

Also, worth noting is that all new Civics’ come with Honda Sensing safety package as standard. This package includes collision mitigation barking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist system along with lane departure warning, road departure mitigation which uses subtle steering corrections to keep you in your lane and will also apply the brakes if required, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. Honda should be commended for the inclusion of such a vast list of standard safety equipment.

There are four trim levels available with the 1.0 litre VTEC Turbo, Smart, Smart Plus, Premium and Premium Plus. The premium trim which is the finish of this test car includes the addition of reversing camera, blind spot warning system, leather interior, heated front and rear seats, sun-roof, keyless entry and start, Dual zone climate control, rear privacy glass as well as leather steering wheel and gear knob and alloy pedals.

Pricing on the new Honda Civic starts from €23,750 which is relatively close to some of its rivals. What sets the Civic apart from the rest is the fact that yo0u get more equipment as standard with it and even its small 1.0 litre engine is more powerful and advances that those offered by its competition.

Technical Specification

Engine Size – 1.0 VTEC Turbo

Fuel Type – Petrol

Power – 129 hp

Torque –  200 Nm

Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 11.2 seconds

Top Speed – 203 km/hour

Consumption (Combined) – 4.8 litres/ 100 kilometres

CO2 emissions – 110g / km

Road Tax – €200

Starting Price – € 23,750  Model Tested – € 30,150