This is not going to go down well with everyone but I am putting it out there anyway.
It is time to give Civic a new name.
It might have suited the family hatchback of the nineties but look at it, this is a mean machine with a feeble name. Call it something that packs a punch.
There, I’ve said it, now let’s back to the usual stuff.
Hard to believe Civic is 51 years old and this is the 11th generation. Thinking about it a good time to switch names would have been 2006 when Honda shocked the motoring world with a bold new look, the Civic with the Knight Rider headlights and space age dashboard.
The design of the new model is bang on the money but the main emphasis has changed from racey looks to hybrid engine efficiency, high end technology and more safety aids.
The new infotainment system, complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, is easier to use with sharper graphics, while the Garmin navigation, a bit of a pain on the old model, is now clearer and more detailed.
The real tech fest centres around the driver’s binnacle, now fully digital with a ‘pick a display’ feature. I usually switch off the lane departure alert but left it on because of the new graphics.
They amount to a tiny car sitting between two lines denoting a lane. Move outside the lane and the lines turn from green to orange as a visual warning. But the best bit is a graphic showing a car or lorry overtaking. Little things obviously please my little mind…
Tweaks to Civic’s body styling are best seen from the side. The roofline has been lowered and has a longer coupe style curve to the tailgate which is a new resin construction saving weight.
All this suggests a cramped, dark cabin, particularly in the back, yet it is anything but with generous legroom and plenty of light thanks to more glass. The lower roof is said not to affect headroom but that depends on the height of the passengers. My son is just under six feet and his head was brushing the headlining.
The roomy cabin extends to the boot, only bettered by the Skoda Octavia, so all in all Civic is a good alternative to an SUV.
Up front is classy without being overcomplicated, the standout feature a slim honeycomb grille hiding the ventilation outlets with mini joy sticks to direct the air. The textures and finishes have a quality feel and the centre console and door cards are coated in a scratch and fingerprint resistant finish. Could do with some of that on my car.
Main functions, apart from chunky switches for heating, are stored in a central nine inch touchscreen.
Civic is now hybrid only with a 2-litre petrol engine supported by two electric motors providing short stints on electric only driving at low speeds and occasionally when cruising. This should be good for an average in the mid fifties although I managed an impressive 60mpg on a 340 mile round trip. The only car to better that in the last few months is Civic’s big rival, the Toyota Corolla.
Performance is pacey with the best mid range pick up of any car in its class. Select sport mode and you will get a fake computer generated exhaust rap which some would say is silly, but brought a smile to my face and made me use it again….and again.
Matching the performance is cracking handling, well this is a watered down version of the magnificent Civic Type R so we should expect little else. Steering is nicely weighted and precise, it keeps flat through bends and the suspension, overly hard on previous Civics, is now perfectly damped making for a comfortable yet sporty ride.
The only negative note is more road rumble than expected, but that could be down to the rubber on the 18 inch low profile wheels. Things are probably a touch quieter on the entry model’s 17 inch rims.
Is this the best Civic to date? Undoubtedly yes, not the cheapest hatchback in its class, but given the generous equipment level across the range, safety features and efficiency, it is worth the money.
As for the Civic name, remember that when Honda decides to change it they got the idea from Welsh Icons!
Is that a pig flying over the Clwydian Range…
Civic e-HEV Advance
£36,470 (starts £31,040)
2-litre petrol, 184bhp
0-62mph 8.1secs; 112mph
114g/km. 1st tax £185
Boot: 404-1187 litres
Insurance group 28