First Drive

First Drive: Honda Civic Saloon

The story:
Honda says it has completed the Civic family with the launch of the saloon, which joins the five-door hatch that launched in 2017
Category:Lower Medium
Key rival:Mazda 3
Honda Civic4dr 1.6i-DTEC SR manual
Price:£22,595
MPG:83.1mpg
Emissions:91g/km
On sale:Now

 

Honda says it has completed the Civic family with the launch of the saloon, which joins the five-door hatch that launched in 2017

The firm has gone against the trend of other brands and added a saloon version of the lower-medium Civic to its UK line-up. Rivals such as the Ford Focus have at various points in the past been offered with a saloon variant, but now the Mazda 3 Fastback is the only obvious rival, although Honda claims there is demand from customers that would have in the past bought an Accord when the Japanese brand had that larger model in its line-up.

The four-door gets the 126hp 1.0-litre petrol and 120hp 1.6 diesel engines also offered in the hatch, both with manual or automatic transmissions, although the
CVT auto is best avoided.

First Drive- March 2019 - Honda Civic - Image 5Despite being long and sleek, the four-door isn’t as striking as the hatchback, and despite costing £500 more than the hatch, feels like a cheaper option; there are frustrating giveaways such as only being able to open the boot using the keyfob or the cabin lever – there’s no button on the boot itself, which is a bit of an oversight to say the least. There’s also no handle on the boot lining to pull it shut, but the space itself is up 41 litres on the already huge 478 of the hatch.

The cabin is the same as the five-door, which means decent quality and plenty
of space, but an infotainment system that is a little clunkier than rivals’.

There are pros and cons to the running costs equation of picking the saloon. For
a start, it’s a slightly more efficient shape, and emits 2g/km less than the diesel hatch’s 93g/km, which makes no tax difference. The saloon is an official 2.4mpg better, which makes a slight difference to fuel bills over three years, but that’s more than outweighed by the fact that, despite costing more, the saloon has a worse residual value than the five-door – on the mid-spec SR driven here, its 31.0% versus a hatchback’s 33.4% after three years and 60,000 miles.

Slightly surprisingly, the saloon is also four insurance groups higher than its sister car and has a higher SMR cost, all of which makes for a big 2.9p-per-mile difference in favour of the excellent hatchback.

The Civic is our reigning CCT100 Lower Medium Car of the Year, but the saloon just doesn’t make sense compared with the hatch, and it’s unsurprising that Honda expects well under 10% of Civic sales to be the four-door rather than five.

Paul Barker

The verdict

You’ll need a real preference for saloons to take the Civic four-door over the excellent, better looking and more cost-effective hatchback.