|Honda has enacted a mild update to the CCT100 Award-winning Civic, which also brings a sportier new range-topping trim level called EX Sportline|
|Key rival:||Mazda 3|
|HONDA CIVIC 1.0 VTEC TURBO EX SPORTLINE|
The Civic has been our favourite lower medium hatch for the past three years now, but that hasn’t stopped Honda from responding to customer feedback and improving the spacious five-door.
On the outside, the regular models get revised LED headlights, a new upper grille design and lower grille section plus a new cut of 17-inch alloy wheel, while mild tweaks to the cabin include a new volume knob for the audio system, rather than the irritating touchscreen slider of the previous car.
The only other change is the most obvious one, with a new EX Sportline model added at the very top of the range. Described as an homage to the Type-S model that used to sit below the bonkers Type-R at the top of the range, the EX Sportline gets front and side skirts, gloss black alloys, a rear spoiler and diffuser to make it stand out significantly from the rest of the range, as well as a new seat trim and pattern. It costs £1000 more than the previous range-topping EX model and is an appealing addition for drivers swayed by cosmetic upgrades.
The EX Sportline comes with the useful 1.0-litre 126hp engine, available with a manual or CVT automatic gearbox, the latter best avoided to be honest because it’s £1400 more expensive, less fuel efficient and has a rather noisy and sluggish feel to it. However, it is one BiK tax band lower thanks to a 3g/km CO2 advantage, but that’s really not enough to swing it against what is a much better manual transmission.
The styling adornments look good, although the faux-Type R blanked panels in the larger front bumper look a little cheap close-up and the rear spoiler blocks even more rear visibility than the bar across the rear window already did.
Pressing the standard-fit Sport button takes a car that was already fairly firm-riding and turns it into a bone-shaker, so it should only be pressed on velvet-covered roads. We wouldn’t be surprised if most drivers wisely leave it well alone.
Otherwise, the Civic maintains its position as a spacious, well-equipped efficient and practical hatch. The facelift is the mildest of mild, but the car didn’t need much by way of cosmetic surgery – even three years after launch it still looks sleek, fresh and well-proportioned.