Final Report - 24th January 2018
My time with the Civic is at an end, and I’m going to miss this little gem.
Sure, it’s not perfect – the forward collision warning system’s a little too sensitive, there’s an annoying touch sensitive volume control, and the infotainment system isn’t the most intuitive. Then, of course, there’s just the single cup holder!
But look beyond the niggles and this car ticks a lot of boxes for fleet managers and company car drivers alike. Sporty and angular looks, a frugal yet punchy 1.0-litre petrol engine that averaged almost 45mpg in our care, a smooth six-speed manual gearbox and a comfortable drive that’s also plenty dynamic enough to enjoy twisting B-roads. There’s also reasonable cabin stowage, tactile plastics, and gadgets galore, including touch-screen display with satnav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, and DAB.
And when you need to load up the car, there’s that cavernous boot – almost 100 litres ahead of its closest rival, and rivalled only by the Skoda Octavia.
Plus, the likes of collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, rear parking camera and traffic sign recognition systems all ensure the Civic puts a tick in the duty of care box.
So, what’s not to like? Not a lot in my opinion, and I for one would be delighted if the Civic was on my company car list.
UPDATE - 29th November 2017
Having three children, I’ve fitted my fair share of child seats into plenty of cars over the years, and I can honestly say that few car manufacturers have yet nailed what should be simple process – even with the universal Isofix mounting.
Most of us buy generic child seats that can be moved between vehicles, often resulting in a not-necessarily-so-snug fit, and hampering the click-in/click-out of the seat buckle.
Well, I’m sorry to say that the process isn’t any easier in the Civic.
For a start, that swooping roofline hampers you when you’re trying to get a larger seat into the rear of the car and, once in, you’ll have loads of fun getting the seat belt secured into the buckle.
Fifth Report - 15th November 2017
My driving pattern pretty much sits in the realms of the traditional company car driver profile; some longer-distance higher-speed motorway driving (meetings, holidays etc), coupled with some shorter about-town driving.
I decided to try an experiment over the quieter late summer period, doing 1,500 miles of predominantly urban driving, focusing on the shorter journeys most often associated with office commutes, the weekly shop, dropping off and collecting kids from the usual plethora of school runs and kid’s activities. I also threw in a couple of runs up to the Norfolk coast.
The results? Imagine my surprise to find that the average over this period was still a cracking 42.7mpg, with the worst tank of fuel still being sipped at a reasonable 40.9mpg. And don’t forget that’s all from a 1.0-litre petrol engine!
UPDATE - 18th September 2017
Its been said on occasion that I am a tad competitive. So, when I discovered something called ecoChallenge within the navigation set-up, my interest was piqued.
Drawn in by the shiny gold trophy icon, further interrogation showed this to be a tool for analysing your driving style. It provides a real-time score rated out of 100 with red, amber and green colour coding, there’s also a separate score based on your braking profile and overall driving style together with a graph showing real-time peaks and troughs.
I’ve really noticed a change in my driving style as I endeavour to get all numbers from red to amber and into green – which has to be good for both my pocket and the environment.
Fourth Report - 4th October 2017
I like to think I’m reasonably tech savvy. Not at the cutting edge of the gadget revolution, but conversant with today’s smartphone, tablets etc. So why am I struggling with the infotainment system in the Civic?
The interface of Civic’s touchscreen system could and should be more intuitive. Don’t get me wrong, when you’ve eventually figured out how things work – and I’m still struggling with some bits, such as the app downloads – they do the job OK, but working it out takes time.
Trip computers, settings, colour schemes, wallpapers, Bluetooth, DAB radio (this took some getting used to) – all of these do what they should do, but without ever shouting wow at me. The touch-slide for the volume is especially annoying. Volume’s too low, then it’s too high – bring back the volume knob!
The satnav is quick to find destinations and I really like the fact that on approaching your destination town, a ‘parking’ bar appears on the screen. However, voice guidance on this trim is provided through the driver’s-side speaker only, so you’ll have to get the balance on guidance volume just right to clearly hear it.
UPDATE - 6th September 2017
To date I’ve been pretty complimentary about the Civic, but there are a couple of things that do irritate me.
First, and slightly more grating for passengers in a car as well-appointed as the Civic, why has Honda not seen fit to add a second cup-holder? With the push towards car-sharing, a second cup-holder must surely be mandatory for those enlivening morning coffees!
Secondly, the 12v socket, HDMI and USB ports are located underneath the central part of the dashboard. However, they’re awkward to get to and the cables look unsightly. It would have been handier if they could have been located in the central armrest cubby.
Third Report - 23rd August 2017
A recent camping weekend saw the first real test for the Honda Civic as a full-blown family car, and a chance to see how it copes with a traditional British pastime.
The Civic has great luggage space, second in class only to the Skoda Octavia’s. The underfloor storage space in the Civic’s boot came in rather handy for the smaller items – blow-up beds, camping lanterns and the like, meaning more space in the main boot to stash the essentials – tent, duvets, luggage, food. Squeezing everything in for our weekend under the stars was somewhat easier than it would have been in most of the rivals.
So, it was time to see how the Civic’s 129hp 1.0-litre powertrain would manage with two adults, 3 children and a boot full to the brim. I wasn’t disappointed. The turbo petrol engine coped with ease, pulling away quickly at junctions and roundabouts, cruising comfortably on the motorway and coping adequately with driving across lumpy fields to our pitch for the weekend.
And if that hadn’t impressed enough, the Civic drew a number of admiring comments from fellow campers. It’s an angular, striking car – and I like it.
Update - 26th July 2017
Driving the new petrol-engined Civic has, so far, been a rather pleasant experience compared with the normal diesel company car gig.
Admittedly, I was somewhat sceptical at the thought of a three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine being up to the task in a medium-segment car but, while not as torquey as its bigger-engined diesel peers, it feels like it lacks no turn-of-speed.
The six-speed manual has a solid shift with a short throw, making another change from higher-powered autos I’ve been driving recently.
Second Report - 12th July 2017
I remain unconvinced about the slightly strange load cover in the Civic’s boot, which you draw across from one side to the other, but it is handy when it comes to abnormal loads.
Normally, I’d have to take out the parcel shelf and leave it at home when trying to fit the kids’ bikes into the boot of a car, but the retracting ‘blind’ arrangement tucks it away out of sight.
I’m also enjoying the cavernous 467-litre load space that’s acres bigger than most rivals’. Bunging in increasing size of bikes, as the offspring continue their relentless growth, isn’t too much of a challenge at all.
This usefulness does help earn back some points lost by not having a regular rear shelf. The pull-across cover is no use for laying lighter or smaller items, such as freshly ironed outfits. More importantly, if there’s a full boot, prying eyes can tell because larger items will visibly poke up against the cover, which isn’t ideal. One other minor gripe is that it doesn’t always fully retract into its holder, dangling down limply.
Update - 14th June 2017
The new Civic has a number of strengths, but the huge boot is one of the less glamorous but most useful.
It’s also a slightly odd one because the boot space changes by a huge 58 litres depending on whether the car is the 1.0-litre (478 litres) or the 1.5-litre engine (420 litres), thanks to the way the exhaust pipes differ between the two. But our car is second only to Skoda’s Octavia for luggage space.
First report - 31st May 2017
Honda has had a bit of a rocky ride in the company car market in recent times, missing product in crucial sectors and not always being truly competitive in others.
But the new Civic is, hopes the Japanese brand, the car to put it back on fleet radars. The company has pledged that its new car is more sporty, better to drive and stacked with safety equipment. Early indications imply those claims are in the right ballpark, and we’ll explore them as the miles rack up.
It’s also big – the 478-litre boot is huge for the sector, beaten only by Skoda’s Octavia.
Standard kit is good. We’ve gone for a SR trim, the middle of three and decent value at just over £20,000. The £2,860 jump to the top EX trim brings some lovely goodies such as heated leather front seats, keyless entry, blindspot monitor and sunroof, but it’s a lot of money, and making do with a car that gets dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, satnav, Apple Carplay and Android Auto and a rear parking camera isn’t exactly slumming it. Which is why we haven’t specced a single option, including going for the solid Rallye Red colour.
The obvious engine choice was the 1.0-litre 129hp petrol, rather than the performance-orientated 182hp 1.5. Oh yes, that’s the other thing. Until the end of this year, the Civic is petrol-only. Very topical, and another interesting angle to pursue over the coming months.