$20,490 – $35,990
Good: Typical Honda handling and drive dynamics; Fit and finish; Fuel efficient; Rear Legroom
Not so Good: Dated interior; Engine noise; Road roar; Bland exterior design; Over-the-top futuristic dash
Design and Engineering
Good : Hitting our shores in February 2012, the ninth generation Honda Civic sedan is poised to take it to its competitors with improved driving dynamics, better fuel economy and more interior space.
The exterior design of the ninth gen Honda Civic is fairly conservative; the front bumper features sharp lines, a sleek grille and integrated headlights that give the civic a crisp look.
The side profile remains mostly unchanged, the most notable exception is the shoulder line that now runs to the rear of the car and forms part of the tail light.
The most noticeable change appears at the rear of the Civic, the tail lights take on a completely new shape and design. The tail lights are more compact with sharper angles.
The rear bumper and boot also feature a new design with sharper more aerodynamic lines.
Not so good : Some folks might find the design of the Civic a little too conservative. The aerodynamic alloy wheels found on the Civic Hybrid may be functional, but in our opinion they look ugly.
Interior and Styling
Good : The futuristic styling of the Honda Civic is fairly similar to the previous model. The dash features a tiered design; the top section displays vehicle information like trip computer, average fuel consumption, average speed, outside temperature and can also display custom wallpapers that you can load into the system. To the right of the information display is your speedometer that also displays your current fuel level. Just under the top tier is where the conventional rev-tacho lives.
All vehicle displays are clear and easy to view, especially the top display, because it sits high the distance the eyes have to travel from the road to display are kept to a minimal, this is particularly good for safety.
Not so good : Fit and finish is top-notch but it seems Honda hasn’t taken this opportunity to refresh the interior or give it any character; instead the interior looks as though it has been lifted out of a car from the 80’s.
Boot space is rather tight on the Hybrid model.
Good : The Honda Civic range is powered by the choice of three power plants. First up, the Honda Civic VTi-L is powered by a 1.8-litre Inline four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine that produces 104kW of power and 174Nm of torque when matched to a 5-speed manual or 5-speed with Grade Logic Control and paddle shift (option). Next up, the Honda Civic Sport is powered by a 2.0-litre Inline four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine that produces 114kW of power and 190Hm of torque when matched to a 5-speed with Grade Logic Control and paddle shift as standard. Rounding out the model line-up is the Honda Civic Hybrid, powered by a 1.5-litre Inline four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine and a 17kW electric motor, combined they produce 82kW of power and 172Nm of torque when matched to a 5-speed with Grade Logic Control as standard. The Honda Civic Hybrid is our pick of the bunch, the 1.5-litre combined with the electric motor is great and very fuel efficient. The 5-speed with Grade Logic Control transmission is smooth during the daily commute, however it can be little noisy during highway driving.
Not so good : The 1.8-litre found in the VTi-L is very noisy especially when pushed hard, although fuel consumption isn’t too bad.
Ride and Handling
Good : The entire Civic range feature superb handling dynamics, and steers and brakes well with consistent feeling. You feel confident driving the Honda Civic with a little enthusiasm on twisting country roads. To put it simply, the Civic is a comfortable, safe handling small car.
Not so good : The hybrid model’s small and narrow 15” wheels don’t offer much ‘spirited cornering’ grip and road roar is noticeable.
Buying and Owning
Good : If you want to drive a Hybrid without shouting it to the world, then the Civic Hybrid is the answer. The Hybrid achieves very low fuel economy and emits minimal amounts of nasty carbon dioxide. It’s also priced fairly competitively compared to other hybrids on the market. Honda build quality is definitely up there amongst the best and reliability is also one of Honda strong suits.
Not so good : Hybrid loses its price advantage when compared to a fuel efficient non-hybrid diesel small car.