I spent a week behind the wheel of the all-new Civic saloon to see if it lives up to the “sports sedan” tag Honda give it. I am driving the 1.6 i-DTEC “Smart Plus” Auto.
This model boasts a new 9-speed Auto.
So Has it got street cred?
You bet! I actually prefer the style of this new saloon over its hatchback stablemate. Its long, low and wide stance gives it a purposeful style. Its a less fussy design than the hatch. I really like it.
What is it like inside?
There is a newly designed cabin, and It all feels well put together. The new digital instrumentation is clear and easy to read and the centrally mounted multifunction Honda Connect 7” touchscreen works well.
I was disappointed to see a few areas such as the rear door panels where hard touch plastics are still in use letting down the interior feel a bit.
The cloth seats also don’t feel as high quality as I would expect and easily show marks from where you touch them regularly such as door pulls. Otherwise though it is all good quality inside.
The list of standard equipment is too numerous to include here and varies from base to top model, however the big news is the inclusion of Honda’s Safety sensing across the range.
This technology includes, Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep assist, Land Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Intelligent Speed Limiter, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign recognition.
Honda deserve great praise for including these superb preventative safety measures as standard.
Of course the new Civic boasts, bluetooth, remote locking, Auto lights and wipers and so on too.
Accomadation is simply excellent with a big roomy cabin and decent boot.
So what’s under the bonnet?
There are two engine options, a 1.0 litre VTEC petrol and this one the 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel. Producing 120PS and transmitting power to the front wheels via a 9-speed auto I found performance to be good, its a quiet and refined diesel power plant and its frugal too burning just 6.1 litres of diesel over very mixed real world driving conditions. Road tax is just €190.00 for the year.
Interestingly the usual gear shift lever is now replaced by some simple buttons for Reverse, Neutral, Drive/Sport and Park. It does clear up the centre console and I soon adapted to it very easily. Should you want to change gear manually you can via the paddle shifts.
Will I enjoy driving it?
The new Civic saloon is somewhat surprisingly quite different in character to the hatch. It is more rewarding to drive and offers a more involving driving character without compromising on comfort.
The Civic saloon handles beautifully in all conditions, the steering is nicely weighted and the ride is excellent.
The 9-speed auto does however take away quite a lot of the involvement in driving. Its a lazy gear change and even in Sport mode its frankly a sluggish gearbox never downshifting quickly enough when cornering or slowing down.
So What is the Verdict?
This new Civic saloon is a very well engineered car and it shows, with only the lazy auto and some questionable interior plastics letting it down a bit. However I like the style, the list of equipment is very good throughout the range, and it does drive well.
Priced from €31,335 the new Auto is worth a closer look!