Review: Honda Civic (2006 – 2011)
Practical and comfortable cabin, huge amounts in interior space, great 2.2 i-CTDi diesel engine, well built and reliable, enjoyable to drive.
Original 1.4-litre i-DSI engine was disappointing but 1.4 i-VTEC from 2009 is much better, i-CTDi diesel dropped from 2011, rear visibility hampered by window spoiler.
Honda Civic (2006 – 2011): At A Glance
It's not a surprise to discover that Honda started with a blank piece of paper when it designed this Honda Civic. It's poles apart from its drab predecessor and makes other hatchbacks look positively ordinary. The Honda Civic is a model that has redefined the idea of car design, both inside and out - nothing else on the road looks quite like it.
The previous Honda Civic was a very capable car but suffered from an image problem. But this newer model is as East of Eastbourne as you can get. Its radical shape isn't merely form over function though, it helps aerodynamics and means there's masses of room inside, including a huge boot that puts other hatchbacks to shame.
It's also great to drive with sharp steering and little body roll in corners while the cabin is as futuristic as the outside with a unique appearance and layout which is not only stylish, but very easy to get on with. There are downsides, such as the awkward rear visibility due to the split rear windscreen. Then there's the small engine line-up with a choice of only three units.
However, one of these is the superb 2.2 i-CDTi diesel - one of the most refined and punchy diesels available which is ideal for long distance travel. Only the early 1.4 i-DSI is best avoided as it feels underpowered. Another good reason to consider the Civic is its excellent reliability and build quality, while Honda dealers tend to be some of the best in the business when it comes to customer satisfaction.
What does a Honda Civic (2006 – 2011) cost?
Honda Civic (2006 – 2011): What's It Like Inside?
The distinctive design from the outside, makes its way into the superb cabin. Thanks to the 'Dual Link Concept', all the controls, including the high placed gear lever, are within easy reach of the steering wheel. The funky 3D dash with it’s concave perspex cover and the digital speedo both give a futuristic feel while the steering wheel is great to hold. Minor gripes include the drivers seat being slightly too high while rear visibility is severely hampered by the mid-level tailgate spoiler, but overall it’s a stylish and well thought out interior.
The blue-lit digital dash stands out as does the sculpted steering wheel and clever control lay out. But some drivers may find that the digital speedo is obscured by the steering wheel which is frustrating as it's the only way of knowing the speed - there's no traditional analogue speedo. The thick a-pillars make pulling out at junctions tricky too.
It’s practical though. The rear seats cleverly fold flat and access is easy thanks to wide opening doors. The large C-pillars do make you feel hemmed in though and headroom is a little tight for taller passengers but on the plus side the Civic offers bags of legroom. Meanwhile the boot is enormous and very practical, thanks in part to the extra underfloor storage. However, there's no spare wheel, just a can of foam sealant.
Thanks to its clever rear seat system the Civic is the a very practical choice. As with the Jazz, the fuel tank sits under the front chairs, so not only is the rear very spacious, there is extra storage under the seats. Cleverly the chairs also fold flat in one go, or alternatively the bases can be lifted up. As for passenger space, the Civic boasts plenty of legroom in the back, even for six-footers,
Child seats that fit a Honda Civic (2006 – 2011)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Honda Civic (2006 – 2011) like to drive?
There are three different chain-cam engines and two different transmissions, all of them new to the Civic. The least powerful is the 1.4i DSI from the Jazz but with 83bhp it feels very lacklustre in the Civic, especially compared to the 1.8-litre i-VTEC with 140bhp.
And there are certainly no complaints about the excellent i-VTEC engine. It may not be the most powerful petrol engine at this level, but the fact remains that it’s a real gem. Free revving and urgent it’s also refined so when pushed hard it never becomes coarse.
However, the 2.2-litre i-CDTi engine is really the pick of the bunch and - in fact - one of the best diesel engines around. The all aluminium unit is quieter and more refined than most other diesels and the power delivery is smooth with very little turbo lag yet it still has a free-revving nature. This makes it relaxing to drive in traffic and very hushed on the motorway with great pulling power in-gear thanks to 340Nm of torque,
It's just as good when it comes to handling. Agile and surefooted it corners with confidence while the precise steering provides good communication. Along twisting roads the Civic is impressive when it comes to body control, although the brakes could do with more bite. It’s not perfect though – true the suspension is supple and on the motorway the ride is impressively composed, but the damping often transmits shocks from pot holes into the cabin.
If you're after an automatic there's the i-Shift automatic available on the petrol engines, but it's a gearbox that's been met with a very mixed response. Upshifts are a lot slower than downshifts and it's best to lift slightly to help the change, but there's no need to increase revs for downshifts because the electronics do that for you. Left in ‘automatic' mode it drives like all these systems do, with sluggish gear changes and panic downchanges if you are clumsy with the accelerator pedal.
In 2009 the 1.4-litre DSi engine was replaced by a vastly better 1.4-litre i-VTEC that produces a much healthier 100bhp and feels far more suited to the Civic.
|1.4 i-DSi||48 mpg||13.0–14.6 s||135–139 g/km|
|1.4 i-DSi i-Shift||50 mpg||15.0 s||132 g/km|
|1.4 i-VTEC||48 mpg||13.0 s||135 g/km|
|1.4 i-VTEC i-Shift||50 mpg||15.0 s||132 g/km|
|1.8 i-VTEC||42–44 mpg||8.9 s||152–156 g/km|
|1.8 i-VTEC Automatic||39–40 mpg||11.0 s||165–169 g/km|
|1.8 i-VTEC i-Shift||44 mpg||10.9 s||152 g/km|
|2.2 i-CTDi||53–55 mpg||8.6–8.7 s||134–140 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Honda Civic (2006 – 2011)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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