Review: Honda Civic (2012 – 2017)

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Good ride comfort. High quality feel. Huge loadspace and versatile rear seats. Excellent 1.6 i-DTEC diesel averages a claimed 78.5mpg. All engines chain cam.

Not as much a drivers car as previous Civic.

Honda Civic (2012 – 2017): At A Glance

The 2006 Honda Civic still marks a real revolution in design. In terms of styling - both inside and out - it is unlike anything else on the road and a huge departure from its dull predecessor.

Replacing it was never going to be an easy task for Honda so for this - the ninth generation of the Civic - it's a case of tweaking an already successful formula and addressing the shortcomings of the outgoing car.

So like before it's still a spacious, well built and practical hatchback. It retains the now familiar Civic style too, although in our opinion it's a little fussy and not as neat as the model it replaces. What has improved is quality - the interior now feels more upmarket but is still as well built as before. And as it's a Honda you can expect bomb proof reliability too.

According to Honda there were four main complaints about the old model - the polarising design, compromised rear visibility, ride comfort and interior quality. It's these key areas that it has aimed to improve and overall it has been successful.

There's still a question mark over the rear window design but the ride comfort is mightily impressive. Sadly it does seem to have come at the expense of handling and this Civic isn't as enjoyable to drive as the old one.

On the plus side it is cheaper to run. All the engines are more efficient with the impressive 1.6 i-DTEC the pick of the bunch. It's quiet, responsive yet averages a claimed 78.5mpg and emits less than 100g/km of CO2.

Honda also has some of the best dealers around along with a well earned reputation for reliability. In 2011 the brand topped a survey by Warranty Direct to find the UK's most reliable manufacturer - for the sixth year in a row. The brand was also rated second in the JD Power survey in 2009, 2010 and 2011, behind only Lexus.

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What does a Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) cost?

List Price from £19,865
Buy new from £16,587
Contract hire from £168.42 per month

Honda Civic (2012 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4300–4370 mm
Width 1770–2065 mm
Height 1470–1590 mm
Wheelbase 2595 mm

Full specifications

From the minute you get into the Civic, it's clear Honda has worked hard to make this a quality car. Not that there was ever a question mark about the finish in the previous model, but there have been notable improvements throughout.

Where some of the plastics in the outgoing car were a little hard, all the surfaces are now soft to touch, giving it a very upmarket feel. There are plenty of small details that will be appreciated by drivers too, such as the padding on the door handle where you rest your elbow. Overall, it feels like a premium car.

The interior layout has changed but we're not convinced all the 'improvements' are for the best. Many of the features that made the old Civic stand out have gone - such as the perspex covered 3D-style instruments which have been replaced by three conventional dials.

The neat air conditioning controls that used to be close to the steering wheel have disappeared too, instead there are now standard buttons down in front of the gear lever. We think it's a step backwards.

On the plus side, it does seem more focussed toward the driver with a sweeping line that runs from the door handle across the top of the dash and down to the central console. One gripe is that taller drivers will find their knee bashing against this bit of plastic on the door, especially if you're a bit keen in corners. The seats are impressive though with plenty of support so that on long journeys you won't suffer from backache.

The neat engine start button is still in place and Honda has stuck with the digital speedo in a housing above the rest of the dash. Unfortunately, as before, some drivers will find it difficult to see because the steering wheel can obscure it. The screen alongside it has been improved though and looks more modern with useful information from the trip computer.

This Civic is hugely spacious in the front but even more so in the back. There's great legroom, plenty of headroom and even with three in the back it's comfortable enough. Like the old Civic, this model has a large boot - one of the biggest of any hatchback in fact - with 401 litres of space and a further 76 litres in the useful underfloor storage area.

It also retains the 'Magic Seats' which are the most versatile rear seats of pretty much any car around. They cleverly fold down - with the seat base sliding forward and down - to create a flat load floor and a space which according to Honda can carry three mountain bikes or three large golf bags.

Usefully the seats can be folded down even if the front seats are slid back in their rearmost position. Unlike the majority of other cars, the bases can also be flipped up (against the seat backs) creating a large floor for carrying tall objects. Getting in the back is easier than before too thanks to the redesigned rear doors and a rear pillar that's been moved back by 100mm.

Standard equipment from launch (February 2012):

SE is the entry-level model and comes with climate control, engine stop/start (on manual models), 16-inch alloy wheels, USB port, LED daytime running lights, a rear wiper, electric windows, electric mirrors, hill start assist, an alarm and the I-MID information display.

ES models add Bluetooth, cruise control, dual zone climate control, a rear parking camera, front fog lights, automatic lights, rain sensitive windscreen wipers, a leather steering wheel, leather gear lever (on manual models only) rear armrest, auto up/down electric rear windows, ambient lighting and alloy pedals.

EX trim has leather upholstery, heated front seats, a premium audio system plus HDD sat nav.

EX GT is the top model and gets a panoramic glass sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, smart entry and start, 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights with high beam assist, driver and passenger seat power lumbar support, plus an auto dimming rearview mirror. As an option there is adaptive cruise control (ACC) along with Honda's Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) which costs an extra £1900.

T Grade package is available on SE and ES models from March 2012 and adds Bluetooth plus an integrated sat nav with full European mapping and a touchscreen display It costs an extra £995.

Standard equipment from facelift (February 2015)

S grade features 16-inch alloy wheels, headlight auto on/off, LED daytime running lights, USB/AUX Jack (iPod compatible), one touch magic seats, power windows and heated power mirrors, alarm, immobiliser, deflation warning system, hill start assist and vehicle stability assist. In addition the all-new Honda Connect system with Navi (optional) and City Break Active system will become standard.  

SE grade incorporates features found in the S grade models but adds a leather steering wheel and gear stick, parking sensors (front and rear), cruise control with speed limiter, remote retractable door mirrors, 17-inch alloys, climate control dual auto A/C.

Sport derivative to the Civic range offers distinctive alloy pedals, black roof lining, 17-inch black alloy wheels, privacy glass (rear doors and tailgate window tinted), colour-coded tailgate spoiler and unique body colour-coded lower mesh grill.

SR grade boasts ultrasonic sensors, leather interior, heated front seats, glass roof, auto dim rear view mirror (as standard), driver seat power lumbar adjust and high power audio with 8 speakers.

EX Plus tops the range with smart entry and start, passenger seat power lumbar adjust, driver seat power adjustable side support, interior clue ambient lighting, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Child seats that fit a Honda Civic (2012 – 2017)

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.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) like to drive?

Like the previous Civic, this model was developed for the European market and the UK's roads were a key part of the testing progress. As a result it rides superbly well. In fact the ride quality is better than any other hatchback of this size - and that includes the excellent Ford Focus.

It has a new suspension design but essentially uses the same set-up as the old Civic. It's certainly very refined and there's less noise and vibration in the cabin than before, however it does seem to have come at the expense of agility.

The new Civic isn't as sharp as the old one and doesn't feel as nimble either. Some of this is down to the new electromechanical power steering which apparently has been retuned to be more accurate. However, it feels less responsive than the outgoing Civic and means it's not as enjoyable to drive. It still handles well though with good grip and impressive stability at higher speeds while there's little road or tyre noise.

One of the most common criticisms of the previous Civic was the rear window design and a lack of visibility. It wasn't a problem for everyone, but many thought it was a case of form over function. For this Civic, Honda has restyled the rear window and it now comes with a wiper too - something that the old car didn't have. The bottom edge of the lower window has been moved down to make visibility reversing easier too.

The thing is, it hasn't actually made that much of a difference. True, It's slightly better, but it doesn't solve the visibility issues completely. Plus, while the addition of a rear wiper is useful, it means that the line across the rear glass now bulges at one end, to house the wiper motor.

There's better news when it comes to the engines. The Civic uses the familiar line-up from the previous model with 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrols.

Originally there was also the 2.2-litre i-DTEC later replaced by the 1.6 i-DTEC but all come with a positive shifting six-speed manual gearbox as standard. All of the engines (with the exception of the 1.8-litre automatic) now have an automatic stop/start system that saves fuel and it's one of the smoothest and fastest systems around.

The original 2.2 i-DTEC is a very impressive diesel with a smooth nature, plenty of pulling power and mightily impressive economy. It develops 150PS along with 350Nm of torque which results in a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds. Claimed fuel economy is an impressive 67.3mpg with emissions of just 110g/km

Later in 2012 a 1.6 i-DTEC was launched which later replaced the 2.2-litre diesel. On paper it would appear slower with only 120PS and 300Nm of torque yet it feels just as sprightly in everyday driving and only occassionally will you notice the power difference. It's an incredibly smooth engine and an improvement over the already impressive 2.2 i-DTEC.

The entry-level 1.4 i-VTEC has 100PS and is sprightly enough for driving in town and general pottering about. It does lack pulling power though with just 127Nm of torque and consequently struggles at higher speeds and when overtaking. It's cheap to run though with fuel economy of 52.3mpg.

The other petrol is the 1.8 i-VTEC with 142PS and a more useful 174Nm of torque. Like the 1.4-litre it does need to be worked quite hard to get the best from it. On the motorway at 70mph it sits at around 3000rpm whereas the i-DTEC is barely breaking a sweat at less than 2000rpm.

The i-VTEC is an engine that is happy to be revved though and doesn't sound coarse when you do. Economy varies depending on what trim you go for but the most frugal is the entry SE verison which returns a claimed 48.7mpg on average. ES and EX versions do 47.1mpg.

The Civic is the first non-hybrid Honda to come with an 'Econ' button. This makes the throttle less responsive and also improves the efficiency of the air conditioning. When you press it, the coloured bars either side of the speedo change colour according to how efficiently (or not) you're driving.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 i-VTEC 51–52 mpg 13.0–13.5 s 128–131 g/km
1.6 i-DTEC 76–79 mpg 10.5 s 94–98 g/km
1.8 i-VTEC 44–49 mpg 8.7–9.6 s 136–145 g/km
1.8 i-VTEC Automatic 44–46 mpg 10.9–11.5 s 148–150 g/km
2.2 i-DTEC 64–67 mpg 8.3–8.8 s 110–115 g/km

Real MPG average for a Honda Civic (2012 – 2017)

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.

Average performance


Real MPG

28–81 mpg

MPGs submitted


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.

What have we been asked about the Honda Civic (2012 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

I bought a car that was advertised with a full service history, but the garage now cannot find the books in question. What do I do now?

I’ve just taken delivery of a 2012 Honda Civic, which was advertised as having a full service history. The ad online had a picture of the stamped book, but the garage now cannot find the books in question. They've also stopped responding to my emails. Do I have any legal rights in this matter?
Take the car back to the dealer and tell them (firmly but politely) that you are not prepared to accept the vehicle without the full-service history. If they are unable to supply the service documents, reject the car. For your consumer rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
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What do owners think?

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  • 5 star 17%
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  • 2 star 17%
  • 1 star 17%

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