Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) Review
Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) At A Glance
The Honda Civic is the family hatchback you buy if you’re after practicality and reliability. Launched in 2012, and facelifted in 2015, the Civic is a rival to the likes of the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra. Although the regular five-door hatchback is the volume seller, the Civic is also available as a cavernous estate (Tourer) and bonkers Type R hot hatch. All except the Type R will be cheap to run, with the diesel engines a particular high point. It’s let down by a lacklustre cabin, a so-so driving experience and some interior quality issues.
Practical, reliable and dependable. If we were writing a dating advert for the Honda Civic, these would be the first words out of the block. It’s the M&S oversized sweater of the family hatchback segment. The Sunday afternoon in front of a black and white movie.
All of which is perfectly acceptable. Some people need little more than the knowledge that a car will be totally reliable between services, not cost a packet to run, and be comfortable and quiet on the move. These people should buy a Honda Civic.
Launched in 2012, this generation of the Civic picked up where the old model left off by boasting bold and interesting styling. You won’t mistake the Civic for any other car in the segment. It’s a sector that includes sales heavyweights like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Hats off to Honda for taking a different approach.
A facelift was rolled out in 2015, with the Civic looking even more striking. One thing was unchanged: practicality. The boot is one of the largest in its class, with the famed ‘Magic Seats’ making this a truly versatile and flexible hatchback. For even more space, you could opt for the roomy Civic Tourer (estate), but this review focuses on the hatchback.
This is a car that feels well-engineered, but it won’t impress you with its flashy interior. If you appreciate tight panel gaps and narrow shut lines, the Civic is an engineering treat. If you’re after soft-touch plastics and plush materials, this isn’t a car for you.
On the plus side, the Honda Civic offers a generous level of kit, regardless of the trim. It’s also incredibly safe, with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating to its name.
Later models come with an City-Brake Active System as standard, along with the option of a larger Driver Assistance Pack. This comprises forward-collision warning, high beam support, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and cross traffic monitor.
It’s one of the reasons why we’d recommend a post-facelift Honda Civic. The only problem is that the excellent 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine was dropped from the range and replaced by a 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel. The 2.2-litre diesel is a peach, offering punchy performance, superb efficiency and smooth running. The 1.6-litre diesel is fine, but it lacks the refinement of the 2.2.
We’d avoid the 1.4-litre petrol unless you’re looking for the lowest running costs. The 1.8-litre petrol offers greater flexibility, but needs to be revved hard to get the best from it. The same is true of the bonkers Civic Type R, which is the hardcore member of the Civic range.
Elsewhere, the Civic is less memorable to drive. It’s fine, but nothing more. You just feel detached from the driving experience, which isn’t something you could say about older Civic models. It’s all very pleasant, like that aforementioned M&S sweater.