Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) Review

Honda Civic (2012 – 2017) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
We’re big fans of the Honda Civic. It’s not perfect, but the bold styling, practical interior, excellent reliability record and low running costs make it a credible alternative to the Focus, Golf and Astra.

+Punchy and efficient diesel engines, class-leading practicality, excellent reliability record.

-Interior lacks polish, rather dull to drive, petrol engines are a bit weak.

Insurance Groups are between 5–20
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

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.

Ask Honest John

Do any other carmakers use Toyota engines?
"Is there another carmaker that uses Toyota's engines (apart from Lexus)? I'm looking to buy a used (2012 or later) Auris for the Mrs but they are very pricey. I want Toyota reliability on a budget. Is this possible?"
A few niche car manufacturers (like Lotus) use Toyota engines but none that will sell a substitute to the Auris. Suzuki recently started selling the Swace, which is essentially a rebadged Corolla, but it's a fairly new car. You could consider a Honda Civic as an alternative – they're generally very reliable.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a car for a growing family in London?
"We're trying to decide on potential used cars, budget is up to £7000 (cash), for 2 adults and, at present one infant (may well be 2 within 12 months!) plus a cocker spaniel. We live in fairly central London, too. I guess petrol is the right fuel, manual transmission preferable. Space for dog and baby/infant stuff is obviously important. We don't do many long (i.e. 100-mile) journeys but once lockdown ends there may be occasional holidays across the UK. We've wondered about Skoda Fabia, Seat Leon, Ford B-Max, Fiesta, Focus. Any comments are helpful! Thanks."
You're right to be considering a petrol car for your requirements. I think you'd soon outgrow a small hatchback like a Skoda Fabia or Ford Fiesta. We'd recommend a Skoda Octavia – you'll get a 2013-2020 model in budget. It's a really practical car that offers great value for money, and there's an estate version too if you need even more space. Take a look at a Honda Civic or Kia Cee'd, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best used car for a long commute?
"What’s the best car for real-world economy on a 130-mile round trip commute."
I'd recommend the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC diesel (built from 2012 to 2017). It's comfortable and smooth on the motorway, easy to drive and returns around 65mpg on-the-road:
Answered by Dan Powell
What's a sensible mileage to look for on a used car?
"I'm looking at buying a used car within the next six months. I drive around 15,000 to 20,000 miles a year so ideally I need a lower mileage car, but budget means this probably isn't possible. What would you suggest would be a sensible mileage to look for on a used car? I'll have a budget of around £8000 - £10,000. Thanks."
Average mileage for a car is around 10,000 miles a year in the UK. Personally, I don't think you have anything to fear from higher mileage used cars, as long as the service history is good (with annual oil changes). Given your mileage and budget, I'd be looking at the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC diesel. It's a comfortable and practical car. Real MPG drivers get 60+mpg from this engine:
Answered by Dan Powell

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