Review: Honda Civic (2017)
Bigger than previous Civic. Independent rear suspension means better ride and handling. New 1.0 VTEC turbo petrol is excellent while i-DTEC diesel is very refined.
Magic Seats no longer a feature. 1.0 doesn't work well with the CVT.
Honda Civic (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £19,100, brokers can source from £17,114
- Contract hire deals from £155.22 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 15–22
- On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure
We're still not convinced it's a looker, but the 2017 Honda Civic is nevertheless one of the best hatchbacks on the market today. Affordable, well equipped and very practical, it's a high quality car that's good to drive yet still comfortable. As an overall package it has plenty going for it.
Many of the quirks from the old Civic have been eliminated. So the touchscreen system - called Honda Connect - is significantly better and easier to use, while that odd dual screen display has gone. Even the view out the back is better, although the split rear screen is still there.
It certainly feels a significant step forward from the previous Civic, particularly in terms of quality and finish. The increase in length means the Civic now sits some way between a Focus and an Octavia - and gives extra legroom for those in the back.
What has gone - and this is a surprise - is the magic seats that have long been a Honda trademark feature. Instead there's a standard rear bench but the boot remains as big as ever and makes this the most family-friendly hatchback around, helped by a low load lip. It means you can get a pushchair in and still have room left for your weekly big shop.
But what the Civic does get is a new fully independent rear suspension set-up. At last. Hurrah. And that means it handles with more precision than before plus it rides better too, although it is still a little on the firm side, albeit not so much to be uncomfortable for most.
There are also new engines with Honda offering downsized turbocharged petrols. The 1.0-litre VTEC turbo is excellent and suits the Civic perfectly. This three-cylinder engine is the one we'd go for, although we'd avoid the CVT unless it's essential you have an automatic. The six-speed manual is far better and with a claimed figure of 55mpg should prove reasonably cheap to run.
If you want more power there's a chain cam 1.5 VTEC turbo with 182PS that only comes in Sport and Prestige trims. With higher prices to match. It's the SE and SR trims which look better value coming well equipped for the money.
There is no shortage of good family cars on the market, covering everything from hatchbacks to people carriers and crossovers. The Honda Civic is up there with the best of them and is a car that's easy to recommend. Put simply, it's very, very good.
What does a Honda Civic (2017) cost?
Honda Civic (2017): What's It Like Inside?
Compared to the previous two generations of Civic, this model has a fairly conventional interior. The odd extra information screen that sat on top of the dash has gone (which is a good thing) and Honda has worked to improve its touchscreen system - one of the weak points of the previous car.
It's been sort of successful. The Honda Connect system is still not the best around - the one you find in a Volkswagen Golf is more user-friendly - but it is better with clearer menus and a more responsive 7.0-inch touchscreen. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There's no dial for turning the volume down - instead it's a touch button on the screen or the thumbpad on the steering wheel, which we find frustrating. Meanwhile, changing the fan speed has to be done via a menu in the touchscreen.
The overall interior design is perhaps less adventurous than you may expect given the exterior, which we think is a little sad. Quality has improved, however - it's well finished inside with a nice touch to all the plastics and a reassuringly solid action to all the key controls.
There's also lots of useful storage with big door pockets and a huge box under the centre armrest although the odd gap left for large bottles does look a little strange. Under the centre stack there's more hidden storage plus a hard-to-find USB socket.
What has surprised us is that Honda has ditched the clever Magic Seats of previous Civics - a unique feature compared to the competition - and gone for a conventional rear bench. Research by Honda showed that owners were rarely using them, but we still think it's a real shame and somewhat limits the Civic's versatility.
On the plus side, the growth in the Civic's overall length and wheelbase means there is good rear leg room. It's also much better if you have child car seats in the back.
The big difference is more space for those in the front, along with a lower driving position with plenty of adjustment in the driver's seat. Honda has stuck with the odd split tailgate window design although it's now lower down so a little easier to see out. But the rear three quarter view is very restricted due to the pillar design.
The good news is that the boot is still huge, making the Civic the best family hatchback around when it comes to carrying capability.
With close to 480 litres of space it outstrips the Volkswagen Golf by a full 100 litres. The boot also gets a flat floor, with a hidden underfloor compartment, although if you go for a Sport or Sport Plus, the sporty centre exhaust means you lose the under-floor boot section and there's no space for a spare wheel, though there is room for one in standard spec.
One of our favourite features is the clever (and unusual) luggage cover that slides out from the side. It means you don't have to store a rigid parcel shelf in the garage if you're moving bulky stuff.
Standard equipment from launch:
S trim has automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control and the Honda SENSING suite of advanced active safety technologies.
Comfort adds heated front seats, heated door mirrors, an eight-speaker audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning.
Elegance models have the Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, 17-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, a rear parking camera and dual-zone air conditioning.
Executive comes with leather upholstery, LED front headlamp clusters, smart keyless entry and start, a power tilt panoramic sunroof and premium audio system (11 speakers with 465 watts output). Executive grade models are also fitted with the Dynamic Damper Control system.
Sport versions get 17-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, a rear parking camera, the Honda Connect 2 infotainment suite, dual zone air conditioning, LED headlamp clusters, twin centre exhaust outlets and a sports body kit that includes a chin spoiler, rear bumper spats and side garnishes.
Sport Plus models add a power tilt panoramic sunroof, Dynamic Damper Control, premium audio system (11 speakers with 465 watts output), smart keyless entry and start, and a wireless charging pad in the centre console.
Prestige grade builds on the Sport grade (excluding twin centre exhaust outlets and sports body kit), adding chrome front grille and door handle finishes, leather upholstery and heated rear seats.
The Black Line and Orange Line add a front chin spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser, as well as mirror caps in either black or orange. Orange Line also includes interior accents across the dashboard in the same vivid colour.
Child seats that fit a Honda Civic (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.
What's the Honda Civic (2017) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.0T VTEC to 1.6 i-DTEC Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 30–73 mpg
From launch the Civic was available with just two petrol engines - both turbocharged smaller units. Nice and simple. The 1.0 VTEC may seem too small for a car this size, but it's a perfect fit for the Civic with power and refinement that belies its small capacity.
Not that we should be surprised to see an engine this size in the Civic. The Ford Focus comes with a very good 1.0 Ecoboost engine while the Golf is available with the impressive 1.0 TSI. But for our money, this is the best 1.0-litre turbocharged engine around.
That's a big claim but hear us out. It's not just the performance it offers, but the refinement. With 129PS the three-cylinder 1.0 VTEC gives the Civic plenty of get up and go and while a 0-62mph time of around 11 seconds is nothing to write home about, the fact it is turbocharged means it pulls really well in-gear. Much more so than the 180Nm of torque would suggest.
In everyday driving, the Civic rarely feels like it's short on power and if you do want to drive with a bit of gusto, it's happy to be worked a bit harder. But it's the minimal noise, smooth nature and general refinement which makes it so good.
Claimed economy is more than 55mpg (it changes depending on trim levels) and Honda is a make that traditionally provides more realistic economy figures than most. Check out Real MPG to see that current Civic figures.
The standard six-speed gearbox has a rewardingly positive shift, albeit occassionally a little springy, while if you want an automatic there's a CVT available.
While the automatic works well with the more powerful 1.5 VTEC, it's not well suited to the 1.0-litre engine and hampers performance while generally making the whole thing feel lethargic, even when you're just pottering about town. Unless you really must have an auto, we'd avoid it.
Speaking of the 1.5 VTEC engine, the four-cylinder engine is a touch smoother than the 1.0-litre but despite having considerably more power with 182PS, it doesn't feel that much quicker in everyday driving. But if you want a Sport or Prestige model, this is the only engine available.
On the road, the Civic steering has a nice weight to it, plus it's precise and responsive. But the Civic also rides impressively well, helped by a new multi-link rear suspension system. True, it's on the firm side, which you'll notice on poor quality tarmac, but generally this is a very comfortable family hatchback.
A 1.6 i-DTEC with 120PS was launched in March 2018. Most buyers will opt for this engine and it's clear to see why. While it's not as quick as the 1.5 petrol, it's an extremely refined unit that provides a relaxing and economical drive. Indeed, once it's up to speed, it's so quiet you'd find it hard to distinguish as a diesel. Perfect for high-mileage users.
|1.0T VTEC||59 mpg||10.8–11.2 s||110–117 g/km|
|1.0T VTEC CVT||60 mpg||10.6–11.0 s||106–114 g/km|
|1.5T VTEC||49–50 mpg||8.2–8.4 s||133 g/km|
|1.5T VTEC CVT||47 mpg||8.2–8.5 s||139 g/km|
|1.6 i-DTEC||81 mpg||10.0–10.2 s||93 g/km|
|1.6 i-DTEC Automatic||69 mpg||-||109 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Honda Civic (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.
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 (2017)?
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What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 17%
- 4 star 67%
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