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

Can a relative from Australia visit UK for six months, buy and insure a car and take it to Europe for a while?
"Early next year I will have a relative from Australia visiting me and staying in UK for around six months. Rather than hiring a car for such a long period, he would like to buy a car for around £6000, insure it in his name and use it to tour UK and Europe while he is here. He would then sell the car before returning to Australia. Two questions: 1. Is he able to purchase and insure a car in his name with a foreign driving licence? 2. Any advice on a reliable car for £6000?"
Your relative should have no problem buying a car but (as I understand it) the address on the V5 logbook needs to be an address where your relative can be contacted if necessary (e.g. if you get a speeding fine or parking ticket). Lots of people don't have a fixed address so this can be a friend or family member's address used as a forwarding address. Insurance will be a little more expensive than a UK resident with a UK driving licence so it's worth shopping around for quotes. I'm sure they'd bump up the premiums for a driver with a six-month policy, too, but it'd still be possible to get insurance. A Honda Civic would be a pretty sensible option for £6000 – look for a 2012-onwards model and it'll be reliable/comfortable enough for touring Europe.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Honda Civic - should I trade it in for something newer or run it into the ground?
"I own a 2015 Honda Civic. It is in a high spec with just 27,000 miles on the clock. It is the best car I have ever owned. With the current inflated prices for used cars, is now the right time to part exchange? I am considering a Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2021 model. My conundrum is to run the Civic until it is no longer road worthy, which will take many, many years or to part exchange now?"
There's plenty of life left in your Honda Civic so it might be worth holding off for the new Civic which arrives later this year: It'll be very similar to the Civic you own (and, by the sounds of it, love), but gets hybrid power, an updated infotainment system and more interior space. Having said that, we rate the latest Yaris – it's smart looking, reasonably practical for its size and gets brilliant fuel economy. It'll be also more than £5000 cheaper than the new Civic. Yaris review, here: New car prices are inflated, but so are the prices dealers are willing to pay for used models. You'll have to do your own calculations to know if the two balance out in your case.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Can you recommend a car for a 20,000 mile a year commute?
"I am going to be commuting to work by car, which is 377 miles a week. My work will pay 45p for the first 6000 miles then down to 25p. It's all motorway and one hour's drive, which car would you recommend I buy?"
It reads like you need an affordable and reliable used car. Do not buy a new or nearly new model, your high mileage will severely impact its resale value. I'd recommend the old shape Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC. It is comfortable on the motorway and easy to drive. What's more, Honda has a very strong reputation for reliability and the 1.6 diesel will return up to 65mpg on the road:
Answered by Dan Powell
Can you recommend a used car for a 500-mile per week commute?
"What recommendations can you suggest for a 500-mile a week motorway/A road commute (100 miles, five days per week). I'm looking to buy in the £7000 region, ideally automatic with cruise control. I previously had a 2009 3 Series BMW 318d that was perfect, but unfortunately, I wrote that off. It was a bit pricey on road tax, but I got 600 miles from a full tank. I did start looking at the Mk7 Golf 1.6 and 2.0-litre as these seemed to have good reviews, but there aren't many around. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards."
It reads like you need a reliable and efficient secondhand car. I would recommend the old-shape Honda Civic. It has a very good reputation for reliability and is very comfortable on the motorway. The 1.6 i-DTEC will also return around 65mpg on the road:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

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