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

What's the best small car for high mileages?

"I need to replace my car. I do 35k miles a year all over the country, have a wife and two kids and a budget of £8000. I want something as economical and comfortable as possible, I am 6'2" . My current Suzuki S-Cross 1.6 has been very good but I am hoping to find something even more economical. I would prefer not to have a diesel as historically have had so many issues with DPF's. "
While a secondhand diesel car can have more issues than a petrol model, diesel makes a lot of sense for 35k miles a year. Regular motorway runs (which I imagine you do if you cover 35k a year) should keep the DPF clear. A Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC ought to be a very reliable and frugal choice, while also being very comfortable for your mileage. A Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI would be a good alternative.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What is the best used diesel hatchback for under £9,000?

"I am looking to upgrade to a newer diesel hatchback. I have up to £9,000 to spend and have singled out the Toyota Auris 1.6, Vauxhall Astra 1.6 and Volkswagen Golf 1.6 (all diesel). The Auris is my number one choice as reliability is crucial to me but unfortunately 1.6 models are rare. For my budget, I can get a 2017 Astra or a 2014 Golf, is one more reliable than the other? Can you recommend anything else within my budget? "
I would hold out for a Toyota Auris, it has an excellent reputation for low running costs and was recently rated as one of the UK's most reliable cars in our latest Satisfaction Index: Older versions of the Volkswagen Golf don't have the best reputations for reliability and I'd be more inclined to choose a Honda Civic over the Astra for build quality and fuel economy. According to Real MPG submissions, the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC will return at least 65mpg:
Answered by Dan Powell

What is the best car for real mpg?

"What's the best car for miles per gallon? I have heard that a Renault Clio dCi 90 Eco is pretty good."
According to Real MPG, the Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 will return around 59mpg: The old shape Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC will give you up to 65mpg: The petrol Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS will provide up to 63mpg: Unless you cover lots of miles to justify the diesel, I'd go with the Swift.
Answered by Dan Powell

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
More Questions

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