Review: The new Honda Civic
The Honda Civic has always been about the driver experience and the new Civic is no different. In fact, it takes the driver cockpit to a new level.
This car is all about the driver. That’s not saying there isn’t space and comfort and everything you’d expect for passenger- and back-seat companions. There is. But it’s both an inescapable first impression when you get behind the wheel, and an inescapable conclusion after a journey or two spent there, that the design inspiration behind the new Honda Civic was to make this all about a driving experience.
There’s a distinctive, vaguely elliptical continuous curve right around the driving seat, skirting past the gear-stick and encompassing the centre console and display gauges right around to the window controls on your right hand side.
All in all, then, the word ‘cockpit’ is in the case of the new Honda Civic no way contrived: the driving seat is not just behind the steering wheel, it feels like everything exists in its own special driving compartment. You’d be forgiven for forgetting your other half was just a foot or two away in the passenger seat. (Or, you'd be forgiven by anyone but her...)
There is a fine zip on acceleration – I drove the 2.2L diesel version, which still falls into the Tax Band A for the lowest annual road tax bracket of €160.
Other features include rear "magic seats", which can transform your Civic from regular two-front, two-back into a serious transportation unit, while you’ll occasionally feel that the car has a mind of its own through its dusk-sensing headlights and rain-aware wipers.
At first the Eco button felt a little gimmicky, but that feeling lasted for about 20 seconds
Given the prices at the pumps, exceptional fuel economy is generally a given these days when we’re in the market for a new set of wheels, and in this regard, in addition to the strangely satisfying idle stop function, the new Civic also has a nifty Eco button feature.
You can leave it switched off, in which case the fuel-monitoring experience is very much as you might expect in another vehicle, but turning it on could and should save you a packet in the long run. In time you’ll probably find that it transforms your driving habits for the better.
Well it cleverly measures your speed and acceleration to add colour-coded graphics to your display. Green means you’re operating in good fuel economy, blue-green is not bad but leaves room for improvement, while a full blue bar means you’re effectively wasting fuel.
At first it felt a little gimmicky, but that feeling lasted for about 20 seconds. You may be all grown-up now, with plenty of years of driving experience behind you and a full clean drivers’ license. But you’ll still be surprised at some driving habit – a speed in a certain gear, for example – that is making your car’s fuel economy perform less than favourably.
This feature of the new Honda Civic could be a seriously effective way of ensuring that you generate plenty of savings by making less frequent stop-offs at the pumps.
And with the bottom line of you, me and everyone else being squeezed with every new stealth tax or household charge, we say Amen to that.