Honda Civic review - does the Type R’s class translate lower down the range? - Performance and 0-60

It’s clear the Type R has had a positive effect on the standard Civic’s handling, but a mini Type R this is not

Evo rating
Price
from £18,895
  • Foolproof chassis, impressive drivetrain, plenty of space
  • Not quite as entertaining to drive as a Focus, cheap interior

The Honda Civic’s engine range may lack the complexity of rivals from VW or Ford, but at its core is well judged and easy to choose between. The entry-level 1-litre triple is brisk enough, reaching 62mph in 10.8sec, making it slow without being dangerously so. The 1.5 is more effective, hitting 62mph in 8.2sec. The diesel also fails to duck below the 10 second mark to 62mph, taking 10.2sec.

Unlike Honda engines of old, the turbocharged range gives the Civic effortless torque in the mid-range, making the screaming VTEC engines Honda is known for a thing of the past. Although we miss those revvy, delicate engines, the extra torque on offer does make it a more relaxing car to drive on the move, negating the need to constantly change gear to find performance.

The diesel is refined enough at lower speeds, but up the pace and its compression ignition makes itself known. The CVT is among the better of its type we’ve tried; high-rev mooing under hard acceleration hasn’t been completely banished but it’s also not overly intrusive (and with the gravelly three-pot, not unpleasant, either), and switching to the stepped-ratio ‘manual’ mode you do get an extra degree of control.

This being a Honda, though, the manual is the much more satisfying option. The shift is slick and precise, with a short throw. The 1-litre and manual combination is actually the sweetest, we reckon, since the four-cylinder 1.5 delivers a raucous, tuneless (and most un-Honda) racket under acceleration. Our test cars felt a little tight, but the 1.5 definitely offers a performance advantage over the 1-litre, which sometimes feels like it needs a gear between a short second and long third on twisty roads.

Most Popular

Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival
Jaguar XJ41
Jaguar

Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival

The blighted ’80s ‘F-type’, the demise of which led to the creation of the Jaguar XK8 and launched a new era for Aston Martin
8 Apr 2021
All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal
Ferrari badge
Ferrari

All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal

Ferrari has confirmed its first EV, but first three new models are due in the coming months
15 Apr 2021
Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i
Peugeot 508 PSE – front
Peugeot 508

Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i

New 355bhp petrol-hybrid 508 from Peugeot Sport Engineered has Audi’s S4 licked
14 Apr 2021