Honda Civic Sport

 

Excitingly practical is how Honda describes the latest edition to their ever popular Civic line-up: The Civic Sport. And to a certain extent at least it’s not stretching one’s imagination too far to see why.

      If ever there was a car that exploded the myth that all new hatchbacks had to look the same then surely the last generation Honda Civic was that hatchback. The triangular fog-lamps, the cab-forward styling, the short overhangs front and rear…. I could go on.  Honda broke the mould.

  The current generation Civic, first seen in 2012, picked up exactly where that undeniably distinctive car left off; fractionally wider, lower and longer than the car it replaced, and with a shorter wheelbase, its styling changes were seemingly more evolution than revolution. But quite whether it was as altogether attractive, was, still is, a matter of many a bar-room debate.

    Perhaps even Honda weren’t quite convinced. Three years in, and the Civic gets a facelift, albeit a subtle one.

    Some very discreet bodywork changes have been made. They’re not merely cosmetic Honda claim, but instead they’re there to help clean-up all things aerodynamic: namely drag and lift. Nevertheless, it’s the new headlights complete with intricate daytime running lights, and new arc-shaped LED rear lights that the more-than-just-casual observers will notice first. The front bumper has seen the stylist’s attention too.

    As is often the case with mid-term modifications there have also been changes to the bits you can’t see: different damper rates, an altered steering rack and new anti-roll bars and bushes, all with the aim of improving stability and steering feel have been fitted, whilst Honda’s software boffins have busied themselves by fettling the stability control so it’s less inclined  to suppress  the engine’s power during more spirited cornering; wheels are now more accurately individually braked, and in a more sophisticated way than they previously were in order to keep things ever closer to your intended plotted  course. City-Brake, Honda’s low-speed automatic emergency braking system has also become standard across the range, as has a new but still slightly aftermarket looking Android phone-compatible touchscreen on higher-specced models. One such example of which is the aforementioned Sport.

    Now, don’t get too excited the Civic Sport is a Sport only in name, not in nature. The changes are merely cosmetic and there are no performance enhancements. A liberal smattering of mesh has been applied to the grille, black alloy wheels now fill the wheel arches, some more aggressive and angular side skirts have been applied, and well, that’s about it. Engine-wise your choice is between either a 1.8litre petrol packing 140bhp, or (as per our test car) Honda’s 118bhp 1.6litre iDtec diesel.

   I can’t speak for the petrol but the performance of the oil-burner proves adequate rather than earth-shattering. 0.-62 takes 10.8 seconds and as long as you keep the turbo spinning – easy as the six-speed gear-box has delightfully precise shift- there’s more than enough oomph for day-to-day driving. Honda claims this engine is good for 76.3 mpg too. So, it’s at the pumps then perhaps where the Sport proves itself a winner.

  Jump inside and things are comfy, very comfy in fact. I did a three hour stint behind the wheel and apart from finding the steering being a tad numb and not being able set the driver’s seat as low as I’d have liked, found little else to complain about. The split level dashboard that sees the rev-counter take centre stage beneath the digital speedometer whilst equal-sized fuel and temperature gauges put in supporting roles both left and right will be familiar to many a Civic devotee, and once the steering column has been carefully adjusted everything else inside the Civic appears clear and easy to fathom.

   Plus, whatever spec you choose the interior offers almost unparalleled practicality. Honda’s magic seat system allows the rear seats not only to be folded flat, creating a cavernous load space, but also to be flipped-up cinema-seat style. Carrying that yucca plant or bicycle should never be a problem again. You will be glad of the parking sensors when you get home though, the view from the driver’s seat is near-panoramic, but you can’t see the Civic’s corners from its helm.

    Easy to live, superbly practical, comfy and with an enviable reputation for reliability the Civic Sport like all Honda Civic in fact, offers a welcome deviation from the far less angularly styled hatchback norm. Excitingly practical, yes, I’d say that sums it up rather nicely

 

Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Sport Manual

Engine: 1,597cc, 4Cyl, 16V Turbo-diesel

Transmission: 6 speed. Front Wheel Drive

Power: 118 bhp @ 4000rpm

Torque: 221 lbft @ 2000 rpm

0-62mph: 10.5 sec

Max Speed: 129 mph

MPG: 76.3 combined.

CO2: 98 g/km

VED Band: F

Price: £21,430 (car driven £22,555)

 

Many thanks to Monique at Honda’s UK press office for the loan of the Civic Sport

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

Section:

Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

Read More from Liam Bird