Honda Civic 2.0

e:HEV Sport

Honda Civic, 2022, nose
Honda Civic, 2022, side
Honda Civic, 2022, rear
Honda Civic, 2022, interior
Honda Civic, 2022, rear seats
Honda Civic, 2022, engine
Honda Civic, 2022, boot

IT'S been with us for more than half a century and the trusty Honda Civic is now in its eleventh incarnation.

But we aren't seeing as many on the roads these days - mainly because the veritable flood of SUVs are luring family motorists away from the typical hatchback, once the staple of everyday transport.

There is however, a good chance the latest Civic e:HEVcould redress the balance somewhat.

Not only is it more spacious than the outgoing model, but it's less thirsty and greener thanks to hybrid electrification. And despite these worthy credentials, it manages to deliver bags of driving satisfaction yet has the refinement levels of a much more expensive car.

The three versions available - barring the fire-eating Type-R - are each powered by a similar 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine linked to twin electric motors. This results in a lusty 181bhp output giving it lively acceleration - 0 to 62mph in just 7.9seconds. Only the level of trim and equipment separate the three versions.

Despite being slightly longer and wider than the last model, the e:HEV is 20 per cent lighter, benefiting both economy and performance.

Honda has long been faithful to continuous variable transmission in its automatics. And the latest Civic is solely available with this type of gearbox. The really good news is that it's has been developed to give it ‘steps' which can be brought into play with steering wheel paddles, making it smoother and much quieter.

The system works well, and even those who are less than keen on CVT gearboxes are likely to be impressed.

While the Civic in non-Type-R format doesn't attempt to be a hot hatch, it nevertheless offers a rewarding driving experience - the harder it's pushed the better it responds. Cornering is sure-footed and grippy and the steering has reasonable road-feel and good accuracy.

Roll levels remains slight with good vertical suspension movement over poor surfaces but no sign of wallowing or vagueness. An all round excellent compromise.

Even pushed hard, we obtained close to 50mpg with a best of 54mpg over a gentle country run. Emissions are good too at 113g/km.

On a purely practical front, there's ample space for four in the smart cabin with decent leg and headroom - despite a low roofline. The hatchback rear door opens to reveal a wide, flat space capable of absorbing around 400litres of luggage, more than most rivals.

The cabin itself is both smart and well made with high grade plastics in various darker hues. The entry level Elegance and the Sport share the same 9.0-inch touchscreen which works well, though is less intuitive than some rivals. The flagship Advance gets a slightly larger screen.

The driving position is set quite low to maximise the headroom and there's sufficient seat/steering wheel adjustment to find a comfortable driving position.

Styling is a very personal aspect of car design, but most onlookers we spoke to found the new Civic's lines to be pleasing if not exactly exciting. Certainly, Honda stylists have ploughed a less radical path than with previous generations.

FAST FACTS

Honda Civic 2.0 e:HEV Sport

Price: £30,595

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 181bhp petrol hybrid, 4 cyl engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 7.9sec

Combined MPG: 56.4

Insurance Group: 28

C02 emissions: 113g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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