Civic 4-door 1.6i DTEC SR
say the saloon is dead.
wrong. Who says so?
Well, Audi and Mercedes for a start
and now Honda has launched a four-
door saloon version of its excellent
MAYBE NOT QUITE AS SPORTY as the Japanese carmaker's swish and sleek 150mph
five-door Civic Type R, but in its new four-door Whistle and Flute with sharply
creased panels and distinctive front wings and rear haunches, all sportily finished
off by a sloping roofline and steeply raked tail treatment, the Civic saloon
is strong on kerb appeal.
Swing open the driver's door and drop into the shapely seat and you find yourself
in a similar environment to the four-door's five-door sister ship. This is a
very good thing as the fluent ergonomics and logical fascia are both good on
the eye and easy to navigate.
What's even better is the low-set seating position that immediately puts you
in a sporty frame of mind. You don't sit too low just enough to
feel an integral part of the machine; an impression underscored by a gear lever
that falls perfectly to hand and fine forward visibility.
seats, upholstered in smart feel-good black fabric, are well shaped with decent
bolstering that's comfortably supportive plus there's a fist of headroom above.
The cockpit is light and airy and despite the sporty semi-low-slung seating
the driver enjoys A1 visibility in all directions; slim A-pillars help and the
bonnet is easily seen, making the four-door easy to place. The driver also benefits
from a height-adjustable chair with powered lumbar support.
cockpit is light and
airy and despite the
seating the driver enjoys
A1 visibility in all
directions; slim A-pillars
help and the bonnet
is easily seen, making
the four-door easy
Fit and finish is up to Honda's usual high standards with smart not showy trim
and finishings and neat detailing that helps make the Civic a pleasing place
to be whether you're just nipping round the corner for a takeaway, escaping
for a quick weekend break, or tripping the daily commute.
The multifunction steering wheel is a three-spoker with a good-to-grip leather
rim. Behind it, the Civic's crystal clear digital instrument panel is refreshingly
minimalist and everything important such as the digital speed readout
can be taken in with the quickest of glances. Exactly how it should be.
Not only is there a lot of room in the wide interior but in-cabin storage is
excellent and well thought-out, starting with a super-duper multi-configurable
central storage unit between the front seats capped by a long shareable armrest;
big bottle-holding front door bins offer plenty of space for not just refreshments
but oddments too, the glovebox is helpfully large and there's a capacious 'cave'
at the base of the centre stack above a lower storage area accessible from both
Comms are well specced: the ever-present Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are
on hand as part of Honda's Connect infotainment system; Garmin navigation provides
idiot-proof full postcode destination input, and great 3D mapping is made better
by clear street names and foolproof junction views always much appreciated
in fast moving motorway traffic. All of it is accessed and viewed through a
sharp-res seven-inch touchscreen. Naturally there's Internet browsing and an
Aha app, as well as Bluetooth and eight speakers for the DAB radio. USB and
HDMI jacks can also be taken for granted.
Neither do you go short of essential kit with a very efficient dual-zone climate
control system (with settings that can, if you like, be displayed on the touchscreen
at the press of a button), rear parking camera with front and rear parking sensors,
powerfolding heated door mirrors, ambient cabin lighting, electric parking brake
with auto hold, one-shot power windows (all four), rain sensitive wipers, auto
lights, alloy pedals, and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.
it comes to safety the Civic is definitely 'pro-active' all versions
are fitted with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features that use camera and
radar technology such as Collision Mitigation Braking with Pedestrian Detection,
Forward Collision Warning, automatic Active City Brake emergency braking, Lane
Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning with Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic
Sign Recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Cut-in Prediction,
and Intelligent Speed Limiter.
118bhp might not
sound a lot, its not
a problem because the
power behind the throne
is the 1.6i DTECs torque
221lb ft @ 2,000rpm.
On the move the new
feels smooth and peppy,
dishing out more
than its 118bhp might
addition there's Agile Handling Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist, Traction
Control, Hill Start Assist, a full set of front, side and curtain airbags, height-adjustable
belts, anti-whiplash front seat head restraints, tyre deflation warning system,
and a capless fuel filler flap that's convenient as well as clean on your hands
when refilling with diesel.
An athletically sloping roofline usually comes at the cost of rear passenger
headroom but not in the Civic saloon, where you'll find more than enough.
And it's not just above your head that there's room in the rear cabin; with
an overall length of 4.6-metres there's acres of it for up to three pairs of
legs arranged side by side along with generous footroom. And for the times there's
just two sharing, the drop-down padded central armrest features built-in cupholders.
Just as important as ample wriggle room are the seats themselves backseat
passengers will find them as comfortable as the pair up front. Throw in plenty
of light entering from generous glasshouse glazing and the rear cabin is a pleasantly
calm and quiet sanctum when covering long distances.
Driving around urban landscapes the Civic saloon's damping (somewhat more yielding
than the five-door hatchback) serves up a smooth and fluent ride; and while
it's firm enough to also deliver clean and composed handling, there's no fidgeting
even when rolling over poor grade blacktop abysmal lumps and bumps are
agreeably cushioned. No surprise then that the ride betters that of some of
its classier-badged competitors loping along motorways, Honda's latest
saloon is a restful mile-eater.
The good news is that, despite the more cushioned ride, the saloon's handling
set-up is well-sorted (it's underpinned by a tweaked version of the five-door's
chassis) and this four-door Civic sits flatter when fired through the twisty
bits. Body roll is well managed and the steering is game for some press-on driving;
it's keen to turn in and the nose holds its line well. There's a satisfying
responsiveness underscoring the four-door's handing composure and it feels more
engaging than many of its rivals. Adding to the fun is the pleasingly slick
and precise change action of the six-speed manual 'box.
118bhp might not sound a lot, it's not a problem because the power behind the
throne is the 1.6i DTEC's torque 221lb ft @ 2,000rpm. On the move the
new four-cylinder unit feels smooth and peppy, dishing out more muscular performance
than its 118bhp might suggest: the benchmark 62mph marker is passed in ten seconds
dead and it will run on to a 125mph maximum.
engine noise is a distant
background hum with
fifth and sixth gears
officially the combined
cycle figure is an
A weeks hard driving
saw us record an overall
and very impressive
of 59.2mpg while another
of our reviewers managed
a high 71mpg!
motorways, engine noise is a distant background hum with fifth and sixth gears
favouring economy officially the combined cycle figure is an amazing
83.1mpg with a mere 91g/km of CO2 emissions. A week's hard driving saw us record
an overall and very impressive real-world average of 59.2mpg while another of
our reviewers managed a high 71mpg! Frugal, yes and with a capital 'F'.
the record, diesel is not the only choice the four-door saloon's under-bonnet
alternative is a 124bhp 1.0-litre petrol drinker although its official combined
cycle economy of 58.9mpg can't match the diesel's 83.1mpg; and the turbodiesel's
emissions of 91g/km are still better than the petrol unit's 110g/km.
litres is a big boot in anyone's book; and superior to even some bigger saloons
from the class above. The only limit on what you can load is, as with all saloon
cars, the size of the bootlid opening. Helpfully the Civic's backflips over
the rear screen to make access as easy as possible.
If load space versatility is your number one priority then the five-door hatchback
version will probably serve you better. Not that the four-door can't be accommodating
the 60:40-split rear seatbacks fold down at the pull of levers in the
boot. They sit flat which boosts practicality and significantly extends the
available load space.
In four-door guise the Civic is a fully-fledged saloon with it's own distinct
character. And it's more than just a sporty presence it's also an impressively
economical, very accommodating and comfortable family car with plenty of room
for luggage that's particularly satisfying to live with. ~ MotorBar
Honda Civic 4-door 1.6i DTEC SR
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-62mph: 10 seconds | Test Average: 59.2mpg
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 91g/km