RAY MASSEY takes latest Honda Civic for a test drive


Happy Birthday Honda Civic. As the new 11th generation of the car marks 50 years since the first Civic’s launch in 1972, I’ve taken the latest model for a test drive. 

And the timing couldn’t be better, as the new six-monthly ’72’ plate arrives from next Thursday, September 1. 

Styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with its classic long, low-riding hatchback stance. But it’s the clever under-the-surface petrol-electric hybrid tech which marks out the new e:Hev model. 

Smooth mover: The new fuel-efficient hybrid Honda Civic has plenty of pace

For it comes exclusively as a self-charging hybrid, linking a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder direct injection engine to a battery and two electric motors. 

Most of the time, the engine acts as a generator for the battery, which drives the electric motors. 

Performance-oriented, confident, energetic and sharp on twisty country roads, and with plenty of pace on motorways, it accelerates smoothly from rest to 62mph in a nifty 7.9 seconds, up to a top speed of 112 mph. It also offers pocket-friendly fuel efficiency of 56.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 113g/km. 

There are three main drive settings: Normal, Sport and Eco. Plus, there’s a fourth Individual setting if you want a bespoke mode. 

There’s no physical gearbox as such — it uses an electronic continuously variable transmission — but clever electronics give the impression of going up and down the gears. 

Similarly, paddles on the steering wheel are not for changing gear, but to increase or decrease resistance on the regenerative braking. 

There is loads of room in the boot and legroom in the rear, as well as an upmarket interior and simple-to-use screen. 

Prices start from £29,595 for the ­Elegance, which will account for around a quarter of sales. It comes with a rear-view camera, parking sensors, heated front seats and door mirrors, and a 9in touch screen. 

Styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with its classic long, low-riding hatchback stance

Styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with its classic long, low-riding hatchback stance

Paddles on the steering wheel are not for changing gear, but to increase or decrease resistance on the regenerative braking

Paddles on the steering wheel are not for changing gear, but to increase or decrease resistance on the regenerative braking

It comes exclusively as a self-charging hybrid, linking a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder direct injection engine to a battery and two electric motors

It comes exclusively as a self-charging hybrid, linking a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder direct injection engine to a battery and two electric motors

There is loads of room in the boot and legroom in the rear, as well as an upmarket interior and simple-to-use screen

There is loads of room in the boot and legroom in the rear, as well as an upmarket interior and simple-to-use screen

Performance-oriented with plenty of pace on motorways, it accelerates smoothly from rest to 62mph in a nifty 7.9 seconds, up to a top speed of 112 mph

Performance-oriented with plenty of pace on motorways, it accelerates smoothly from rest to 62mph in a nifty 7.9 seconds, up to a top speed of 112 mph

The petrol engine, battery and electric motors work together in harmony to move seamlessly between pure electric, hybrid and engine driving with no input required from the driver

The petrol engine, battery and electric motors work together in harmony to move seamlessly between pure electric, hybrid and engine driving with no input required from the driver

It comes with a rear-view camera, parking sensors, heated front seats and door mirrors, and a 9in touch screen

I drove the mid-range Sport, expected to account for nearly half of all sales, which costs from £30,595 — though mine rose to £31,220 because of the colour and trim. The range-topping Advance (from £32,995) has a panoramic glass roof.

I took it for a spin around the borders of Worcestershire and Herefordshire and was pleasantly surprised how plush and punchy it is.

The petrol engine, battery and electric motors work together in harmony to move seamlessly between pure electric, hybrid and engine driving with no input required from the driver.

A real smooth operator.

Will it fit in my garage? New Honda Civic 2.0 i-MMD e:HEV Sport 

Style: self-charging hybrid hatchback

Price: from £30,595

Price as driven: £31,220

Civic range price: from £29,595

Length: 4,551mm

Width: 1,802mm

Height: 1,408mm

Wheelbase: 2,734mm

Ground clearance: 128mm (with driver)

Ground clearance: 108.6mm (full load)

Kerb weight: 1,533mm

Engine: 2.0 litre 4 cylinder petrol

Top speed: 112mph

O-62mph: 7.9 seconds

Fuel efficiency: 56.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 113g/km

Engine max power: 142 hp / 105 kWh

Electric max power: 184 hp/ 135 kWh

EV battery capacity: 1.05 kWh

Transmission: e-CVT (continuously variable transmission)

Fuel tank capacity: 40 litres

Interior noise level: 65dB

Wheels: 18 inch – Tyre repair kit as standard (in place of spare wheel) 

Steering wheel lock to lock: 2.2

Boot capacity (rear seats up): 415 litres

Boot capacity (rear seats down): 1220 litres

Trim levels and expected split

Advance: 25%Sport: 45%

Elegance: 25%

Still time for automotive fun 

It’s your last chance for some Bank Holiday fun at CarFest South (carfest. org) as the three-day extravaganza continues at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire. 

There’s cars, stars, food and live acts, from Rag’n’Bone Man, James Blunt, Paloma Faith and Kaiser Chiefs.

Driven to distraction: It's your last chance for some Bank Holiday fun at CarFest South as the three-day extravaganza continues at Laverstoke Park Farm

Driven to distraction: It’s your last chance for some Bank Holiday fun at CarFest South as the three-day extravaganza continues at Laverstoke Park Farm

It aims to raise £3million for UK children’s charities, too. Meanwhile, two of Britain’s poshest motoring events get under way next week: 

  • Salon Privé (salonprive concours. com) at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, runs from Wednesday, August 31 to the Classic & Supercar public day on Sunday, ­September 4.
  • Concours of Elegance (concoursofelegance. co.uk) at Hampton Court Palace, from September 2 to 4, features 70 of the finest motor cars set among a further 1,000 vehicles. 

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