Honda Civic has a long and distinguished history in Australia. It has been on sale here continuously since 1973 and has grown from a tiny two-door 1.2-litre sedan which revolutionised the design of small cars in Australia through nine generations into one of the classiest and most respected small-medium cars on our local market.
A truly global vehicle, the Civic hatch is manufactured in Britain and was developed with extensive testing throughout Europe. Its sedan sibling is built in Thailand.
That ninth generation Civic has been on sale here since February 2012 and had its refresh button tapped earlier this year with some minor design tweaks, new safety technology and infotainment improvements.
Already a good looking car the 2015 changes have made Civic even more eye-catching. There’s a new front grille with cross-hatch fill, new front and rear bumpers, side mouldings and rear spoiler together with new standard guided tube daytime running lights and guided tube tail lights.
As before the rear door handles are of the concealed variety further enhancing the car’s couple-like appearance.
The 2015 Honda Civic hatch comes in three equipment levels, VTi-S, VTi-L and VTi-LN with rrp ranging from $22,150 for a manual VTi-S to $31,090 for the automatic VTi-LN.
Interior space in the Civic hatchback is fine for four adults, with space in the centre-rear for another without too much discomfort. Despite the sleek appearance headroom is fine.
Soft-touch surface materials are used throughout to provide a quality feel, the steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustment and, in the VTi-L, is finished in extra-smooth leather with stitching.
We liked the complex double-decker styling of the dash and instrument area, with the digital speedo sitting high to make it easy to keep track of.
The boot is large and deep, the latter helped by the use of a space-saver spare beneath the floor. Capacity is 390 litres, extending to 1120 litres with the rear seatback folded and loaded to the window line. Luggage is reasonably easy to load through an opening that’s wide and practical.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Both Civic hatch variants come with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine producing 104 kW of power at 6500 rpm and 174 Nm of torque at 4300 rpm.
Civic VTi-S is available with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, while the VTi-L and VTi-N are five-speed auto only.
New for the 2015 Civic hatch is an enhanced safety technology called Agile Handling Assist System (AHAS) that combines with the car’s stability control system to improve stability and performance during cornering.
Front and rear parking sensors are now standard in the Civic VTi-L and VTi-LN models, but are an option in the VTi-S.
Other standard features include seven airbags; ABS brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce distribution; Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control; low tyre pressure warning system; and Honda G-force Control (G-Con) technology which reduces the of G-forces on occupants in the event of collision.
As before our only serious gripe is the restricted rear vision caused by the positioning of the small rear spoiler across the window. There is a positive side though in that the brake lights are positioned on either side and below the spoiler making them highly visible to following vehicles.
New for 2015 is Display Audio System which combines Bluetooth connectivity, audio streaming, mirroring functionality and display of the reversing camera and sat nav (only in the VTi-LN).
Disappointingly, the volume controls on the screen are tiny up-and-down buttons rather than the normal circular knob, a feature that is not only inconvenient but potentially dangerous because of the distraction needed to make adjustments. Fortunately there are steering wheels mounted controls.
Handling in the Civic hatch is quite sharp and it turns in neatly and positively. Steering is direct and well weighted, offering good road feedback.
Ride comfort is good as Honda has increased suspension travel and worked on recalibrating bushing compliance so they are more suited to rough and ready Australian country roads.
Fuel consumption during our test period was 7.1 litres per 100 km in Econ mode, within the ballpark of the listed 6.5 L/100 km.
Honda Civic hatch is a stylish, well-built and highly reputable small-to-medium car with an excellent nine-generation heritage. It’s grown sufficiently over the years to the stage where it can be used as a family car by those downsizing from a traditional large family car.
AT A GLANCE
Civic VTi-S 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $22,150 (manual), $24,450 (automatic)
Civic VTi-L 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $26,990 (automatic)
Civic VTi-N 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $31,090 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Honda dealer for drive-away prices.
ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Automatic Transmission: $2300 option in VTi-S, standard in VTi-L and VTi-N
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking sensors: Not offered in VTi-S, standard in VTi-L and VTi-N
Reversing Camera: Standard in all models
USB/Auxiliary Audio inputs: Standard in all models
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering wheel mounted controls: Standard in all models
SPECIFICATIONS (Honda Civic VTi-L 1.8-litre five-door hatch)
Capacity: 1.798 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Bore/Stroke: 81.0 mm x 87.3 mm
Maximum Power: 104 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 174 Nm @ 4300 rpm
Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Not offered in VTi-L
Automatic Transmission: Five-speed
Final Drive Ratio: 4.562:1
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4300 mm
Wheelbase: 2605 mm
Width: 1770 mm
Height: 1475 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1227 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Towing Ability: 500 kg (800 kg with braked trailer)
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Torsion beam, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc
0-100 km/h Acceleration: Not available
Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.5 L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: 7.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10
Three years/100,000 km