WHAT WE LIKE
- Handling quite sharp
- Ride comfort improvements
- Boot is large and deep
WHAT WE DON’T
- Volume controls on the screen are tiny up-and-down buttons
- Front and rear parking sensors optional on VTi-S
- Restricted rear vision caused by the positioning of small rear spoiler
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.
The 2015 Honda Civic hatch comes in three equipment levels, VTi-S, VTi-L and VTi-LN with prices ranging from $22,150 for a manual VTi-S to $31,090 for the automatic VTi-LN.
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.
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 104kW at 6500 rpm and 174Nm 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-LN 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.
Our only serious gripe is the restricted rear vision caused by the positioning of the small rear spoiler across the window
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 satnav (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.
It’s grown sufficiently over the years to the stage where it can be used as a family car
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.
2015 Honda Civic hatch list pricing
VTi-S 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $22,150 (manual), $24,450 (automatic)
VTi-L 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $26,990 (automatic)
VTi-LN 1.8-litre five-door hatch: $31,090 (automatic)
Price : From $22,150
Thirst : 6.5L/100km, 155g/km CO2 Tank 50L
Safety : 5-star ANCAP
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Service Interval : 6 months/10,000km
Engine : 1.798L 4-cyl petrol, 104kW/174Nm
Transmission : 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic, FWD
Spare : Space saver
Turning circle : 11m diameter
Dimensions : 4300mm (L), 1770mm (W), 1475mm (H)