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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 9 April, 2020
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Review: The new Honda Civic saloon makes a compelling case as a great family car

An engaging drive with plenty of safety features too.

THE TENTH-generation Honda Civic went on sale in Ireland earlier this year. The new model came with a new platform, new engines and new transmissions and now, there is a new bodystyle too – the four-door saloon. (Well, this bodystyle is new to Ireland, but has been on sale in other markets for sometime now.)

The saloon model isn’t hugely different from the hatchback apart from the now sloping roofline, raised haunches and rear end shape. Around the back you’ll also find new light clusters that mark the saloon out from the hatch. The styling is a touch toned-down too which might suit those with more conservative tastes.

It has similar proportions to the Honda Accord and the boot at 519 litres is 41 litres bigger than the hatchback model when the rear seats are in place. The boot opens wide and is a really good shape and pretty deep too, but obviously it isn’t as practical as the hatchback opening. However, those 60/40 split rear seats do tumble down increasing carrying capacity.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The four-door Civic can be had with a 126hp 1.0-litre VTEC petrol engine mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. Petrol options start at €24,750.

My test car was powered by the only diesel engine on offer, a 120hp 1.6-litre i-DTEC unit mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This can also be had with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Prices for the diesel start at €26,550.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The diesel feels punchy with its maximum 300Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm, but it will happily hit the high revs without running out of steam. The engine is refined and smooth and with an unladen car feels brisk even in the higher gears. It feels right at home on the motorway and makes for a pleasant and comfortable cruiser.

Source: Melanie May

The six-speed manual gearshift has nice short and precise throws and this combined with the direct steering and sorted chassis makes for an engaging family car – better to drive than most of its rivals.

Over rougher road surfaces the suspension set-up does a decent job of soaking up the lumps and bumps and, much like the hatchback version, the saloon feels planted and confident in and out of corners giving a composed and compliant ride.

Source: Melanie May

Adding to its appeal as a great family motor is the ‘Sensing’ suite of safety features that comes with all Civics. This includes lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and a very good adaptive cruise control system.

The interior is the same as the hatchback in terms of style and space. It is a practical cabin with loads of storage. Entry-level ‘Smart’ models don’t get a touchscreen infotainment system but from the second trim level, ‘Smart Plus’ a seven-inch colour touchscreen comes as standard. This infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The system isn’t as slick looking or as modern as those found in rival cars, but it is easy to use with nice big graphics and buttons. (Perfect for my fat fingers and failing eyesight.)

Source: Dave Humphreys

Overall, the Honda Civic is one of the better-to-drive mainstream family cars on the market. It has a family-friendly cabin and offers great peace of mind with its safety suite and five-star safety rating. The diesel engine is cheap to run with tax rated at €180 a year and a claimed fuel economy of 3.5 litres/100km.

The saloon bodystyle is a great addition to the range offering more luggage space when those back seats are in use – but also a sleeker more elegant look for those who find the styling of the hatchback that bit too much.

Source: Dave Humphreys

READ: How to reduce your car’s emissions >

READ: Review – The Volvo V60 is more than a match for the big German estates >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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