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Honda adds saloon to Civic range

Honda's Civic has been a favourite hatchback since the early 1970s. Now, for the first time, they've added a saloon version

WHAT'S NEW?

Honda's all-new Civic was updated for 2017, but this summer the Japanese manufacturer has gone one step further and added a saloon version.

The new model, the first ever four-door model in the range uses the same platform as the hatch, and also the same range of engines and transmission. But the simple fact of foraying into saloon territory instead of hatch shows Honda is thinking laterally. Expect other manufacturers who don't have such an addition to their line-up to follow suit - assuming this experiment is a success, of course.

The existing hatchback range, all-new last year, is the tenth - yes, tenth generation of the Civic, which first appeared back in 1972 Japan. Twenty million plus sales later it's one of the most enduring vehicles on the car scene, helped by an eye-catching 2006 makeover that introduced revolutionary trapezoidal twin tail pipes and an assertive front end shape. And it's been constantly evolving ever since. The 2017 renewal brought the car bang up do date, and saw it emerge as lower, longer and wider than its predecessors, and bristling with new tech and safety equipment.

LOOKS AND IMAGE

The overall new look of the latest generation Civic is more subtle: it boasts a fresh and sporty exterior styling with a little less of the harsh edges of old, with a swept back silhouette, sharper lines and low and wide proportions to lend it a more 'planted' feel. New larger and wider wheels and tyres further emphasise the wide stance, there is a contemporary interpretation of Honda's family 'face', incorporating the signature Honda front headlight clusters. You'll really only notice the Civic saloon from the side and rear; the familiar upright opening hatchback has been remodelled into a closed boot you'll see on traditional saloons.

 

The saloon is wider, longer, and lower than any of its predecessors, with a short front overhang and tauter lines.

A sharp and aggressive 'face' and more pronounced wheel-arches hint at the saloon's sportingcharacter (although the hatch is pretty sporty, too). The seating position is again lower to give the driver a greater feeling of connection with the car, and the new saloon is said to combine unrivalled passenger and luggage space with versatile, practical usability Otherwise, the cabin is the same as the hatch. All models feature LED daytime running lights; posher models also get fancy LED headlights or projector halogen bulbs. Honda boasts that the new Civic has the best driving experience, yet with a chassis that is 16 kg lighter than that of the previous generation Civic, but with 52% greater torsional stiffness.

All-new suspension, a lower centre of gravity, a boost in body rigidity, and front-end MacPherson strut suspension are all said to add further dimensions to the Civic's sporty character on the road, all of which appear in the saloon as well as the hatch.

UNDER THE BONNET

The new Civic was the first model in Europe to offer Honda's new VTEC 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engines, both available teamed with a newly-designed six-speed manual transmission or a CVT Automatic. The saloon version follows the same power plant line-up as the hatch. Official emissions and efficiency figures for the new saloon are very good, starting from a tax-free 91g/km CO2 for the 1.6 i-DTEC manual, which will deliver up to 83.1mpg.

The range's diesel automatic will officially deliver up to 68.9mpg and emits 108g/km CO2.

The petrol version is almost as clean with 107g/km CO2 for the CVT while the manual petrol emits 110g/km CO2, making the Civic four-door one of the cleanest saloons in its class, according to the manufacturer. The petrol engines are efficient, too, officially delivering up to 58.9mpg for the manual and 60.1mpg for the CVT.

TRIM LEVELS AND PRICE

As expected, there is a very slight price premium over the standard Civic hatchback.

The entry-level SE petrol model with manual transmission will start from £19,395 on the road, rising to £27,120 for a top-spec EX diesel automatic, again on the road. As previously predicted, trim levels mirror those of the existing hatchback model with SE, SR and EX trims available.

Even the entry level SE grade is well equipped, including Honda SENSING suite of safety features, collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. SR grade adds rain sensing auto wipers, dual climate control air conditioning, parking sensors and Honda CONNECT (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and a rear parking camera. The EX trim further includes leather seats, smart entry and start, LED headlights with washers, LED fog lights, wireless phone charging and heated rear seats. There's a decent PCP pricing offer too - with monthly payments of £259 a month on a three year, 10,000 mile contract on 5.9% APR for a 1.6 i-DTEC SR manual, for example.

TECH AND SAFETY

Naturally, the saloon version gets the same new redesigned centre console as the hatch, including a seven-inch Honda Connect 2 colour touchscreen housed at the top of the centre console. Inside this you'll experience the second-generation of Honda's Connect infotainment and connectivity system, with full smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which both open up a whole world of mobile communications. The final big advancement is in safety, with Honda deploying, as in the hatch, its Sensing suite of driver assist technologies that uses radar, sensor and camera information to help the driver in potentially dangerous scenarios.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The Civic's appeal is wide and varied from singles, to couples and families. The saloon completes the line-up, and will likely further assist Honda picking up sales with fleet and corporate customers.

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