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Honda Civic 1.5 Prestige auto road test

Honda Civic 1.5 Prestige auto road test

We try the new Honda Civic with the CVT automatic gearbox

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R Prototype revealed in Paris

Honda Civic Type RAn all-new Honda Civic Type R will go on sale in 2017 and the Japanese firm is previewing the new hot hatch with a bold Type R Prototype at the Paris Motor Show.

Finished in an eyecatching brushed aluminium-effect paint job, it further enhances the attitude of the current all-new Civic (also launching here at Paris) with more muscular bodywork and many of the radical aero features seen on the current Type R.

There’s a carbon fibre splitter at the front, complete with wings and red accents, plus more air cooling in the bumper and an air scoop on the bonnet (Subaru fans, rejoice). Smoked light lenses give menace; a red ‘H’ Honda badge depicts it as a proper Type R.

Honda Civic Type R

More carbon fibre is used to make the side skirts, which sit between 20-inch alloys: they’re so big, they wheelarches have had to be enlarged to swallow them.

Honda Civic Type R

At the rear, all eyes will be on the humungous rear wing that Honda understatedly calls ‘visually striking’. There’s also yet more carbon fibre for the rear diffuser, a central exhaust tailpipe and yet more red detailing.

Honda will reveal the new Civic Type R Prototype at the Paris show later this afternoon – but, based on what we’ve seen here, plus given how the current regular Civic emerged so similar-looking to the bold prototype that previously impressed us, put good money on a new Type R emerging in showrooms looking not dissimilar to this hot hatch star later next year…

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

New 2017 Honda Civic revealed: bolder, better, and British

New 2017 Honda Civic HatchHonda IS Civic. And the current Civic is, admits the firm, not good enough. Enter an all-new one for 2017: the 10th generation car, which represents the single biggest development leap for any Civic generation, ever. Honda means business, people.

Even better news for Britain, the all-new Civic hatch is a UK-built car – and the Swindon factory is the world production hub for the new five-door model. 160,000 or more will annually be built there and sent all around the world, including to North America. So the new Civic hatch is a hugely significant car. And we’ve seen it, and sat in it, and ridden in it: here’s what you need to know.

What’s the big news?

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Isn’t the new 2017 Civic far prettier, sportier and stylish? Honda knew today’s upright, gawky model needed to change: the new Civic is thus lower, longer, wider, has a longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs. Visually, it’s a completely different proposition to the current model.

Honda says three keywords were tattooed onto the eyelids of everyone involved with the project: make the new Civic more distinctive, more exciting, more refined. “The last generation lost the essence of Civic,” admits global project leader Mitsuru Kariya. “It was too conservative, and our competitors got better. Civic was under pressure.” This is Honda’s response.

Civic sport

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Some previous Civics were sportier than others: Honda wants this one to be the sportiest-looking yet, to move it on from the current car. Taking some of the boldness of today’s Civic Type R, the new model looks the business even in mainstream grades. You’ll spot it coming from a distance: all models feature hockey stick-shaped LED running lights, and full LED lights are available.

Sleeker Civic

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Sleek, isn’t it? The new Civic is wider, longer and lower than any of the nine Civics before it, impressively – and a hefty 130mm longer, 30mm wider and 20mm lower than today’s car. Wheels are bigger, overhangs smaller and there’s more than a trace of new NSX supercar in the details and features throughout. Beneath, the platform is 16kg lighter and, more significantly, 52% stiffer, which promises great things for the on-the-road drive.

New engines…

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Under the bonnet are two brand new turbo petrol VTEC engines; a 1.0-litre three-cylinder (replacing today’s 1.4) producing 129hp and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder (replacing the current 1.8) producing 182hp – both very punchy power figures indeed. Choose either with a snappy six-speed manual or a CVT automatic that Honda promises us won’t be horrible. A few months after launch, the third Civic engine choice will arrive: an updated version of today’s 120hp 1.6-litre turbodiesel.

… And new chassis

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Hidden below the cool twin centre-exit exhausts that sports-grade new Civics get is an all-new suspension setup – that includes, pleasingly, a multi-link rear end. Honda got rid of this expensive suspension type on the current Civic, but has bought it back on the 10th generation car. Not only that, you can also get optional adaptive suspension, which Kariya-san told us he’s very excited about.

Interior revolution

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

If you thought the outside of the new Civic was a leap on, wait until you step inside. Gone is the low-rent, plasticky feel of today’s model and in comes a cockpit far more premium, upmarket and good quality. It’s a massive step forward for the Civic; sitting within it, you’ll think Germanic and upmarket rather than cheap and not particularly cheerful.

Infotainment upgrade

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

A semi-freestanding infotainment system is as modern as the current system is unpleasant. The Honda Connect system has a fast new processor, and combines Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Below it are good-to-push buttons, a typically-lovely Honda gearshift and, throughout, assembly standards that define precision.

Grown-up toys

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The nasty, garish split-screen instrument panel of the current Civic has been ditched for a modern TFT configurable display screen. This looks super-smart and is hooked up to the infotainment system so it can show full-colour mapping right ahead of the driver. It’s considerably more sophisticated and good-looking.

Better driving position

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The driving position of the new Civic is much-improved. We sat behind the wheel of a prototype and found the bigger seats much lower and more comfortable, the controls layout more natural, the gearstick positioned in a better place to make best use of its quick-fire nature. The current car feels a bit like an MPV: this one is much more like a sporty, low-slung family hatch, and customers are more likely to find it appealing as a result.

Concept teaser

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Honda first teased the new British-built Civic hatch at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, and we’re pleased to discover just how much like it the production model looks. The showroom car IS this car, minus the lime green detailing and matt paint.

From America to England

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The new Civic hatch is the third model in the new line to be launched: over in America, the Civic sedan and coupe have already scooped the North American Car of the Year prize. Honda engineered all three in Japan at the same time, pouring huge resources into creating the all-new platform that will help make all three ultra-competitive.

But what about the Type R?

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

You can’t go too far into discussing a new Honda Civic before the question of a new Type R comes up. Officially, the firm is saying nothing. Unofficially, we’d put good money on a new Type R coming sooner rather than later, perhaps using a further-upgraded version of today’s engine. All the ingredients – the multi-link rear suspension, the adaptive damper technology, the already-stylish looks – are in place to potentially make it truly heroic.

Goodbye, current Civic hatch

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The arrival of the new Civic hatch means goodbye to the current ninth generation car. Developed during the global economic crisis, this was a cautious Honda developing a conservative car seemingly on a tight budget. It was worthy but simply wasn’t good enough to take on the best. It’s taught Honda a lesson, alright.

Current Tourer tours on

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

But the arrival of the new Civic does not mean the end of the current car. It will live on for a few more years in Tourer estate guise: Honda’s huge Swindon factory is flexible enough to allow both cars to coexist on the same line. In time, of course, you’d have to assume a new Civic Tourer would arrive… unless Honda’s decided the limited Euro-centric sales potential of the new car simply doesn’t justify its development?

Hands on: new Honda Civic

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

We had the chance to have a thorough rummage around the new Civic. And we were impressed. It looks really good, with crisp and distinctive lines dominated by that bold front end. It even looks more premium: Honda’s installed a new paint facility that applies a glossy, shiny clearcoat to give it a more sparking appearance.

Blobby to bold

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The current Civic is a pretty blobby thing. The new one has a swooper, more coupe-like rear, enhanced by contoured rear wheelarches and cool wrap-around tail lights. The bold black insets are part of the sport-grade Civic, but all will share the same distinctive lines. Pride of place sit those great centre-exit tailpipes.

Actively safe

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

Visibility seems better in the new Civic, not least because the front end is lower. The windscreen is much deeper, so you don’t feel so perched when sitting inside it. This more panoramic visibility is a famed feature of the Honda NSX and it’s nice to see the company carry it over to here. It’ll be safe, too: all UK Civics, impressively, get Honda Sensing active safety as standard, a camera- and radar-based system that includes active city braking, active cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

Stowage aplenty

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The current Civic is curiously both practical and frustrating. The new one demonstrates much clearer thinking and more intelligent ergonomic planning: the centre console is deep (and has a sliding cover, facilitated by an electronic parking brake), there’s not only space for a smartphone but an integrated wireless phone charger to juice it up, and even the door pockets are more cleverly designed than the current car.

Big boot remains

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

The current Civic has a massive boot, over 470 litres compared to a Golf’s 380 litres. The new one is bigger still: 478 litres, with a wide opening, flat load bay and, brilliantly, the most ingenious side-retract load bay cover you’ve ever seen. Folded up, it’s tiny: showroom appeal overload.

What next for the new Honda Civic?

New 2017 Honda Civic Hatch

So there it is, the new British-built Honda Civic hatch in all its glory. It’s already being shipped over to the United States and, next in the story is the Paris Motor Show public debut of the European one. Sales here will start in Q1 2016, with the diesel arriving later in the year, and we for one can’t wait. The new Civic looks good, feels great and has the mechanical promise to be a huge leap on from today’s car. Do we have a new class front-runner on our hands? The signs are good…

Honda Civic Type R – 2009

Honda Civic Type R is this summer's hottest used car

Honda Civic Type R – 2009The most heroic used car you should be looking at this Bank Holiday weekend is the Honda Civic Type R, says Glass’s – and it’s probably better secondhand than it ever was when new, adds the automotive data provider.

The second generation Civic Type R, sold between 2006-2011, “was never quite in the front rank of hot hatches (when new) but it makes a really strong buy used”, said Glass’s used car editor Rob Donaldson.

“The dramatic looks have aged well, performance is on a par with rivals and Honda build quality means that it should rack up high mileages with few difficulties.”

In naming the Honda Civic Type R its used car hero for August, Glass’s reckons the Brit-built Japanese car’s outstanding value, quality and ability help nudge it ahead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI on the used market.

It’s also cheaper than the Golf GTI secondhand: Glass’s says the best buy, a 2009 car in Championship White, can be bought with 75,000 miles on the clock for £6,000 – that’s £1,000 less than a comparable Golf GTI.

All Civic Type R are well equipped, adds Donaldson, “but if you can find one, the GT model adds a few worthwhile extras like climate and cruise control, and folding mirrors.”

The only downside to its hot hatch hot weather hero choice for August is an unyielding ride, but the otherwise excellent driving experience, purposeful styling and a good looking Recaro interior all make up for it.

Glass’s Honda Civic Type R hero worship comes as Honda of America confirms there’ll be an all-new Civic Type R in 2017 – just two years after the current champ went on sale.

Honda Civic Type R – 2009

Honda Civic Type R is this summer’s hottest used car

Honda Civic Type R – 2009The most heroic used car you should be looking at this Bank Holiday weekend is the Honda Civic Type R, says Glass’s – and it’s probably better secondhand than it ever was when new, adds the automotive data provider.

The second generation Civic Type R, sold between 2006-2011, “was never quite in the front rank of hot hatches (when new) but it makes a really strong buy used”, said Glass’s used car editor Rob Donaldson.

“The dramatic looks have aged well, performance is on a par with rivals and Honda build quality means that it should rack up high mileages with few difficulties.”

In naming the Honda Civic Type R its used car hero for August, Glass’s reckons the Brit-built Japanese car’s outstanding value, quality and ability help nudge it ahead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI on the used market.

It’s also cheaper than the Golf GTI secondhand: Glass’s says the best buy, a 2009 car in Championship White, can be bought with 75,000 miles on the clock for £6,000 – that’s £1,000 less than a comparable Golf GTI.

All Civic Type R are well equipped, adds Donaldson, “but if you can find one, the GT model adds a few worthwhile extras like climate and cruise control, and folding mirrors.”

The only downside to its hot hatch hot weather hero choice for August is an unyielding ride, but the otherwise excellent driving experience, purposeful styling and a good looking Recaro interior all make up for it.

Glass’s Honda Civic Type R hero worship comes as Honda of America confirms there’ll be an all-new Civic Type R in 2017 – just two years after the current champ went on sale.

2015 Honda Civic Type-R

New Honda Civic Type-R confirmed for 2017

2015 Honda Civic Type-RThe all-new Honda Civic Type-R will launch in 2017, Honda has confirmed – less than a year after the roll-out of the new UK-built 10th-generation Civic hatchback.

It means that, unlike with today’s car, hot hatch fans won’t have to wait years for a new high-performance Civic to arrive.

The quick launch of the new Civic Type-R means it is likely to go on sale little more than two years after the launch of the current 306hp turbo VTEC model. This would bolster the collectability of the latest model.

According to Honda North America, the new Civic Type-R is likely to be just as thrilling as the existing ninth-generation model: it’s described the car as “radical” in confirming it will launch in the U.S. in 2017.

Honda North America’s expose of model plans for the new Civic Type-R also underline the fact it will be derived from the Euro-spec five-door hatchback, so once again be built in the UK.

The production version of the new Honda Civic will make its pubic debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

What will the new Civic Type R be like?

2017 Honda Civic

The new 10th generation Civic is built upon an all-new platform that, unlike the recent few Civics, returns to fully independent rear suspension. This will delight Honda purists who believe the firm’s cars should always come with the most well-engineered suspension possible.

An independent rear is certain to enhance the hot new Type-R as well.

The current cars has some trick engineering to overcome the compromises of a solid rear axle: standard adaptive dampers up the skill levels and allowed the engineers to offset the suspension’s more restricted pool of abilities. But it would undoubtedly be a better car with more finesse if it had a fully independent rear end.

A stiffer architecture will be a further boon, as will the fact Honda engineers seemingly are developing the Type-R from day one, rather than adapting an existing platform to create one.

It’s likely Honda will use a version of the current 2.0-litre VTEC turbo engine though, rather than develop an all-new one. This motor was created fresh for the current Type-R and it’s thus not necessary to make another all-new one.

Indeed, perhaps this is why the engine has so much power in today’s Type-R: Honda was future-proofing it with the all-new 2017 Civic Type-R in mind…

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

New 2017 Honda Civic hatchback: official

2017 Honda Civic HatchbackThe new Honda Civic hatchback has been officially revealed by Honda North America after earlier being scooped by the firm setting sail across the Atlantic.

The Swindon, UK-built five-door is the first hatchback to be sold in the U.S. and it seems the firm is getting rather excited about it – rushing out details of the new car ahead of its European colleagues who developed and will build the car.

The official studio images confirm the new Civic hatchback will be little-changed from the striking concept car revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show; Honda’s even showing the new car in a similar matt grey paint finish (sadly sans the lime green detailing of the concept).

Honda North America’s anticipation stems from the fact this 10th generation Civic, in saloon and Coupe guise, is the reigning 2016 North American Car of the Year; it’s expected the new five-door hatch will be similarly impressive.

To be launched in autumn 2017 – hence the boat-loads of new Civics now headed across the Atlantic – Honda North America has confirmed further details about the new Civic hatch.

It’s to be offered with just a single engine initially: a new 1.5-litre direct injection turbo, producing either 174hp or 180hp – the extra 6hp comes on Sport models, which have a high-flow centre-exit exhaust (as featured on the Geneva Motor Show concept car).

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

Pair it either with a six-speed manual or a so-called “sporty” CVT: Honda says the latter will deliver class-leading fuel economy. European cars will also get an upgraded version of Honda’s 1.6-litre i-DTEC turbodiesel.

Following criticism of the down-specced suspension on the current model, the new Civic hatch returns to independent suspension front and rear, with fancy liquid-filled bushings. The bodyshell is stiffer, to further aid ride and handling, and the electric power steering is promisingly described as “sport-tuned” with variable ratios.

It will be big, too: class-leading volume includes the best rear legroom and the biggest boot in its sector. Those in the back will even enjoy the option of heated rear seats.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

Honda’s current dreary infotainment system will get a big lift with a new Honda Display Audio system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Civic hatch has been jointly developed by Honda in Europe and Japan, says Honda North America: the Swindon, UK plant will be the only one in the world producing it. And Honda U.S. enthusiasts can’t wait for it to arrive.

“The Civic Hatch has been a staple for Honda in Europe, but has long been the forbidden fruit for Honda fans in the U.S.,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

“Now, we’re bringing this sporty, stylish and versatile Civic Hatchback to North America, as we amp up the performance of our incredible Civic lineup with each new Civic model.”

More news on the European-spec new Civic hatch is expected in coming weeks: it will make its motor show debut at Paris next month.

New Honda Civic (2017 U.S.)

New Honda Civic hatchback revealed in U.S. export surpise

New Honda Civic (2017 U.S.)Honda has revealed the production-spec new Civic hatchback in a surprise official scoop as the first Swindon, UK-built export-spec five-doors set sail for the United States.

Looking all but identical to the concept model revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the production Civic hatchback boasts the same bold lines and edgy, eye-catching graphics: it seems the concept was closer to production-spec than we first realised.

The distinctive centre-exit exhausts of the concept are missing – these may come on the mooted new Civic Type-R version – but the distinctive wrap-around tail lights and bold rear bumper design remain.

New Honda Civic (2017 U.S.)

The bulges in the front and rear wheelarches and greater form in the side panels will, along with the more rakish profile, contrast strongly with the current blocky and upright design – this new Civic is likely to find much more favour with customers.

Civics are being exported from Swindon now in readiness for the 10th generation models’ autumn launch because Britain is now the global production hub for the new five-door Civic. A £200 million investment in Swindon secured the plant’s future to build the all-new model.

It’s described as one of Honda’s most comprehensive new model developments ever.

The European version of the new Civic has still to be officially revealed, however: it’s expected to be uncovered in September ahead of the new car’s 2016 Paris Motor Show debut. But it’s unlikely to differ greatly from the U.S. version revealed here though – that’s the whole point of producing a single design at a single location for global markets.

New Honda Civic (2017 U.S.)

Philip Webb, head of cars at Honda UK, said: “Our factory in Swindon will export the model to other key markets around Europe and the rest of the world.”

And UK sales of the new UK-built car? “Production of the hatchback for the UK market will commence towards the end of 2016, with sales beginning in the first quarter of 2017.”

Fastest hot hatches

The 10 fastest hot hatches around the Nurburgring

Fastest hot hatcheshe Nurburgring is the world’s most notorious racetrack. Its 13 miles of tortuously twisty tarmac serve as a proving ground for new cars – with manufacturers competing to set the lowest lap times.

As Volkswagen launches its new track-oriented new Golf Clubsport S, we’re celebrating the 10 fastest hot hatchbacks ever to lap the Nurburgring. Let the countdown commence…

Fastest hot hatches10. Volkswagen Golf R32 

Lap time: 8min 53.0sec

Golf GTI not fast enough? In 2003, Volkswagen launched the 240hp Golf R32, with the 250hp Mk5 version seen here following in 2005. It boasted a 3.2-litre VR6 engine and four-wheel drive.

Lapping the Nurburgring in less than nine minutes is no mean feat for a car as comfortable and family-focused as the Golf R32. Interestingly, the car was actually faster to 62mph (6.2sec) when fitted with Volkswagen’s DSG semi-automatic gearbox.

Fastest hot hatches9. Vauxhall Astra VXR Nurburgring

Lap time: 8min 35.0sec

A dedicated Nurburgring special edition? Yep, and Vauxhall built 835 of them to celebrate the car’s 8min 35sec lap time. A Corsa VXR Nurburgring followed in 2011.

For £1,500 more than the standard VXR, you got an extra 15hp, a Remus exhaust, white alloy wheels and lots of stickers. Alternatively, replicate the look yourself with one of those two-quid Nurburgring stickers off eBay…

Fastest hot hatches8. Ford Focus ST (2005)

Lap time: 8min 35.0sec

Fast and (usually) orange, the original Focus ST matched the 8min 35sec time of its arch-rival Astra. Its 225hp five-cylinder engine came from Volvo and is famously thirsty when driven hard.

Today, you can buy estate and diesel versions of the ST, but the 2005 original remains our favourite. Like many fast Fords, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s more characterful than a contemporary Golf GTI.

Fastest hot hatches7. Ford Focus RS

Lap time: 8min 26.0sec

Brightly-coloured fast Fords, you say? Meet the daddy. The Mk2 Focus RS is a modern classic, with in-yer-face styling and a mighty 305hp turbocharged four-pot.

Ford hasn’t attempted the ’Ring in the latest (Mk3) Focus RS yet. However, with 350hp, it’s likely to be even quicker. We reckon the Ultimate Green paint seen here is worth a least 10 seconds off the lap time….

Fastest hot hatches6. Renault Megane RS R26.R

Lap time: 8min 16.90sec

Meet the first in a string of ever-faster Renault Meganes competing for top honours at the Nurburgring. The R26.R was the most extreme version of the ‘shaking that ass’ Mk2 Megane. Only 450 were made.

This isn’t your typical hot hatchback. The stripped-out R26.R has no rear seats, passenger airbags or radio. Crucially, it came shod with super-sticky Michelin or Toyo tyres, which were biased for track (and dry weather) use.

Fastest hot hatches5. Renault Megane RS Trophy

Lap time: 8min 7.97sec

Another Megane, this time the – even faster – third-generation car. The limited-edition RS Trophy boasted 265hp and a top speed of nearly 160mph. Heady stuff for a hot hatch.

More impressive, though, was the Trophy’s ability to go around corners. It lapped the Nurburgring in 8min 7.97sec – without resorting to the extreme weight-loss measures of its R26.R predecessor.

Fastest hot hatches4. SEAT Leon Cupra

Lap time: 7min 58.4sec

Spanish carmaker SEAT is known for breaking ’Ring records – its Leon ST Cupra 280 is currently the fastest estate to lap the track. The hatchback Cupra can’t make that claim, but it still edges under eight minutes.

The record-breaking (at the time) Leon was fitted with beefed-up Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – both available as part of SEAT’s Performance Pack option. The Cupra has since gained an extra 10hp, potentially making it even quicker.

Fastest hot hatches3. Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R

Lap time: 7min 54.36sec

Our third Megane – and the fastest to date – is the RS 275 Trophy-R. The car was developed in response to SEAT breaking the front-wheel-drive record with the Leon Cupra 280, and it succeeded in taking the title back.

The 2014 Trophy-R was a serious performance machine with race-style Ohlins dampers, bigger front brakes and polycarbonate Recaro seats. With no air conditioning or radio, it’s more suited to track days than trips to Tesco.

Fastest hot hatches2. Honda Civic Type R

Lap time: 7min 50.63sec

As a statement of intent, launching a new hot hatch by setting a 7min 50.63sec Nurburgring lap time takes some beating. The bodykitted Civic really is as fast as its furious styling suggests.

Honda set its lap time with a car ‘in a standard state of tune’. However, it did admit removing ‘equipment such as air conditioning, the front passenger seat and audio equipment’ in order to ‘offset the additional weight of a full roll cage (installed specifically for safety reasons and not to add rigidity)’.

Fastest hot hatches1. Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

Lap time: 7min 49.21sec

That brings us to the current Nurburgring record-holder: the VW Golf GTI Clubsport S. Built to mark 40 years of the Golf GTI, the 310hp hatchback has been dubbed ‘the GT3 of GTIs’.

The Clubsport S is even quicker than the four-wheel-drive Golf R and only 400 will be made. Thank a strict weight-saving diet, including a smaller battery, less sound deadening and no rear seats. Hey, nobody said giant-killing hot hatches had to practical.