Honda Civic review

Honda Civic e:HEV

We’ve been road testing the all-new Honda Civic, and it’s no surprise to us that it’s been winning awards…

The first Honda Civic was launched 50 years ago and it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world. Now it’s the turn of the 11th generation Civic, which is only available as a full hybrid, so there’s no need to plug it in.

Officially marketed as the ‘Civic e:HEV’, it’s an old school, family-friendly hatchback. Refreshing, when the market is awash with SUVs.

At 4,551mm long, 1,802mm wide and 1,408mm high, the substantial new Civic is the longest, widest and lowest hatchback in its class.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The advantage of the increased wheelbase over the outgoing model is that it creates extra cabin space.

So, there’s plenty of room up front, while rear passengers have space to stretch their legs, and only very tall people will struggle for headroom.

The boot is a generous 410 litres, rising to 1,220 litres with the back seats flipped down, while the load space is long and wide.

The interior represents a real step up in terms of quality and functionality. There’s a solid feel overall, the seats are comfortable and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The infotainment system isn’t the slickest, but does the job nicely. Most of all, the dashboard is not too minimalist – there are still dials and buttons for essentials such as climate control, radio volume, heated seats and drive mode selection.

At the heart of the latest Civic is Honda’s clever e:hev hybrid powertrain, which is a scaled up version of the system also used in the smaller Jazz and HR-V.

Unlike hybrid systems from most other car makers, the 2.0-litre engine acts as a generator to power the battery rather than the wheels for much of the time, so it runs in EV mode as much as possible.

However, at higher speeds or under heavy loads, it can send drive straight to the front wheels. What’s more, the e-CVT transmission isn’t a conventional gearbox either, but I’ll come to that later.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (141bhp) is paired with two electric motors and a small 1.05kWh battery, giving a combined output of 181bhp.

Official figures tell much of the story, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a 111mph top speed. CO2 emissions are as low as 108g/km, while fuel economy is up to 60.1mpg.

Until the new Civic Type R hits showrooms, buyers will have to make do with just the one hybrid powertrain.

Priced from £29,595, the Civic e:HEV is offered in one of three specs – Elegance, Sport and Advance.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Entry-level Elegance gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a 7.0 digital instrument cluster, plus a 9.0-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Safety and driver assistance features include lane-keep assist and traffic jam assist.

Sport models boast 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, as well as black door mirrors and window frames. Inside, there’s faux leather upholstery and sportier pedals.

The range-topping Advance is treated to 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, full leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a larger 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Once inside, it’s immediately clear that you’re driving a rakish, fairly wide hatchback. If you’re used to the raised seating and commanding driving position of an SUV, it may take a while to acclimatise to the new Civic.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

I love a low seating position. In fact, I would have preferred a little more downward adjustment, but overall, it’s a relaxed and comfortable place to be.

There’s plenty of poke, thanks to that electrical assistance, but the biggest surprise is the e-CVT gearbox.

The boffins at Honda have done their best to eradicate the sudden rise in revs you generally get when you put your foot down in a car with a conventional CVT box.

Instead, there are ‘steps’, giving the feel of conventional transmission ratios. It’s still not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

There are three drive modes (Econ, Normal and Sport). Go for Econ on motorway journeys and 50 mpg is easily achieved, Normal is just fine for everyday driving, while Sport is fun for blasts on more challenging roads. The e-CVT works best in Normal and Sport modes.

The hybrid system is efficient and smooth, while the regenerative braking can be adjusted. At its strongest setting, it’s almost at one-pedal level, slowing the car down virtually to a halt whilst charging up the battery.

The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, but generally it’s a great all-rounder – happy cruising motorways and stretching its legs on more engaging roads.

In fact, the new Civic offers a surprisingly agile drive. When pushed, it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, the Civic is fitted with Honda Sensing (a suite of safety and driver assistance features) which includes goodies such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collison Mitigation Brake System, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Auto High-Beam Headlights as standard.

Rivals include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Ceed, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.

Verdict: The Honda Civic is a fantastic all-rounder. A family-focused hatchback that’s sleek, safe, practical, well built and economical, it’s rewarding to drive and packed with the latest tech. Add Honda’s reputation for reliability and it’s right up there with the best in its class.

Honda UK

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing Pulls It Off! We Test Audi’s Entry A3

Sexy Audi A3 35 TFSi Sportback is Actually a Versatile All-Rounder

If the ’22 Audi S3 Sportback seemed a tad too conventional for its purpose, then its kid brother A3 35 TFSI Sportback looks pumped up for the common garden base mode it is. In fact, at a cursory glance, you’d probably be forgiven for thinking it is an S3. So yes, A3 really looks the part. Those same edgy flanks even have what the Sport lot call quattro blisters. So, it appears fit. And this one’s S line get-up comprising sporty bumpers, sports suspension, an S style spoiler and more, plus shiny 18-inch alloys add to the effect.


Macho Looks May Create Expectations

Boasting edgy, if conventional headlights bearing classy daylight running strips and a bold grille design, aerodynamics are improved over the car it replaces. Although it’s only available in a Sedan in the US, the A3 Sportback is popular in other markets and similarly grows an inch longer to 14.34 ft and 6 feet wide. But it rides on the same 8.5 ft wheelbase. The trunk holds between 13.4 and 42.3 cu.ft and ours had a power tailgate too.

So, while the S3 Sportback seemed a bit reserved, this one’s macho, good-looking and aggressive. For what it is, that is. Unlike its wolf in sheep’s clothing big brother however, this one’s the other way around. Not that there’s anything wrong with 8.7 seconds to 60. It’s good enough to do the job. There’s a sufficient 147 HP and 185 lb.-ft on tap to do the job out of its 1400 cc gas turbo lump. And it feels bigger than that, truth be told. That said, the US A3 comes with a 201 HP 221 lb.-ft 2-litre turbo good for 6.6 seconds to 60 mph.

This one swaps cogs via an 8-speed Tiptronic autobox and feeds its torque to the front wheels. It employs a four-link rear axle with drive select dynamic handling. Efficient and easy cruising, ride quality is refined and A3 is comfy, too. Yet it handles and holds the road well and provides good enough quality driver feedback. Some of our more adventurous pilots found the steering, accelerator, and brakes to be a touch too sensitive. Still, most everything this base Audi A3 does, is on the right side of average.

A3 35

Find A3’s Biggest Plusses Are Inside

A3’s biggest advantages however come inside. Finely crafted around the driver in an impressive specification, it’s a classy space. It boasts that typical high Audi build quality and packs in a fair bit of gadgetry. That cool new gear switch, edgy inlays, striking wedge-like door handles, and a black-finish instrument panel come together well.

Crisp, easy to use, and responsive, Audi’s CarPlay and Android Auto packed 10.1” third-generation MMI touch screen infotainment with fully integrated connectivity and Car-to-X swarm intelligence, is a treat to use. We noticed that the touchscreen seemed warped around the edges. And not that it eliminates our hatred of touchscreen systems, but we did enjoy the haptic touch. We really don’t like that daft touch dial volume adjustment though. Why not just a physical dial?

Operated via the multifunction steering wheel, gesture, or natural speech control, our Sportback had 180W 10-speaker digital radio sound, latest MIB 3 Function on Demand tech Traffic Sign Recognition and Enhanced Navigation too. Audi’s triple Dynamic, Sport, and Classic-themed 12.3” virtual cockpit is another highlight. Ours also came with full ten airbag Audi pre sense safety including front, parking assist, and lane departure warnings. Lane change, exit and cross traffic systems are optional. And all that applies to the US version too

A3 35

Don’t Worry, You Can Spec Yours Up!

Don’t be too concerned if this one isn’t precisely what you need. Audi’s package concept allows you to upgrade to several spec levels from LED lighting and auto climate control to Audi virtual cockpit plus, Sports exterior and S line interior packages, and more.

Some may say it’s a touch tight, considering its entry roots. Others feel it looks perhaps a tad too adventurous for what could be considered to be feeble outputs. Versus it’s doubly powerful AWD S sibling, of course. Which is also almost doubly quick too. But our gripes basically make mountains out of molehills and most of us truly appreciated this car’s nacho side.

Because at the end of the day, this superb-looking, quite versatile, easy to drive, and reasonably affordable Audi hatchback really is a great all-rounder.

ROAD TESTED: Audi A3 Sportback 35TFSI S line
Engine: 147 HP 185 lb.-ft 1.4-litre gasoline turbo I4 
Drive: 8-speed automatic FWD
0-40 mph:     4.17 sec
0-60 mph:     8.67 sec 
0-80 mph:     12.09 sec
400m:         16.3 sec @ 89 mph 
50-75 mph:    5.68 sec 
VMax:         136 mph
Fuel Average: 37.9 mpg

Images & test data: Giordano Lupini

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