Honda Civic (2012-2017) Review

The Honda Civic is a uniquely styled family hatchback with plenty of space and good reliability

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Roomy interior
  • Strong reliability record
  • Distinctive looks
  • Unexciting to drive
  • Inefficient and weak petrol engines
  • Poor rear visibility
Honda Civic prices from £7,995.
Finance from £172.41 / month.

The chiselled, wedge-shaped Honda Civic offers family practicality with a design that's more distinctive than similar hatchbacks, such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf to the slightly larger Skoda Octavia and cheaper Kia Cee’d.

Despite ending production in 2017, when it was replaced by an all-new Honda Civic, the older car still looks interesting in traffic, particularly models built from early 2015 when the car was updated with sharper front headlights, which include bright LED lights that are switched on during the day. The design flair continues at the back, with a strip across the back windscreen. This might add to the unique looks, but it also blocks your visibility when trying to reverse.

The futuristic theme continues inside thanks to the car's large, sweeping dashboard which includes two levels of information in front of the driver. Above the standard dials is a screen that displays speed and trip information, where it's easier to read while keeping your eyes on the road.

Mid-range SR models and above also have a touchscreen in the dashboard that controls the radio and sat-nav (where fitted). This was made standard across the range in 2015. No matter which model you choose, the interior feels solid and well-built, although it might take a few days to become familiar with the layout.

It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position, though. Practicality is the Civic’s strong suit. It has one of the largest boots in its class at 487 litres - that’s around 100 litres more than the VW Golf. It’s also nice and square, has a low loading lip and there’s even more storage underneath the boot floor. The rear seats can be folded completely flat for an even larger load area, or you can flip the bases of the rear seats up, almost like a cinema seat, if you need to carry tall items that you can’t lie down in the boot. The new version of the Honda Civic, which replaced this car is larger still.

On the move, the Civic is fairly unexciting to drive (with the exception of the bonkers Civic Type R hot hatchback), although it’s relaxed and very comfortable to drive. The single diesel engine, a 1.6-litre unit named i-DTEC is the best choice for a blend of performance and economy, plus it’s very relaxed on the move. The Civic’s aerodynamic shape contributes to its relaxing driving experience - it’s very quiet inside when you’re driving along.

Elsewhere in the engine range are three petrol engines, one of them being a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbo that’s fitted to the Type R. It’s incredibly fast and makes the Civic a very enjoyable car to drive, although you’ll probably have to be a driving enthusiast to accept the rock-hard ride and noisy engine.

Honda has a strong reputation for reliability, and the Civic lives up to this, ranking 41 out of 200 in the 2015 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

It's safe for a car of its age, with a five-star crash safety rating from the independent Euro NCAP organisation when tested in 2012. Two safety packs offer additional assistance when driving: Safety Pack 1 was available on SE Plus models and upwards, adding a warning if your car starts to drift out of its lane; a blind-spot alert; and automatic emergency braking, which can help avoid a crash. The latter, Safety Pack 2, features active cruise control that speeds up and slows down the car in sync with the car in front of you.


Key facts

Warranty Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 487 litres
Width 1800mm
Length 4370mm
Height 1470mm
Tax (min to max) £0 to £205

Best Honda Civic for...

Best for Economy – Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC S

The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is the only diesel in the Civic range, and is by far and away the most efficient. It’ll return more than 78mpg and has CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, meaning it won’t cost anything to tax.

Best for Families – Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus Navi

The 1.6 i-DTEC is easily the best engine suited to the Civic, and SE Plus trim sits in the middle of the range, meaning it’s not too expensive to buy for cost-conscious family buyers. SE Plus trim includes front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera, so parking in tight spaces will be that little bit easier, especially with the awkward visibility issue at the rear. Navi models, as the name suggests, add £600 to the list price, but it’s an option worth adding.

Best for Performance – Honda Civic Type R

The Civic Type R is the most powerful front-wheel drive hatchback on sale. It’s got 306bhp and feels very fast, plus it has over-the-top styling to go with its hot hatchback image.

One to Avoid – Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC EX Plus auto

The 1.8-litre engine, linked to an automatic gearbox, is the most expensive Civic model to run, aside from the sporty Type R. The engine isn’t as efficient as newer rivals from other manufacturers, plus EX Plus trim, while well equipped, is very expensive at over £26,000.


  • September 2011 Current Honda Civic goes on sale
  • November 2012 New 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine added to the range
  • December 2013 Driver Assistance Safety Pack added to the range as an option, includes blind spot monitoring, autonomous city braking and forward collision warning
  • July 2014 Civic Black Edition added to the range, features black grille and alloy wheels, plus gloss black sills and spoilers
  • September 2014 Updated Honda Civic revealed with sharper styling and new Honda Connect touchscreen infotainment system
  • January 2016 Black Edition version goes on sale, with gloss black trim, wheels and a choice of paint colours
  • March 2017 the Civic is replaced with an all-new version

Understanding Honda Civic names

Engine 1.6 i-DTEC

Honda shows the engine size in litres. Diesel engines are labelled i-DTEC and petrols are i-VTEC.

Trim level SE Plus

The amount of standard equipment that's fitted to your Civic depends on the trim level.

Honda Civic Engines

Petrol: 1.4 i-VTEC, 1.8 i-VTEC & 2.0 i-VTEC
Diesel: 1.6 i-DTEC

There are three petrol engines and one diesel available in the Honda Civic. The diesel is the best choice if you want decent performance and low running costs, so we’ll start with that engine.

It’s a 1.6-litre unit, named i-DTEC, and it’s quite a new engine that was added to the Civic range in the last couple of years. It produces 118bhp, but also returns a claimed 78.5mpg and it has CO2 emissions under 100g/km, which means there’s no road tax to pay. On the road, it actually feels faster than its 10.5-second 0-62mph time suggests, plus it’s very relaxed when you’re just cruising along the motorway.

If you prefer petrol power, the options in the Civic include a 1.4-litre i-VTEC engine and a 1.8-litre VTEC engine. They are both quite old engines, and they are starting to show this. The 1.4 i-VTEC in particular feels very weak and doesn’t feel like it has enough power to move the Civic along - you’ll have to plan overtaking manoeuvres very carefully, while the 1.8 i-VTEC is quicker than the diesel, but its economy figures are much less impressive.

At the top of the range is the 2.0-litre turbocharged Civic Type R. This boasts 306bhp and is very quick. It will go from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 168mph.


Fuel economy


0 - 62mph

Top speed

1.4 i-VTEC



13.4 secs


1.8 i-VTEC



9.1 secs


2.0 i-VTEC



5.7 secs


1.6 i-DTEC



10.5 secs


Honda Civic Trims

S, S Limited Edition, SE Plus, Sport, SR, EX Plus, Type R

One thing that Honda is good at, is confusing buyers with a bewildering array of trim levels in its cars. The Civic is no different and, to make things even more confusing, the names have been changed over the course of the car’s life, so we’re just focusing on trim levels that are available on new models.

Entry-level Civic S models come with alloy wheels, climate control, electric windows and LED daytime running lights. SE Plus models add dual-zone climate control, cruise control, electric folding wing mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors and a rear parking camera.

Sport models have similar levels of equipment to the SE Plus, but features slightly sportier looks with a lower front bumper and larger alloy wheels, while SR trim has sat-nav, leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. Top-spec EX Plus models feature keyless entry and automatic-dipping headlights.

Type R models have bespoke sporty styling, including large alloy wheels, a very sporty bodykit, a huge rear spoiler, big red bucket seats and special red Type R trim throughout the interior.

Honda Civic Reliability and warranty

Honda has a strong reputation for building reliable cars, and the Civic is no different. It feels like a solid and strong car, with nice-feeling materials inside contributing to this. The current generation CIvic came 41st place out of 200 cars in the 2015 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, while owners rated it particularly well for running costs and practicality.

Honda’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty should cover you for any major mechanical issues, although it’s not quite as impressive as Hyundai and Toyota’s five-year offerings, or Kia’s 7-year warranty on the Cee’d hatchback.

Used Honda Civic

A four-year-old Honda Civic starts from as little as £8,000 - less than £150 per month with a representative finance agreement, and there are high-specification 2017 cars priced for less than £15,000.

If your budget allows, then it's worth opting for one that received the 2015 updates, bringing more equipment as standard. It can be hard to spot these car because they are so similar to earlier versions; they al have touchscreens inside and a curved notch cut out of the headlights by the front bumper. Older cars have more angular headlights.

The older 2.2-litre diesel engine is smooth and powerful, but it’s not quite as economical as the newer 1.6 i-DTEC, so be aware of this if you’re looking for a diesel version.

Trim levels have changed a few times throughout the Civic’s life, too, so make sure you know what you’re getting if you’re looking at a trim level that isn’t available anymore - the array of models can be confusing and there are lots to choose from, so do your homework and get the dealer to specify exactly what features the car has on it.


Prices show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of new and used models

    2017 2016 2015
Best for economy
Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC S
Price n/a £11,495 £9,450
Best for families Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus Navi Price £14,965 £11,580


Best for performance
Honda Civic Type R
Price £23,000 £20,945 £19,985

Other Editions

Civic (2017 – 2021)

The new comfortable and agile Honda Civic is a big improvement on the previous model