GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Honda - Civic - sedan range

Our Opinion

We like
Style, space, cabin presentation, Hybrid driveability, economy, quality
Room for improvement
Slightly dull to drive and steer, no stability control option, no hatchback

Honda logo3 Feb 2006

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

THE first thing that strikes you about the latest Honda Civic sedan isn’t its newfound bigness, improved styling featuring a pleasantly fresh appearance, or slightly sportier proportions.

No, it’s what lies inside, which – in true Honda tradition – is big on the small details.

Like some aspects of the exterior (especially around the cab-forward A-pillar), the cabin feels like a scaled-down Honda Odyssey’s – right down to the brilliant blue night lighting, funky trim and vast spaciousness (for a small car).

Since it’s where you’ll spend most of your time if you decide to buy one, this is not a bad thing at all. And there’s plenty of depth to the details beyond just sheer novelty value too.

Take that dashboard – it manages to trump the Mazda3’s for looks and useability while bringing back – finally – that panoramic windscreen look that made all Civics from 1983 to 1995 such a pleasure to be in and see out of.

Its two-tiered instrumentation is a gem, with a digital speedometer as big as all get-out sitting just where you can always see it without having your eyes stray off the road.

Siting the handbrake far forward and beside the gearshift means there’s space galore for your junk in the centre console – which features one of the slickest drink holder solutions to date. Nice one Honda!

Big seats – again featuring a cool detail (a see-through slit in the headrests) – dead-easy audio and climate controls and perfectly placed ventilation outlets for the front passengers are other plus points.

After all this, the driving experience is slightly dull and so a tad disappointing, with performance and dynamics that live somewhere between the slickness and ease of a Toyota Corolla and the competence of the Mazda3.

At least it moves on from the old Civic sedan.

Actually final judgement needs to be made on Australian roads, for the cars GoAuto drove were on mostly unusually coarse New Zealand bitumen that cast doubts on Honda’s loud quietness claims until more regular roads in fact did show how hushed these cars really are.

Plus the examples sampled were built in Japan and not Thailand as ours are, and also featured stability control – a life-saving device that, tragically for some, won’t be available on our Civics – shame on you Honda.

The new 103kW 1.8 engine, while agreeably smooth and powerful, feels closer to the Holden Astra 1.8’s for performance delivery than the 2.0-litres that Honda says it goes like.

But this might be a deception because – like many Hondas – this Civic was always going significantly faster than the seat-of-the-pants feeling suggested. Maybe that’s the quiet cabin talking.

Rowing the slick though slightly loose-feeling five-speed manual gearshift is no hassle at all, and it enables full exploration of the engine’s impressive capabilities.

The handling is sharp, flat and enjoyable, and defined by nicely weighted steering that transmits ample feeling and plenty of control.

Only some minor bump steer caused by uneven roads blotted the roadholding aspect, which is otherwise good but not quite in the same league as the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and VW Golf.

Meanwhile the 2.0-litre Sport is palpably the stronger performer, with extra urge available throughout the rev range at just a press of the accelerator pedal.

The five-speed automatic tested is a great partner to the 2.0, less so in the 1.8, since it offers instant downshifts when needed and a responsive sequential shift facility via the steering column paddles (a Tiptronic-style floor shift is oddly missing here).

The 1.8 auto does without the paddles, but it’s still a dynamic duo and probably preferable to the manual.

Other 2.0 Sport attributes include electric steering that doesn’t feel as artificial as most other types do, a ride that isn’t affected by the firmer suspension settings the Sport model brings, and an engine that feels far rortier than the somewhat anodyne – and quite un-Honda-like – 1.8 models.

Overall the Civic sedans as tested in NZ specification come across as thoroughly modern and accommodating small cars with striking interiors, exemplary efficient drivetrains and capable – if not class-leading – dynamics.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New Civic

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

Civic pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.