Honda Civic Sport Line

Honda Civic Sport Line lr


By Tim Saunders

I’ve been driving long enough to appreciate that different cars have varying demands.

For instance, your run of the mill hatchback prefers to be driven sedately without putting it under too much pressure. But every now and again my motoring life is spiced up. This week my senses have been heightened a little by the arrival of a Honda Civic 1-litre turbo. I continue to be surprised by how manufacturers can reduce the size of the humble combustion engine and its subsequent impact on the environment. But sometimes like my mother-in-law’s used 1-litre Hyundai i10, small cars can be just a bit dull. That can’t be said of the Honda though. This sharply designed low slung sports car complete with go faster spoiler is striking to look at and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to driving. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and the black leather seats are finished to a high standard as is the rest of the interior – just what we’ve grown to expect from Honda.

Incidentally, when I was born in 1978 my father was the proud owner of a brand new blue Honda Civic so I have always felt an affinity with this particular vehicle and it has been interesting to see it evolve to what has become the 10th generation. Are we both really that old?

While there is room in the rear for three children’s car seats, they’re a pain to fit, in common with almost all new cars. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to ensure enough space to avoid them sitting at an awkward angle and to also get the seatbelt points in the right place so that time poor parents don’t have to faff about trying to install their little darlings. Of course if there are two children, it’s not a problem. I am able to fit three car seats in the back of one of the smallest cars on the road, my 17 year old Ford Fiesta so it can be achieved. In the Honda the front seats and the two rear seats (not the middle) are heated.

Incidentally, this Civic is a pretty wide car, too – there’s not much in it compared to a large SUV. There’s a good size boot and the large glass electric tilt/slide sunroof is a nice touch as are the electrically heated front seats.

Making sure that the rear doors can’t be opened by the little occupants is always a hassle as well and that’s if I remember. Once I forgot and Harriett nearly opened it on the motorway. Usually it’s necessary to insert the key into the edge of the rear passenger doors to engage childlock but with the Honda there are helpful switches that are simply pushed down, making life that bit easier.

This Civic is a joy to drive. Push the ignition button to the right of the dashboard and the engine roars into life. This model is automatic so driving is very simple but if a more engaging experience is call for then the paddle shifts either side of the steering wheel should satisfy. The harder the engine works the louder the sporty roar.

I need to visit Surrey and it’s interesting to note that the easy to use sat nav avoids the M27 as much as it can – I don’t blame it with the continued painful 50mph restrictions, regularly flouted by all and sundry. So we soon find ourselves on the A3 which gives me good chance to test the cruise control. It’s a sophisticated system that senses a car in front and brakes or accelerates accordingly. It’s pretty reliable until we find ourselves behind a horsebox which it can’t seem to acknowledge and I have to intercept to avoid a collision. While it is a joy to put your foot down in the Honda it is a thirsty and that fuel gauge of the 46-litre tank drops all too quickly for my liking. Driving in economy mode also makes it too lethargic. Going down hill the cruise control cannot be relied upon to keep the speed at 70mph. It exceeds it. This really is not helpful when I spy a mobile speed camera cruelly waiting at the foot of a hill but I react quickly enough to drop the speed to within the limit hopefully avoiding prosecution.

Henry (4) does like the sat nav because he is able to call up a map of the world and he can see the different countries so we spend time pointing at where South Africa, Indonesia and Australia are located. He’s a clever boy.

When driving at night the Honda’s headlights automatically dip the full beam, which seems a great idea but in practice isn’t on occasions all that good. Driving round a bend it doesn’t pick up the poor motorists waiting to pull out from a side road, blinding them. A clear road with an Audi someway ahead but still near enough to require dipped beam, has to get much nearer before the system registering this and acting accordingly. For me, this is a case of technology going too far. I need to be in control to ensure there are no problems. God help us if ever driverless cars are introduced.

Driving through the New Forest on my own does allow me to out the Civic through its paces and I do like the way it can be thrown round a corner, it sticks to the road like glue. It can be relied upon to overtake safely.

Facts at a glance
Honda Civic 1.0T EX Sport Line MT
Price: £27,435
0 to 60mph: 10.6secs
Top speed: 124mph
Power: 126bhp
Economy: around 40mpg
Emissions: 110g/km CO2


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