On Test: Honda Civic Sport

Watch the video review here

The current Honda Civic generation has been around since 2011. In today’s industry we would normally be getting treated to its replacement but after three years, the Civic received a not so midlife facelift along with a new Sport model.

Here is the aforementioned Sport with new sleek headlights with integrated daytime running lights, a rather dashing new sharp bodykit and the Rally Red pack to pull it visually a little closer to the Type-R.

On the surface the Civic Sport is a great move by Honda to bridge the gap between the base Civic and the hyper-hatch Type-R that Graham drove a month ago.

The Civic Sport has the potential to be a really good car as it is fair to say the Civic range needs a sporty edge to it to liven up the range it currently has. The hatchback market is super competitive and sports variants of models offer a great all around package and value for money. So after almost four years of being on sale, I’m quite surprised its taken Honda this long to put together some form of sporty Civic equivalent.

Inside the interior trim has been refreshed with a few changes to the trim in the seat detailing and this model in particular had the gorgeous doorsills from the optional £365 Illumination Doorstep garnish fitted.

I love the added element the doorsills bring, although to some it’s just a small detail that only truly comes to life at night, for me (someone who likes the small details) it’s a sign that Honda can still deliver class in a car that hasn’t really had so much with recent Civic generations missing that element.

On top of that the new control panel is nicely finished in gloss black, my only gripe being that the sat nav doesn’t come standard on the Civic Sport, you will have to opt for the Civic Sport Navi model which is around £610 more to get Honda’s Honda Connect with Garmin navigation and CD player system.

It all sounds fairly promising but there are areas Honda really could have done better in and the biggest area is the performance. In this car we have a 1.8 litre i-VTEC engine which produces 140hp and 128lb-ft of torque whilst pulling in around 46mpg. The numbers don’t scream sport as they are numbers that the rest of the Civic range has.

Another similar number is the price. The Civic Sport we have costs £21,135 and it slots in nicely between the lower S and SE Plus models priced from around £16,000 to £18,000 but just under the slightly more expensive SR and EX Plus trims priced from £22,000 to £24,000.

The engine isn’t any more powerful than any others in the range as it actually shares the same engines as the entire Civic range in both petrol and diesel form. Same power output, same torque and the same top speeds. The only difference being the Civic Sport gets from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds where the others in the range are around nine and a half.

It isn’t the most electrifying of engines in the lower revs, feeling relatively flat until you reach mid-range through the revs but then you get a scream of discontent from the engine that just doesn’t feel comfortable accelerating through the revs.

It’s a shame because it’s got a really beautiful six-speed manual gearbox with delightfully weighted shifts and a friendly clutch that makes it’s easy to drive literally anywhere and in any conditions.

Which is another thing the Civic does well, driveability. It’s such an easy, almost effortless car to drive. The steering is light but fairly responsive and body roll is well controlled. The facelifted 2015 Civics were all fitted with lightly adapted suspension to help iron out smaller bumps and because of that the ride is pretty good.

As it is a Honda Civic practicality is a strong feature with a generous 477-litre boot that rises to 1,210 litres with the always-impressive magic seats folded flat.

As an all-rounder the Civic Sport truly does look the part as a sports variant of the Civic, but it seems that Honda have made the Civic Sport an aesthetic sports variant instead of an actual one.

That could very well be Honda making sure Civic Type-R sales aren’t hurt by another sporty Civic in the range but as Graham mentioned in his Civic Type-R review, it’s “really very serious” and I feel that because of the hardcore nature of the Type-R that the Sport should have filled the void of a faster but still civilized Civic.

For example VW offer the Golf in standard Golf, Golf GTI and Golf R variants, I feel Honda should have treated it the same with the Civic, Civic Sport and Civic Type-R.

Sure the Type-R is the alpha dog of the range but there can be a beta dog too and Honda really should have taken that approach with the Civic Sport.

Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Sport

Price: £19,615

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol

Transmission: 6-speed manual; front-wheel-drive

Power/Torque: 140bhp; 128lb/ft

Economy/Emissions: 46.3mpg; 145g/km

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Top speed: 134mph

For more information click here

By James Fothergill

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