Honda Civic: decidedly sporty in character
Honda a few months back added the five-door hatchback variant to its Civic sedan and the duo have quickly become Honda’s best-selling model. I’ve just driven several hatches – like the sedan the Civic Hatch is quite dramatic in the styling department and stands out from its small car competition with excellent packaging providing a very roomy interior and an amazing load capacity. Like the sedan there’s five Civic hatch models – I drove the entry 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated VTi hatch at $22,390 and the 1.5-litre turbo VTi-LX at $33,590.
Obviously the 1.5-litre VTi-LX is the more invigorating model to drive and is quite sporty on the open road. Both engines mate to a CVT continuously variable transmission and it locks up well under hard acceleration with no discernable feeling of slip. However, both engines are somewhat raucous under hard acceleration suggesting the need for better noise insulation. Steering and handling however is decidedly sporty in character – ride quality a high point on both. I managed 6.8L/100 out of the 1.8 model, slightly better from the 1.5 turbo from a mix of city and country driving – all Honda Civic models look classy in side and apart from leather on the higher grade model they differ little inside with a very workable dash and instrumentation. The base VTi hatch gets an electric park brake, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch steel wheel, hill start assist and tyre pressure monitoring. Importantly, like the sedan the hatch comes with a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating. I’m David Berthon
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