Added 25th February, 2020
By Jonathan Crouch
Ultimately, what’s important about this tenth generation Civic is the way it showed us how Honda has changed. This is now a brand able to continually develop cars people might really want to buy, as opposed to models that many of them would merely find technically intriguing. And a company able to understand the wants and needs of people beyond its home shores. With this MK10 design, it was finally clear that in both these areas, at long last, Honda had got the message.
‘Kaizen’, the Japanese approach to ‘continuous improvement’, characterises every aspect of this model’s development. Or almost every aspect anyway. What was lost along the way was the unique loading versatility for tall items that previous Civics offered thanks to their clever ‘Magic Seat’ set-up. We miss that and think a lot of owners loyal to previous versions of this Honda will too, especially given that for this tenth generation range, the ‘Tourer’ estate body style was deleted. Still, this Japanese brand had to reach out beyond these people and the pay-off with this car’s fresh interior configuration - space for more sophisticated suspension delivering an exceptionally compliant standard of ride - ended up giving this interestingly-orientated family hatch a wider appeal. Not everyone is so enthusiastic about this car’s styling, but if you like it, you’ll probably love it. What’s not in question is the huge step forward this car took beneath the bonnet. Both the mainstream VTEC Turbo petrol engines more than make the grade - and it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that about a Civic.
There’s plenty else we were impressed with too; the huge boot, a brilliantly-slick manual gearbox and the sheer uncompromising purpose of the top Type-R hot hatch variant. True, interior quality isn’t quite a match for best-in-class rivals, but the cabin’s a lot easier to like and this Civic’s a lot bigger inside than it used to be. Plus of course, this car was built in Britain - for what that’s worth. In short, this model, at long last, came of age in this form, finally a car with sense on its side, yet one that retained at least a little of the kind of Honda charisma that every Civic ought to have. It made its segment a more interesting place.