A big hello, then, to the new Honda Civic. With emphasis on the ‘big’, for the tenth (tenth!) generation of Japan’s answer to the VW Golf is frankly enormous. Honda boasts this new Civic has the longest wheelbase in its class. I don’t doubt it. If someone told you this was the new Accord, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
Such embiggification confers many advantages. Particularly in the “interior space” department. The Civic’s cabin is, as the estate agents would have it, generously proportioned. Masses of legroom, front and back, and a monster boot into the mix. Swallows a road bike without requiring removal of a wheel or lowerment of a saddle.
Just pop down the rear seats and fling it in. But the Civic’s interior largeness comes with a commensurate disadvantage: bigness on the outside. Killer insight, right? This creates challenges for parking. You know that thing where you pass a tight-ish gap between two cars on the street, and think, “Could I squeeze in there?”
In the Civic, you can’t. Don’t even try. A lot of surface means a lot of design. Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, but I think it’s far to say this isn’t the most… coherent-looking hatchback on the market. One assumes Honda asked half a dozen of its stylists to each submit their design proposals, then felt bad letting any of them down, so tried to incorporate the whole lot.
Same story in the cockpit, where there’s an awful lot of stuff going on, not all of it entirely lucid. Rather less complicated, in a very good way, is that engine. We’ve got the 1.5-litre petrol, and it’s a peach, smooth and far less turboed than many of its rivals, with that traditional Honda kick at high revs.
Feels quicker than its 8.2- second official 0–62mph time might suggest, too. One cruelly wonders if the McLaren F1 team might be better off with this engine instead. In an era where family hatchbacks are all melding into identikit sameyness, first impressions are that the Civic treads a rather different path. Plenty here to keep the TG Garage elves busy in the coming months…