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First drive: Honda Civic 1.5i-DTEC SE Plus Satnav car review

Honda Civic
Honda

Review

Mid-life revisions typically have three familiar themes: increased efficiency, improved technology and styling updates.

While Honda has adhered to convention in two of these areas with its refresh of the Civic – technology and styling – it has taken a different approach for the third: instead of inspired efficiency, it has cut the price.

This sees models typically costing £1,600 less than like-for-like pre-facelift vehicles, bringing tax benefits for both employers and employees.

For example, a 20% taxpayer choosing the 120hp 1.6-litre i-DTEC SE plus sat-nav model, which has a P11D price of £21,125, will pay £676 a year in benefit-in-kind tax compared to £726 for the pre-facelift 1.6-litre i-DTEC SE, which cost £22,685 - £1,560 more. Class 1A NIC falls from £501 to £466 a year. Both cars are in the 16% BIK tax band, as efficiency is unchanged, with CO2 emissions of 94g/km and an official combined fuel economy of 78.5mpg.

While this figure may not be achieved in real-world conditions, Fleet News ran a pre-facelift Civic 1.6-litre i-DTEC ES-T as a long-term test car in 2013 and recorded a high of 70mpg and consistent returns of more than 62mpg.

Exterior changes to the revised Civic are restricted to new headlamps and rear lights, as well as new bumpers, while the interior features new seat fabrics and stitching on the headrests, new door trims with chrome door handles and a control panel finished in metallic black.

Honda’s Connect infotainment system is now standard. This includes a seven-inch touchscreen, digital and internet radio, Bluetooth connectivity, internet browsing, rear-view parking camera and optional satellite navigation.

Safety equipment is improved, too, with autonomous emergency braking now fitted to all models, which already had a five-star Euro NCAP rating. An optional £600 driver assistance safety pack adds forward collision warning, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, blind spot indicator, cross traffic monitor – which uses rear side radar sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles when reversing – and automatic dipping headlights.

The revisions have also seen the Civic become the first Honda in the UK to have agile handling assist, which applies a light braking force to the inner wheels when the steering wheel is turned, and to the outer wheels when the steering wheel is returned to centre. Honda says this, combined with updated vehicle stability assist, increases vehicle responsiveness, stability and traction.

While it was difficult to assess the impact of these systems during our test route, the Civic was comfortable and easy to drive, with light but positive steering and a lovely, precise gearshift. The cavernous boot can carry 477 litres of luggage and Honda’s ‘magic seats’ system makes it simple to fold the rear seats in a number of different configurations.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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