The last piece of the Civic puzzle may not be ground-breaking, but it does extend the capabilities of the car – if luggage is your interest.
Honda is one of only a handful of manufacturers to persevere with a saloon shape, but the current generation Civic is a good platform from which to base it.
The Civic saloon arrives a year or so after the launch of the Civic hatch, and offers a more familiar design than previous Civic saloons – the front two thirds are almost identical. As you’d expect, it’s the rear end where the changes are more obvious.
The styling changes are pleasant and subtle – the rear end looks modern, unlike some saloon conversions. It adds a not unreasonable 13cm to the length – making it 74mm longer than the previous saloon.
Boot space in the saloon is 519 litres – 41 more than the hatch. The boot floor is flatter too, and when the rear seats are folded, they sit almost flat – the saloon aids practicality for those using the boot on a regular basis.
Those differences aside, the rest of the car is nearly identical to the hatch. Interior quality is pretty good, with soft touch surfaces, a smooth leather steering wheel and good quality plastics.
While comfortable, the interior is limited by lack of steering reach adjustment. The mid-range SR model tested offers most of the features and functionality a driver will require, with 17-inch alloy wheels, parking camera, climate control, auto wipers and lights. Even the base level SE specification compares favourably with rivals.
The infotainment system remains dated and clunky – drivers will likely end up connecting their own device and using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, both of which are standard fit.
Driver assistance technologies are bundled up under the ‘Honda Sensing’ brand – including a host of safety features as standard. The list includes forward collision warning, city braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition on every new Civic sold, whatever the trim level. To get cross traffic monitor and blind spot detection, you have to jump up to the top-spec EX trim level, which also offers keyless entry, leather seats and LED headlights.
The Civic saloon arrives at the same time as a new CVT automatic transmission for the 1.6-litre diesel, which will also be available on the standard hatch. This pairing works pretty well – it’s quite a calm CVT gearbox, that provides the power required for everyday driving with ease.
CO2 emissions are from 91g/km in manual guise, and 108g/km in automatic form – lower by 2g/km and 1g/km respectively than the hatchback. Fleets can also opt for a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, but despite withdrawing diesel from its new CR-V, Honda expects it to be the best seller in the Civic.
Expect this to be the last Honda to feature the fuel.
The saloon adds £500 to the hatch base price, which, when paired with the marginal drop in mpg, translates to about 1.5ppm in extra cost. Those running costs are on par with traditional hatchback rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf.
While the new saloon won’t be for everyone, it reinforces the range as a solid, if offbeat, choice for company car drivers, with strong running costs, high fuel economy and a comfortable, well made environment to soak up the miles.
Specifications shown for Honda Civic Saloon 1.6i-DTEC SR manual