The Honda Civic hybrid was eagerly awaited, after the Japanese manufacturer’s successful trials in partial electrification. We were able to travel nearly 2,000 kilometers at the wheel of the hybrid sedan, which marks an increase in quality.
Mythical model but despite everything niche on the European market, the Honda Civic continues to reinvent itself. The Japanese manufacturer launched its 11th generation with the arrival of a unique hybrid engine.
After drastically increasing the size of the model for the tenth generation, the last 100% thermal, Honda launched its 11th generation by moving away a little more from the compact market. The Civic is now a sedan, and to justify a higher price, Honda pulled out all the stops.
Quality increases at the expense of fantasy
Since its presentation, we have seen how the Civic continues to settle down. Far from the fantastic eighth and ninth generations, the Japanese continues the trajectory of its predecessor and features sober lines.
Its coupe profile, however, contains five real seats, and the long hood does not prevent a large interior. Within it, Honda has focused on quality. No more hard plastics, we alternate between textured materials, leather and foamed plastics.
A large honeycomb grille crosses the dashboard to camouflage the air vents, which reinforces the impression of quality. The shiny plastics remain of good quality, the stitching on the leather is very well done, and the assembly of the whole does not suffer from any harm.
The sobriety that emanates from the exterior design is a reflection of what we see inside. Honda has simplified the lines and “Europeanized” the design of the Civic, but the quality is there too. The black rims and the over-tinted windows contrast with the white.
The e:HEV hybrid engine ramps up
The Civic embeds the hybrid technology of all-new Hondas, called e:HEV. The power of the system had already increased to equip the HR-V hybrid SUV. In the Civic, the block that initially developed 109 horsepower in the Jazz now reaches 184 horsepower.
Mechanics always associate complex operation, both parallel and in series. The naturally aspirated 2-litre engine develops 142 horsepower, and the electric motor has 184 horsepower.
It is this value that serves as a reference, since in most cases, the electric motor is responsible for moving the sedan alone. The thermal block acts as a generator, except when the two work together to optimize operation and consumption. In any case, this is transparent for the person behind the wheel.
And the approval of the Civic is clearly improved, compared to the more compact Jazz and the SUV that is the HR-V. The e-CVT still simulates upshifts and downshifts. And thanks to the higher power, which allows more flexible management, there is a better match between acceleration, engine speed and speed.
The car offers three driving modes: Sport, Normal and Econ. The first stiffens the steering and offers better response, while the third emphasizes sobriety by limiting the arrival of power.
Thanks to the increased power, consumption remains under control in all circumstances. Whether on the highway or on mountain roads, we feel that the Civic is less struggling when it comes to facing the most energy-intensive roads.
A regeneration that is not always intuitive…
This is reflected in consumption, with an average of 6.3 l/100 kilometers on purely mountainous routes. For this, it is still necessary to play regenerative pallets in order to recover energy on the downhill parts.
These palettes are also rather disappointing in their operation. Indeed, as on the CR-V or the HR-V, they offer four levels of regeneration, with more or less intense engine braking.
Unfortunately, the level of regeneration chosen is automatically deactivated after a few seconds, from the next restart. In the absence of a regeneration mode B in the selector, this forces you to constantly play with the paddles on this type of road, as well as in town.
… but contained consumption
But thanks to this variable regeneration, energy recovery is very efficient, and the battery recharges very quickly. This is also an observation that can be made on the highway, especially since the Civic is capable of triggering the 100% electric mode up to 120 km / h, and even 130 km / h in the event of a slight descent.
On the highway, the average consumption exceeds 6.5 l/100 km at 130 km/h. Driving around 120 km/h, it goes down without any problem to values between 5.8 and 6 liters per 100 km.
And like other Honda hybrids, it’s on back roads and around town that the Civic shines with its restraint. In the city, provided you play with regeneration, you can reach 4.5 l/100 km. On secondary roads, the average is around 5 l/100 km.
The average consumption of the Civic with one-third city and secondary network, one-third highway and one-third mountain, was 5.6 l/100 km. Over the entire test, which was about 50% highway, consumption reached 6.1 l / 100 km. With a 36 liter tank, you will have to go to the pump every 600 kilometers or so.
|type of road||highway||Ville||National||Mixed|
|Consumption||6,6 l/100||4,5 l/100||5 l/100||6,1 l/100|
A new, very well-designed cabin
Of course, if this tank is so small, it is to optimize the space on board. As is the case with all Hondas, the fuel container is located under the passenger seat, and the battery slides under the rear seat.
Honda has moved it back enough so that it does not encroach on the passenger compartment, which forces the floor of the trunk to be raised just behind the bench seat. But this very slight loss of space in the trunk has no effect, and it is beneficial for passenger space.
Given the car’s features, headroom for rear passengers isn’t ideal. Larger sizes, from 1.80m, may feel cramped there. For the rest, there is nothing to say.
The impression of space in the front is impressive, with this wide armrest in the center, which contains a substantial storage space. Despite the fact that we are sitting low and that the windshield, vertical, is not very big, we do not suffer from a feeling of lack of space.
In the rear, legroom is adequate, even when tall people are seated in the front. Only disappointment, Honda does not offer its famous “magic seats”, consisting in being able to raise only the base of the seats to install bulky objects. These are now the prerogative of the brand’s SUVs and the little Jazz.
Multimedia and instrumentation: simple but effective
As we said above, the dashboard of the Civic is pretty, but without frills. This leads to a certain ease of use, since the Japanese still relies on buttons. While many cars, including the little Honda e, are going all-touch, the Civic keeps physical controls.
This is the case for the entire air conditioning part, and the heated seats for our model. The touch screen receives support from two physical buttons, while the steering wheel displays numerous commands. It feels like a gas plant during the first hours of use, but everything is in its place and you quickly understand how it works.
The central 9-inch touchscreen is the same as in other Honda hybrids. It includes all the options related to the vehicle, a good quality GPS and multimedia. The set supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the mirror function of the two software is very fast, and the set is smooth.
The Advance finish that we tested has 12 Bose speakers, for a very convincing result. In the other finishes, it’s an eight-speaker system from another brand.
Instrumentation behind the steering wheel reaches 10.2 inches in this configuration. It features a fully digital counter display. ADAS systems are still evolving for passive safety.
The car has many sensors and cameras to prevent accidents, as well as blind spot detectors. We can deplore an alert for crossing white lines which is always very vocal and quickly goes into default when a white line is grazed for several meters.
Is the Honda Civic hybrid worth its price?
The change in status of the Civic is obviously felt while driving. The suspension comfort allows almost permanent comfort, with the exception of not very well maintained urban areas, where the 18-inch rims transmit the bumpy aspect of the road a little too much.
Apart from that, we are comfortable driving and on the passenger seats, and the upholstery is very well made. With the absence of roll thanks to its low center of gravity, it becomes a perfectly versatile model.
Whether in sport mode or not, we can also salute the precision of the chassis and the front axle. Despite its size increase and its 4.50 meters, the Civic wants to be agile and very stable, at low speed or not.
So is the Civic worth its price? Indeed, with equal finish, it is necessary to count an increase of 5000 euros compared to the previous generation in the version equipped with the CVT box. In Executive finish, that is to say the entry level, And for our test model, which is the top of the range, the price rises to 37,800 euros.
An obviously high bill for a hybrid car, while plug-in and electric models are trying to become more and more competitive. However, we note that on the electric side, with the exception of Chinese vehicles, there is no large size at this price.
In summary, it is in its place on the market
Therefore, the Civic is placed well against other hybrid sedans such as the Toyota Camry or the Ford Mondeo. Both are larger but not necessarily more livable with a trunk in the back, and they start at 39,000 and 36,000 euros respectively.
The price would clearly have been too high if the Civic had not become more statutory. But with this new placement of Honda, which tends towards the premium, it remains if not acceptable, at least understandable.
- The upscaling of the model
- Low consumption
- Habitability always at the top
- The e-CVT further improved…