Civically Responsible

by Petrol Mum
Honda Civic e:HEV LX

Small car sales in Australia are on the decline at a time when the country is under increasing pressure from a rising cost-of-living. Even the number of small cars on offer from car companies is reducing, further pushing consumers towards larger vehicles. Thankfully Honda has retained the Civic hatchback thereby offering a stylish and practical small car perfectly suited for a family of four.   

Choice within the Civic range has now doubled, with this e:HEV LX joining the VTi LX in Australia, and it is available in three colours, this one Premium Crystal Blue (Metallic), Platinum White (Pearlescent), and Premium Crystal Red (Metallic). The Honda Civic e:HEV LX is powered by a hybrid In line 4-cylinder, 2.0 litre petrol engine with a modest 135kW of power and 315Nm of torque. The engine is paired with an Electric Continuously Variable Transmission with Shift-by-Wire technology. As the driver you can select between Econ, Normal, or Sports and I chose to spend the week in Normal mode and found nothing disagreeable about the ride comfort or the way the Civic drove. There is also an Individual drive mode where you can customise the Powertrain, Steering and Gauges.

The advantage of the Civic’s hybrid technology is the battery charges as the vehicle is being driven and I never saw the battery go completely flat, so it was always there assisting. If you are interested to know how the system works a graphic can be displayed on the infotainment system to show you when you are using or harvesting the battery’s enery. The official combined fuel use for the Civic e:HEV LX is 4.2L/100km and I used 7.2L/100km for my week. This is less than the 8.7L/100km of fuel I used while driving the Civic VTi LX last year.

In addition to having a more fuel-efficient engine the hybrid Civic also comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, leather-appointed seat trim, and Honda Connect. Honda Connect allows convenience and peace of mind and with just a couple taps, you can turn the lights on and off, remotely lock the doors, geo-locate your car, and check your fuel level, all without stepping into your car.

When you do take the driver’s seat you will be able to electrically adjust the seat position for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, and 2-way lumbar support, but there are no memory positions. The passenger seat misses out on the seat height adjustment and when the temperature drops you will be happy that both front seats are heated, as is the steering wheel.

The graphics on the 9″ touchscreen are straightforward to understand and you can connect your phone via wired Android Auto or wireless Apple CarPlay. Voice control can be used by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette, as long as voice tags have been assigned.

The 12-speaker Bose premium sound system provides premium audio from the AM/FM radio, Digital Radio (DAB+), USB and Bluetooth, which connected fine for me in this Civic. To keep your devices charged there is a wireless charging pad in a cubby at the front of the centre console and above this there are two USB-A ports and one 12V outlet.

I particularly liked the trim on the centre console and door arm rest because it not only looks and feels nice, it has also been crafted in such a way to help make scratches, dust and fingerprints inconspicuous, great work Honda! I also still think the honeycomb panel across the dash still looks good and although it conceals the air vents it does not conceal the fault with the dual zone climate control. The temperature control in the Civic does not adjust and except for the high heat setting every other temperature selected blows cold air. I noticed this on the VTi LX and it is the same in the Type R I am currently driving and for someone who likes to be warm, but not roasting hot in a car, it’s not acceptable.

In the rear seats I found the head room was okay and the leg room was adequate, but taller individuals may find it tight. For younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but due the vehicle’s width only two car seats would fit. If you do use the centre restraint point it is worth noting that the tethering point is at the base of the seat in the boot.

If not in use the centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two rigid drink holders in the front of it, one larger than the other. These drink holders are a bit shallow so taller bottles may fall over and in this case they would be better off stored in the drink bottle cubby in the rear doors.

Rear passengers get two central air vents with individual direction control and a central manual on/off control. Below the vents there are two USB-A ports and there are floor mats, but no mat over the transmission tunnel so this carpet may become worn over time.

The boot lid has a power assisted manual opening and a manual closing operation giving you access to the reasonable sized boot. The boot fits a weekly shop and could take a pram with a small shop or you can lift up the boot floor to create a partition that could keep items separated. If more space is required the rear seats have a 60/40 split fold mechanism that is manually released via a latch on the seat shoulder. The secure items in the boot there are four substantial tie down points, one hook, a 12V outlet and a light. There is no spare tyre, only a tyre repair kit that is neatly packaged into the side of the boot.

The new Civic does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but comes with Honda Sensing Active safety featuring Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and High Beam Support System. In addition, you also get Blind spot information system, rear cross traffic alert, auto lights and auto wipers. Passive safety includes front, centre front, rear side, side front, full-length curtain, and knee (front) airbags and a standard rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors.

All new Honda’s sold in Australia come with the Honda Road Ahead Guarantee that includes a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years Premium Roadside Assist, and five years map updates for the satellite navigation system. Plus, owners have the confidence of five low price services for just $199 each (some conditions apply, see the Honda Australia website for more information). For the new Honda Civic the service schedule is every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first.

In Australia, Honda is well underway with their focus on hybrid powertrain technology, with hybrid variants introduced in HR-V, Civic and soon Honda ZR-V. Purchasing your new Honda has been made easy with the Honda One Price Promise. This means your new Honda has the same price no matter which Honda Centre you visit in your State or Territory, haggle free and for the Honda Civic e:HEV LX the cost $55,000. Visit your preferred Honda Centre or build and price your new Honda Civic e:HEV LX online. 

Fuel efficient hybrid engineTemperature control on the climate system
The centre console and door arm rest trim  No ANCAP safety rating
Honda One Price PromiseRear seat head room is a bit tight

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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