2023 Honda Civic Hybrid hatchback new car review

Honda’s has added petrol-electric power to its Civic hatchback bring Toyota Corolla-rivalling fuel economy in a premium package.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Civic Hybrid.

VALUE

There’s no escaping the fact that the Honda Civic hybrid is expensive compared to its traditional hatchback rivals. It’s roughly $7000 dearer than the top of the line Mazda3, almost $10,000 more than the Volkswagen Golf and $13,000 more than the Toyota Corolla hybrid. Having said that, it is packed with gear and the quality of the cabin materials and finishes are top notch. Tech includes a fully digital driver display, a wireless phone charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, satnav and an excellent 12-speaker Bose audio system. Leather appointed, heated front seats and a large sunroof add to the up-market ambience, but there’s no head-up display, which can be found on some rivals. The warranty is five years and services are exceptional value at $995 for five years.

COMFORT

The Civic is a supremely comfortable long-distance cruiser thanks to well cushioned, supportive seats with a wide range of adjustment for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Rear seat passengers have good head and knee room, as well as their own air vents and two USB ports for charging devices. Buyers are given five years free access to “Honda Connect”, an app that allows you to pre-cool or heat the car remotely via a phone app. On cold mornings you can heat the seats and steering wheel, while the airconditioning cools the cabin rapidly on hot days. The cabin is well insulated from engine, road and wind noise and the suspension makes light work of rough roads, delivering a comfy yet well controlled ride at city and freeway speeds.

SAFETY

The Civic has all the latest crash avoidance tech, including auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The lane-keep assist works better than most, gently guiding you back into the centre of the lane without beeping incessantly. Other handy tech includes radar cruise control that works in stop-start city traffic, speed-sign recognition and driver fatigue detection. In the unlikely event of a crash, there are 11 airbags to protect occupants, including a front centre airbag to stop the driver and passenger banging heads in a side impact. The car hasn’t been crashed locally, but was awarded a five-star rating by Euro NCAP, with an 89 per cent mark for occupant protection.

ON THE ROAD

It may be expensive but you can’t argue with the quality of the engineering on the latest Civic. The hybrid set-up, which combines a two-litre four-cylinder engine with a small electric motor, is quiet, refined, punchy and frugal – a rare combination. We came pretty close to matching the claimed fuel use figure of 4.2 litres per 100km, which is impressive given the performance of the engine. The continuously variable transmission was one of the best we’ve sampled as well, keeping the engine bubbling away in its sweet spot. Honda has nailed the trade off between comfort and cornering ability. The car glides over low-speed corrugations and road joins, while sitting flat through corners and maintaining composure over high-speed bumps. Precise, well weighted steering adds to driving enjoyment.

VERDICT 3.5/5

The Civic is a top quality offering, but the pricing seems ambitious when there are so many excellent competitors charging thousands less.

ALTERNATIVES

Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid, from about $42,100 drive-away. Significantly cheaper. No sunroof but head-up display. Less power and torque and a tiny boot.

Mazda 3 X20 Astina, from about $47,700 drive-away. Cheaper. Similar power from mild hybrid 2.0-litre four-cylinder, but thirstier. Similar equipment levels.

Volkswagen Golf R-Line, from about $45,500 drive-away. Much Cheaper. Engine is thirstier, with less power but the cabin is high-quality and it’s great to drive.

HONDA CIVIC HYBRID

PRICE $55,000 drive-away

ENGINE 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor, 135kW and 315Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $995 over five years

SAFETY 11 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control, traffic-sign recognition

FUEL USE 4.2l/100km

SPARE Repair kit

LUGGAGE 409 litres