The new Honda Civic goes hybrid with a system that promises pleasure and sobriety. With 184 hp and 4.7 l/100 km homologated, the compact has a very enticing technical sheet. Better still, it reconciles hybridization with a certain driving pleasure.
Car tested: Honda Civic e:HEV Sport
Over the generations, the Honda Civic dynasty has had good times with very creative silhouettes (Civic 3, 4 and 5, then 8). This eleventh edition rather belongs to a more subdued line. Without stroke of genius or desire to be original at all costs this time, the Japanese falls into line in an elegant way with its long hood and its plunging roof line, fastback style. Lower and stretched by 3 cm, the new Civic now has a length of 4.55 m, making it the largest in the segment if we except the Skoda Octavia.
The Civic 11 is a global car, the technical development of which for the first time took Europe as its benchmark. A promising choice for its road performance. The car has been marketed in the United States since last year in a gasoline version, but it will only arrive in our country this fall with a single hybrid engine. while waiting for the very cult Type R sports version.
The English factory in Swindon having closed its doors, all Civic 11s sold in France will be made in Japan. The brand aims to sell 2,200 units with us during the first twelve months (almost a return to the pre-Covid level), with more than 50% of conquest for this ambitious hybrid solution. Orders will begin in July.
Honda Civic e:HEV Price
The new Civic’s lineup is very simple, with a single 184hp hybrid engine that goes by the e:HEV designation. Three trim levels are available: Executive, Sport (our test version) and Advance. Prices are displayed from €32,400 (€29,990 with an introductory offer). It’s a move upmarket since the previous generation started at €25,500 with its small 126 hp three-cylinder.
The standard equipment is already very complete from the basic version, including semi-autonomous driving, heated seats, infotainment system on a 9-inch screen, but also CarPlay and Android Auto. Its 17-inch wheels allow it to emit only 108 g/km of CO2 (up to 114 g/km in 18”). All Civic hybrids are exempt from the penalty.
You will have to choose the top-of-the-range Advance version (€37,100), which should represent the majority of sales, to be entitled to leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof. No option is on the program apart from certain paintings (650 to 900 €). But pearl gray is free. Finally, the guarantees are particularly generous with 3 years or 100,000 km of global coverage, 5 years for the battery, and even 10 years for the engine.
The Civic’s hybrid system is an evolution of the one fitted to the HR-V. A new 143 hp 2.0 four-cylinder engine, with direct injection and Atkinson cycle to improve efficiency under heavy load, ensures the thermal part. It works in concert with a twin electric motor dubbed eCVT, which is confusing. Because, unlike the hybrids signed Toyota, the models from Honda do not have a continuously variable transmission. There is only one fixed ratio, the torque variations being obtained by varying the amperage. The 135 kW (184 hp) electric motor is designed as the main engine of the system, while the second engine works as a generator. Both are mated to a 1.05 kWh (36 kg) battery. In total, the powertrain delivers a cumulative power of 184 hp and a maximum torque of 315 Nm.
Kotaro Yamamoto, the manufacturer’s technical adviser, explains that we find here, in a certain way, the sensations associated with VTEC engines. The description is a little optimistic because, even if the hybrid group does not lack health, the climbs in the towers have nothing in common with the flights of yesteryear. But Honda hasn’t neglected thrills for its high-output hybrid. The secret: a simulation of gear changes when accelerating which is truly deceptive. Without load break, it remains very linear but otherwise more pleasant than the sustained high revs of a hybrid with a conventional CVT transmission.
Civic Performance are very correct with a 0 to 100 km/h done in 7.8 s and lively reminders to reassure when overtaking. On the dashboard, the power meter, which indicates the energy deployed, is designed to give an impression close to that of a tachometer and to support driving. It is possible to juggle between three driving modes, Normal, Eco or Sport, playing on engine management and steering. On the highway, the hybrid system is designed to avoid noisy engine noise when restarting at legal speeds. And it is true that the evolutions are done there in a comfortable way. On the other hand, in case of dynamic driving on small roads, the agreement of the system is less evident. The simulated reports seem a little lost, an impression underlined with the high revs more often reached in Sport mode.
Paddles on the steering wheel allow the regeneration power to be temporarily increased. You shouldn’t expect big decelerations on foot lift, as with some electric models, but it helps to achieve a smoother ride. Note in passing the fairly high rolling noise level on all surfaces. Finally, in town, softness and ease are on the program. The electric motor drives the wheels, the occasional interventions of the heat engine only serving to generate the necessary current.
Even in the absence of any controlled damping, the Civic is very rigorous and damped firmly, but without excess, with excellent guidance and efficient behavior. It is true that the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in 18 inches present on our test version have their share in this attractive feeling. Good driving position, precise steering, excellent brake pedal feel for a hybrid: the Civic is reassuring and easily picks up the pace, benefiting from a reasonable mass of 1.5 t. But is it athletic? His very neutral behavior and his driving character clearly do not go in this direction. For more temperament, we will have to wait for the arrival of the Type R in 2023, which will be the last all-thermal Civic to arrive on our continent. On the other hand, for savings at the pump, it is indeed on this hybrid model that we must count, since we noted 5.7 l/100 km in the city and 6.8 l/100 km on the road traveled at good speed. rhythm.
Inside the 2022 Honda Civic
As is the case with its exterior lines, the Civic achieved a form of sobriety in its interior design. The dark dashboard is barred by a continuous honeycomb ventilation grille, easily adjustable by means of small joysticks to direct the airflow. The materials are serious, sometimes a little basic, and there are some good ideas like the plastic with the characteristic grain of the central console. While the driving position is good, the seats are a little too soft, and three-quarter rear visibility is very limited.
The in-dash display controls are easy to use once you understand how to use them. Ditto for the infotainment system, which has physical keys to easily return to previous menus. Its interface seems dated compared to many other systems, but it’s responsive and, thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can take over. In this case, the navigation indications of Google Maps, for example, refer directly to the dashboard. A good point.
In the rear, passengers will appreciate the large legroom (2.73 m wheelbase), minus the headroom, especially if they are over 1.80 m. The central square is too steep, as is often the case. Finally, the trunk is very accessible once the light fiber tailgate is lifted. He offers a generous volume of 410 l, which is between the capacity of the Toyota Corolla Sedan and its estate version. The simple 60/40 bench seat reveals an almost flat floor once folded down, for a total volume of 1,220 l.
There aren’t that many compact sedans with a non-rechargeable full hybrid engine. The Toyota Corolla benchmark is a target for the Civic, and it is already preparing the counter-attack by inaugurating the fifth generation of its hybrid system in early 2023. The 2.0 version has 196 hp and 107 g/km of CO2, with the promise of more natural and less noisy acceleration. In the meantime, the current definition of 184 hp is available from €32,050 (€33,400 in the Touring Sports station wagon).
Let’s also mention the Hyundai Ionic Hybrid (€28,450) with its 141 hp and its original double-clutch robotic gearbox transmission. If not as dynamic, this car is one of the few non-plug-in hybrids directly comparable to the Civic. It is also particularly efficient with its CO emissions2 only 102 g/km.
For the rest, we can turn to mild hybrid petrol versions, such as the Volkswagen Golf 1.5 eTSI 150 hp (€39,310), or invest in a plug-in hybrid model, such as the Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180, but it is a technology more expensive to buy and more restrictive to use.
Find the results of the test and the prices, equipment and technical sheet on the next page.