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Honda Civic 1.8 Hatch

Broadcast date : 27th August 2006

Despite Honda’s insistence that the Civic was designed for Europe, it has some typically flamboyant Japanese touches that we don’t immediately associate with the Cafes of Cool on the River Seine and the Opera House.

On the other hand, there’s nothing reticent about this Civic five-door, and Europeans appreciate the quality of confidence.

Honda’s mission with the Civic hatch was to make other cars look out-dated, and we feel they’ve achieved that with a distinct arrow-head theme recurring in design elements all over the car.

Other influences, according to Honda’s press material, include the tight-fitting sensuousness of European clothes and the simplicity of the Japanese Kimono.

The reassuring Honda engineering is tightly packaged beneath the sleek sheet-metal.

Honda have pulled off quite an amazing feat in this interior, in that they’ve pushed the boundaries in design without ending up with a mish-mash of kitsch.

We expect the likes of Renault, Fiat, and even the conservative German car builders to take a long look at some of the cockpit elements, which manage to combine the outer edges of style with harmonious practicality.

As for the rest of the package, rest assured that this car more than matches up to its visual promises in all but one vital area.

The 1,8 litre VTEC engine is excellent for a sedan, but a hot-looking hatch like this deserves a more special engine.

That’s a criticism born more from the heart than the head, as there’s no doubt there are strong marketing reasons why Honda so far offer only the 103 kiloWatt motor here.


We understand the main problem regarding all Civics is one of world-wide availability as the car has been so warmly received in other markets that production can’t keep up with demand. And there is a potent R version on the horizon. 

The sheer poise of the Civic hatch has to be experienced to be appreciated. We reckon there are few cars on the road right now with this kind of blend of driver involvement and ease of operation. From a handling perspective it seems that nothing fazes the Civic five-door.

To get this kind of ride control, Honda employ, once again, a mix of complexity and simplicity. Simple front Macpherson struts and a rear torsion beam are controlled by sophisticated link and bushing systems.

Honda Civic 1,8 Hatch
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1 799 cc
  • Power: 103 kW @ 6 300 rpm
  • Torque: 174 Nm @ 4 200 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 9,7 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 194 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 9,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R204 000
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