150 - Honda Civic Sport Plus

Continuing our series of 150 second road test summaries, this time it’s the Honda Civic Sport Plus 1.5 CVT. For our full podcast about this car, listen here.

Since the first Honda Civic was launched in 1972 as a compact, 3-door city car its remit has changed somewhat. Now, in its tenth generation is straddles the Focus/Mondeo divide, it’s the size of a 3-Series saloon, and leaves the small car duties to the Jazz and the HR-V.

 Honda Civic Sport Plus

Honda Civic Sport Plus

There’s nothing else on the road that looks like a Civic. We’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not but it definitely suits darker tones. We tried the hatchback, but a saloon has just been introduced. It’s 20cm longer, but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference in isolation.

The Civic’s interior is less controversial than the exterior. The primary controls are clear and obvious and the entertainment works well in addition to CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s plenty of room for five in the cabin - the middle rear seat passenger having plenty of flat bench seat but a slight transmission hump. The dashboard is clear and there are plenty of storage cubbies.

All UK Civic come well specified. Sport includes climate, navigation, privacy glass and alloy pedals, Sport Plus adds keyless entry, adaptive dampers and some active safety systems whilst Prestige gains you leather seats, heated rear seats and some chrome

 Nestled amongst all of this pipes and cables is a 1.5 litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

Nestled amongst all of this pipes and cables is a 1.5 litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

Boot space in the hatch is a regular-shaped 420 litres to the windows, reminding us just how versatile the currently-unpopular fastback body shape really is.

We tried the 1.5 litre petrol mated to a CVT. When cruising and pottering around it was refined, quiet and unobtrusive but completely devoid of the Sport from the model designation. Pointing the Civic at a helmsmithworthy A-road and hitting Sport mode brought out the Civic’s Mister Hyde and it felt truly alive and at home, the CVT synthesising non-existent gears and the dampers stiffening to complete the transformation. Sport is there if you look for it.

The Honda Civic Sport Plus won’t be the default choice for many buyers around the £27,000 price point, but if you can get along with the looks and don’t need a  German badge then its reasonable monthly payments and good spec levels should mean it makes it to the shortlist.