Inside, the driver is faced with a two-tier instrument panel that resembles a futuristic Wurlitzer.
Inside, the driver is faced with a two-tier instrument panel that resembles a futuristic Wurlitzer. The layout is based on Honda’s Dual Link concept, which is said to organise information in a rational way. It practice it works by splitting the driver information between the two levels. A wide arc panel sits just inside the windscreen and houses electronic displays for the digital speedometer, which is directly ahead of the driver so as to be easily read at a glance. To the left and right of this is a series of lights displaying information about the rev indicator and fuel economy. Further left is another digital display for the audio and clock.
The secondary area, behind the steering wheel is laid out in a symmetrical manner with an air vent, which is unique to the driver, echoing the comfort controls on the other side of the wheel, while the red ‘engine start’ button is the same size as the dual-zone air-conditioning control on the left.
In the middle is the very clever instrument cluster, comprising a central tachometer with temperature and fuel gauge in an arc, either side. Put the key in and the whole section is bathed in an eerie blue glow. In the centre of the rev-counter is yet another display but this one appears to hang in mid air. It is multi-functional and offers information about average speed or fuel consumption, temperature, fuel range and whether the rear passengers have belted up.
The rake and reach adjustable steering is not left out either and features a return to the triangular motif in a brushed metallic-effect trim. This section also houses buttons for the audio controls, telephone and cruise control (where fitted).
The gear selector for the 6-speed box is also a departure from the norm. The base is a silvered orb set into a shallow well and surround of the same metallic-effect material.
The front seats are firm but comfortable, with longer backrests and squabs for better support than before. The driver now sits some 50mm taller than in the previous model and has the only seat with height adjustment.
The rear seats are also firm and there is a surprising amount of legroom. When the middle seat is not in use, the back doubles as a drop-down armrest. The seats fold very easily in a single action to form a flat extension to the boot floor. However, they are quite heavy when it comes to pulling them up again. Alternatively, the 60:40 split seats have squabs that can be folded upwards against the seat backs forming a wall and making two separate load areas. Honda tells us that the luggage area is the largest in its class with 485-litres of space when the seats are in place and 1,352-litres to the window-line, when they are folded flat.
Honda Civic Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Honda Civic 1.8i ES|
|Body Type||3-Door Hatchback|
|Colour||Cosmic Grey Pearl|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.9 Seconds|
|Top Speed||127 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Year/90,000 mile warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 30/08/06)||£15,650|