What Do We Have?
Honda has been busy evolving their tenth-generation Civic in an attempt to keep it abreast of the new challenges it faces within the competitive, if sometimes over-looked mid-sized hatchback segment.
Changes for the new 19MY Civic include smoother front and rear bumpers and changes to the plethora of grills that dress them. The new model we came to try is being called the EX Sport Line. There also comes a new rear spoiler.
The new car is being marketed as a sort of cheaper alternative to the highly acclaimed Type R. A Civic that is worshipped better than the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus  Except with the Type R, it’s more about how immoral it is.
The EX Sport Lines on offer for testing were fitted with either the slick 6-speed manual or new CVT gearbox. This CVT replaces the conventional automatic with its confusing push button selector. Instead, the new CVT is fitted with a standard stick shift as you’d find in a normal automatic.
Fitted with a plucky 3 cylinder petrol that pushes out a respectable 126 PS from a 1-litre capacity. Now this engine might not be what you would be expecting to see fitted considering the Sport Line is a type of Type R alternative but let us just remember that this is a Civic that mixes everyday drivability without the heart attack.
Torque outputs alter retrospectively between the 2 transmission types with the manual having 20 Nm more at 200. On paper at least you could say you shouldn’t notice with outright performance figures being so close. That said, it did feel like the CVT was a little lethargic to shift unless you selected |sport| mode and then it would alter.
Inside sees changes to some textured panelling on the dashboard and the supportive seats. Racy red stitching is used to further heighten the racing appeal of the Sport Line.
Where major changes have been made is within the new climate controls and stereo system. Main changes are the addition of buttons to help navigate the often criticised complicated screens. These now allow the most used sub-menus to be reached with one button.
It is just a shame that the satnav detailing isn’t up to spec. Thankfully this can be avoided with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. I used Android and it worked very well.
Living With It
It really comes down to what type of driver you are. The Civic is a car that comes highly recommended and you’ll find it has a legion of fans out there no matter what model they drive.
So if you are a more enthusiastic driver then the manual will whet your curiosity to explore a random B road to its limits. The CVT won’t disappoint that much but you will have to work it that much harder and it’s not that rewarding to do so. As a competent commuter car that will sit in the daily grind of the A-B traffic, it will be of great comfort that the cog swapping is left to the machine.
The majority of the changes Honda has carried out haven’t really altered much to the Civic and there really wasn’t any need to do this anyway. The Civic has always been an accomplished car as both a driver’s car and a striking visual.
We did ask about the change to a CVT gearbox. Honda was quick to point out its economy benefits and value for money in being able to offer an auto system cheaper than the system used previously. That aside, I personally feel it is a step backwards when Honda has progressed the Civic forward with the MY19 model.
With that in mind, you will find this Civic being recommended, but just think about what type of driver you are before parting with your money.
“Sport Line” moniker
Car – Honda Civic EX Sport Line
Price (as tested) – 26,035 MANUAL (27,435 CVT )
MPG – 45.6 MAN (42.2 CVT) WLTP combined
Power – 126PS
0-60 – 11.2 MAN (11.0 CVT)
Top speed – 126mph MAN (124 CVT)
Co2 – 110g/km MAN (107g/km CVT) New Civic
All photos Stuart M. Bird