I am not an auto expert but I am a daily user, so I will try my best to review from my perspective.
I had to replace my 2007 Honda Civic VTi-L after 10 years of use, and eventually ended up buying another Civic – this time it is a 2017 VTi-S. Before finalising my car, I had test-driven a few SUVs (It felt like I was the one taking the car home rather than the car taking me home. Such a pain trying to control the steering) and two cars. The SUVs I tried were the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander and Holden Captiva, and the cars were the Skoda Octavia and Hyundai Elantra. So, I will use them here to compare some of the things that are relevant and common with the Civic.
PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY:
Good. I am very impressed with the Civic’s fuel economy. I commute to work on a daily basis from Werribee to Collingwood (Sorry, can’t take public transport, my job requires a car) and my fuel usage is 7.4L/100km. During school holidays when there is less traffic it is 7.0L/100km. It is just a litre less than my 2007 Civic. Having said that, it matches my old car with 8.0L/100km when the air-con is on during hot days.
In terms of performance, I know it is not a sports car and I don’t need one anyway. I always used the CVT, so I really don’t understand some experts’ complaints about it. For me, it is the same. I drive and plan ahead before overtaking, move gradually from stop-start and reach home on time. Although, I felt like the Skoda Octavia’s DSG gears were smoother than the Civic’s gears.
CABIN SPACE & COMFORT:
It is indeed very spacious, and in fact the car looks longer and feels wider than my 2007. My wife struggled for two weeks to sit in the very low rear seats with very low outside visibility (she is 5ft 6in) before getting used to it. Rear seat occupants may feel like there is inadequate back support and may hurt a bit on long drives. The driver’s seat is good enough.
There is one problem, though: the fabrics are too soft, too cushiony, and nowhere near to my 2007’s quality. The rear headrest cannot be adjusted, and if the passenger is female and wears a ponytail, then it will surely be a problem.
This is reflected in the cabin storage as well. I do not feel like it has more storage space, especially when you compare it with my 2007 Civic and the Holden Captiva. For example, if you use two cup holders, then your centre armrest storage has shrunk a bit, and I am sure you cannot store your tablet unlike Honda claims.
Storage is a bit narrow and it cannot fit my perfect square soft-tissue box. There is no rubber mat like my 2007 for grip. You can fit commercial water bottles (like Mt Franklin) in the door pockets, but not your own water bottle. You can shop at Daiso for thinner bottles. The glovebox is so light that when you open it, it’s as if it is going to fall down – again nowhere near to my 2007. The armrest is a bit unreachable depending on where you position your seat.
The plastics were actually quite good compared to the Octavia, Elantra, X-Trail, Outlander and Captiva. It is solid where it should be and soft where it should be. Having said that, I am still a bit uncomfortable when it comes to comfort.
For me, comfort also means how quiet the car is when I drive. Unfortunately, it has got worse from my 2007. Road noise is too much, to an extent where you have to break your throat so passengers can hear you. It makes features like music and Bluetooth useless. I really feel like I have downgraded my car here.
Adding salt to the wound is the rattle noise from the dashboard. After just one drive to the countryside (Masons Falls), the rattle increased further. You know how irritating it can be in any car, let alone in my new Civic with just 2000km on it!
Overall, it is less than okay in this section for me with very low-quality fabric throughout the car (seats, armrests on the side, centre, top and bottom). You should check how bad even the carpet mat is. Definitely, it is a downgrade from the seventh generation to the 10th generation.
TECHNOLOGY & CONNECTIVITY:
Good. I am stuck with my work phone and so Apple CarPlay and maps. Although, I can see improvement in Apple maps. My speakers are okay (just okay). You need a FAT32-format USB if you prefer USB sticks. The centre console is not easy to reach for the driver, but I found the controls on the steering wheel useful to cover the shortcoming. I actually found the volume control easy to use (maybe I am the only one who mastered it).
So, though it is not as good as the one in the Octavia, it is good enough. It is definitely better than all other cars I tried.
PRICE & FEATURES:
Keyless FOB, push start (not a fan), remote boot release, brake hold, tyre pressure monitor, unique blind spot camera, and the great wide-angle reverse camera are the ones I like. Having said that, the blind spot camera makes me nervous for a second as it interrupts the map when indicating.
I bought mine for $25K, but I am not sure whether it is worth it. Maybe it is. The reason for my doubt is the worst build quality. I think I can justify the money I spent on this if it can run for 10 years like my old car, but I doubt it. I think parts will start dropping by five years if it rattles like this.
RIDE & HANDLING:
Handling is very good and it is much better than my 2007 Civic, the Octavia, Outlander, Captiva and X-Trail. It absorbs the bumps quite well. Ride is also reasonably good. Still, that rattle and road noise don’t let me enjoy any of the above.
Will I recommend it? Well, as long as it is VTi-S and doesn’t cost more than $25K it is a good and economical choice. It is questionable when it comes to the higher variants.
I may not buy another Honda again, though (unless they cost well below $20K and come with free ear plugs).