Honda Civic Sport Line: pretend you're on the track while you're on the school run

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Honda Civic is a family hatchback that offers practicality while still retaining somewhat of a sportier look. The Civic Sport Line takes that a step further with a racier aesthetic inside and out - for those on the school run wishing they were perhaps somewhere else.

Starting at £19,805 ($21,750), the Honda Civic is an affordable option for those looking for space for kids, shopping, luggage or life in general. However, the price jumps as you move up the grades, and the range-topping EX Sport Line (if we ignore the Type-R) will set you back £25,510.

Add in a splash of metallic paint (like the Obsidian Blue on ours) and you’re looking at £26,035.

Honda Civic Sport Line design and drive

As we’ve mentioned, the Honda Civic EX Sport Line comes with a sportier look than the entry-level model. Additional body work includes a low-level rear spoiler which sits on the shelf splitting the rear window in two, front and side skirts, and a large, full-width rear diffuser - providing better aerodynamics.

We drove

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Honda Civic EX Sport Line

Engine: 1.0 V-TEC Turbo
Power: 124bhp
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Top speed: 126mph
Fuel efficiency: 45.6mpg
Price: £26,035  

You also get larger, 17-inch black wheels and additional black trim around the windows, adding to the sporty aesthetic.

The body work that runs through the rear window does reduce visibility, which is further reduced by the addition of the spoiler on the Sport Line, which cuts out a chunk of the view behind. The wing mirrors are, however a reasonable size providing you with a decent sight line out of each side of the car.

Heading inside, and the red stitching on the seats, door panels and steering wheel are another nod towards the Sport Line credentials. The seats are comfortable, and there’s enough room in the back to accommodate a couple of adults, or a trio of kids.

There’s good news for rear passengers (although, sadly not anyone who gets stuck in the middle spot) as their seats are also heated, along with the two up front. As this is a family hatchback, the Civic also offers up a sizable boot, with space for a couple of large flight cases and a number of additional bags.

The cabin is spacious and practical, and putting your foot on the clutch and pressing the Start/Stop button to the right of the steering wheel brings the Civic Sport Line to life.

It may only have a 1.0 liter engine, but it does feature a turbo and Honda’s VTEC technology, which means it still has the ability to surprise and excite. This isn’t a car which is going to win you any drag races, but it’s still capable of propelling you from 0-62mph in around 11 seconds, with a top speed of 126mph.

The agile handling adds to the fun, allowing you to flick the Honda Civic boisterously through corners with the car sticking to the road well, while the large brakes ensure you stop quickly. The six speed gear shift is nimble, making changing up and down a doddle.

Honda Civic Sport Line specs and tech

The Honda Civic comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display (in the SR spec line and above) at the heart of its center console, providing access to navigation, audio, phone calling and various other car settings.

It runs the firm’s Honda Connect interface, which is more basic than some of its rivals, but overall it’s still functional. The interface is intuitive, and there are physical buttons to the right of the screen providing quick access to the core features (Home, Audio, Phone, Nav).

The various functions do take a little while to load, but it’s unlikely to cause any real issues. You can connect your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music to the car’s stereo, and also make and receive calls.

There are on-wheel buttons allowing you to manage incoming and outgoing calls, as well as adjust audio volume and skip radio stations/tracks. The EX Sport Line Civic comes with an 11 speaker set-up (an upgrade from the eight in lower specs), providing all-encompassing sound with solid bass response.

If you’re considering the Honda Civic, there’s a way to improve the infotainment experience - by plugging in your smartphone. Honda Connect supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay, which sees your phone’s core apps mirrored on the Civic’s display.

A USB port resides behind the wireless charging pad (with the pad offering an easy way to top up your phone, if it supports the wire-free technology). Plug your phone into the car and the Civic’s interface will change, giving you access to core apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Spotify, messages, WhatsApp and more.

We found that when using Apple CarPlay, the interface was faster and more responsive. While the navigation offered by Honda’s stock system worked well, we found Apple and Google’s mapping apps more feature rich.

There’s another digital display in the Honda Civic, with the second panel located in the instrument cluster. While it doesn’t take up the whole space, with physical engine temperature and petrol gauges flanking it, it’s still a reasonable size and provides useful additional information such as speed limits, navigation directions and caller ID alongside the standard revs, speed, time and outdoor temperature.

An array of driver aids are available too, from adaptive cruise control and lane assist to take the pressure of driving long distances to automatic wipers and lights, giving you fewer things to remember as you go along.

The automatic lights include high-beam assist, which will see the ultra-bright lights switched on when the Civic detects no on-coming traffic in poorly lit areas. However, we found that sometimes it would get a little confused, switching on when other vehicles were around.

Luckily, you can turn off the auto high-beam function if you do find it troublesome.

There are also blind-spot indicators on the wing mirrors which handily alert you to cars cruising alongside you, and if you try and move out while someone is there the Civic will beep at you, alerting you to the impending danger.

Pop the Honda Civic into reverse and you’ll get a view from the rear camera appear on-screen, helping to guide you into a spot, or maneuvering in a tricky situation.

The Honda Civic Sport Line offers something different to your standard family hatchback. It still retains the practicalities you want - 5 seats and decent boot space - but with an edgier look and handling that wouldn't feel out of place on a track.

It doesn't have the most advanced technology on the market, but there's still a wide selection of features and what is there, works well. If you're looking to move away from the norm, the Civic EX Sport Line provides an interesting alternative. 

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.