Looking back four years Honda was enjoying a purple patch, building cars in Swindon and employing 4,000 people. Who would have thought that come 2022 the factory would have been shut and all the jobs would have gone.
So say goodbye to the Honda Civic, your home grown car, because by July 2021 is the date when the factory closes down for good.
It’s a great shame because almost four million have been built in the town since car production began in 1992.
But if you are looking for a good motor then the Civic is still around and this the 10th generation has long held a reputation for being reliable, dynamic and practical with a great engine to boot. While it is expensive like all Hondas but you know you are getting a good deal and the AA will rarely, if ever, come your way. You will also get a good deal when you change your model.
The latest Civic I drove was the 1.0 litre where prices begin at £20,000.
It was the first model in Europe to offer Honda’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder and 1.5 litre four-cylinder gasoline turbocharged engines. These engines also achieve highly competitive fuel economy and efficiency. Both engines are available with either a newly-designed six-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic.
The three-cylinder 1.0 litre VTEC TURBO gasoline unit delivers a significant improvement in everyday power thanks to greater torque at low and mid-range engine speeds. The larger four-cylinder 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO gasoline engine provides substantially greater performance – in power and torque – over the previous Civic’s 1.8-litre VTEC.
Surprisingly the Civic has a top speed of 125 mph while 0-60mph is around 11 seconds and the mpg is between 45 and 50 depending how you are driving.
At the top of the centre console sits the seven-inch Honda Connect 2 colour touchscreen display. As well as being a touch-control device for the new infotainment and climate control functions, the display integrates with a reversing camera on top grades.There is intuitive operation and full smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto.
This means that Honda Connect can now bring iPhone functionality to the driving experience, delivering the interface through the all-new Civic’s built-in display. Drivers can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music from the touch-screen or by voice using Apple’s Siri commands.
The supported apps on CarPlay include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and other compatible third-party software where specified. CarPlay is compatible with iOS 8.4 or later and iPhone 5 or later.
Honda Connect can be specified with optional Garmin satellite navigation, with pre-loaded maps, photo-real junction views, lane guidance, real-time traffic avoidance, 3D building and terrain views, and Eco Routing. Free map updates will be provided for five years, a benefit unique to Honda.
As well as all that there is the car has: Collision Mitigation Braking System; Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning; Road Departure Mitigation; Lane Keeping Assist System; Adaptive Cruise Control; Traffic Sign Recognition; Intelligent Speed Assistance; Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control; Blind Spot Information; Cross Traffic Monitor; Multi-angle rear view mirror and Vehicle Stability system.
There is a two-tier storage tray, specifically with the management of personal electronic devices in mind. The front tray provides at-a-glance and grab-and-go access to devices, with an integrated wireless smartphone charging pad available on some grades.
A hole through the centre console means that cables can be passed from the second tier tray to the front tray, helping to keep cable connectivity and device charging and connectivity neat and tidy. LED lighting aids visibility for the two-tier tray layout at night.
While the magic seats have gone there is a boot which is almost 500 litres which means a set of golf clubs, trolley plus two reasonable suitcases fit in easily. There is a large well under the floor where the spare tyre used to be and can be used for storage.
There is bags of knee room and the cabin has slimline parcel shelves that retract sideways to save space, to a deep central cubby and wire-tidying clips in front of the gear lever. There is good basic kit and the SR model has dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers and 17-inch wheels as standard.
The first ever Civic came off the line in Japan in 1972 and building on its 45-year heritage, the new model stays true to the original Civic concept of a car for all people.
Honda invested in £200m in new production technologies and processes to prepare for the new Civic which took their spending over £2bn in Swindon since they first arrived in town since 1985 with not a red cent of Government money.
Now they decided to pull out of Europe closing two car plants and an engine manufacturing facility. Other areas left on the site include a purpose built test track, dynamic and static test cells, as well as administration and purchasing functions.
So Swindon workers who used to build the great railway engines of the past which pulled trains around the world then built great cars have no industrial heritage left to speak of. 2017 was the silver anniversary for Honda building cars in Swindon. Sadly the 30th anniversary will never be reached.