Honda can claim to be the first manufacturer to produce a design that protects pedestrians properly. It performed so well that it came close to achieving a fourth star. Unfortunately the child restraints did not protect well. They were a new design using two-point ISOFIX mountings and a top tether. The cabin remained virtually distortion-free in the frontal impact, which is remarkable for a small car.
The body proved very strong and the driver’s door opened normally after the impact, showing no distortion at the front pillar. Relatively high belt loads to the chest were recorded. The structure behind the facia was likely to injure both occupants’ legs. The footwell remained virtually intact, which was exceptional.
No points were lost in the side impact test but the trajectory of the driver’s head was unusual: it contacted the door waist rail. This made him vulnerable to objects intruding through the window. Honda provided head protection padding above the window frame and on the central pillar.
A small pictogram on the centre pillar was the only warning against placing a child in a rearward- facing restraint on the front passenger seat, opposite an airbag. Euro NCAP urges Honda to provide better warnings. The restraints used were Honda-branded Römer Duo that had top tethers. Their attachments must be extended before they engage the ISOFIX anchorage pins within the car seat, but there was too little information on the seat labels for whoever fits them to understand this. The top tether fixing was not explained. The high neck loading recorded for the 18-month-old made his seat unsuitable.
Honda set out to do well in these tests and this has been achieved. The Civic’s bumper gave a high degree of protection without compromising its performance. The front edge of the bonnet also showed its sound design. The bonnet hinges, latch design and wing mountings also incorporated measures to minimise impact forces. Its overall score took it close to earning a four-star rating.