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Honda Civic

At first glance, this latest Civic could be confused for the previous model, though closer inspection will reveal new bumpers, a revised grille and front fog lights, together with fresh tail lights and a black rear spoiler. And because the model we test here is the new Sport model, it also includes a mesh lower grille, 17-inch black alloy wheels and a colour coded rear spoiler. Improvements to the cabin include a piano black detailing, a new infotainment system, and revisions to the seat fabrics and trim.
Under the skin, improvements have been made to the steering, while suspension tweaks ensure that the latest car is more surefooted, with less body roll when cornering. The real icing on the cake, though, is news that the Civic is now up to £1,600 cheaper than before. Climb into the cabin for the first time and it is all a bit, well, space-age. A digital read-out instead of an analogue speedometer is a neat touch, though, and nicely positioned right within your line of sight. An extra display to the left is awkwardly positioned, however, and gets easily obscured by bright sunshine.
All of the major controls are logically arranged, high up on the dashboard, and the gear lever in particular is nicely positioned for comfort. There's soft-touch plastics where it matters and the cabin feels solidly put together, although it doesn't quite have the quality feeling of a comparable VW Golf. It's easy to get a comfortable driving position, thanks to plenty of adjustment, with the chairs offering decent lateral support. While the view ahead is pretty good, over the shoulder visibility is hindered by thick rear pillars, and that rear spoiler that splits the view makes reversing more of a challenge.
Space in the Civic is generous both front and rear, with head and legroom more than sufficient. Boot space is a particular strength of the Civic thanks to 477 litres of room, which can be extended to 1,210 litres by folding the rear chairs down.
A unique trick in the rear of the Honda is that the rear seats also fold-up theatre-style, so you can carry bulkier items. One element that is carried over unchanged is the marvellous engine. It delivers 118bhp and an ample 221lb ft of torque, arming the Civic with brisk performance. And yet it is capable of emitting just 98g/km of CO2 and achieving 76.3mpg on the combined cycle. Past experience of the engine in the previous generation car shows that it is easy to get highly decent economy figures without even trying, with results in the high 60s possible - more if you are light footed and patient. The revised steering has made the latest car more pleasurable to steer, with greater precision and better agility on fast back roads.
The six-speed gearbox is a slick operator, and thanks to a light and progressive clutch, it's a pleasure to manoeuvre around town. Ride comfort has been improved compared to before, soaking up road humps nicely, and isolating passengers from sharp jolts from potholes and pockmarked surfaces, while at motorway speeds it is suitably calm. With a quiet engine and relatively hushed road and wind noise, the Civic is a great companion over long distances.

Model tested Sport Navi 1.6 i-DTEC
Price .21,430
Made in Swindon, UK
Configuration 5-door hatchback, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1597cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power output 118bhp @ 4,000rpm
Maximum torque 221lb ft @ 2,000rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 129mph/10.5 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 98g/km (A) Euro 5
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 68.9/80.7/76.3mpg
Fuel tank size/range 50 litres/839 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 15/17%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,370/2,065mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 477/1,210 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,307/1,400kg
In showrooms Now
Prices .18,755 to .26,140
Bodystyles 5-door hatchback and 5-door estate
Engines 1.6 (118bhp)
Trim levels S, S Navi, SE Plus, SE Navi Plus, Sport, Sport Navi, SR, EX Plus
Also consider Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra

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