When the first Civic was launched over 40 years ago the car was built in Japan but the model has been produced at the company’s Swindon works for some time and it has become established as Honda’s best seller with over 20 million sales world wide.
The distinctive shape of the latest Civic is similar to the previous model but the rear of the car which was considerably criticised is much improved and now has a much needed wiper as well as being more stylish.
After a week with the Civic 2.2 i-DTEC EX five door with six speed manual transmission I realised why the Civic has sold so well for this Honda with its very comfortable leather upholstered luxurious interior and user friendly controls and instruments is a tempting alternative to rivals such as the Golf, Focus and Astra.
Honda was rather late introducing diesel engines but the company’s oil burners are now among the best in the industry and the 2.2-litre 150bhp diesel in the test car was really smooth and quiet producing a top speed of 135mph, a zero to 62mph time of 8.5 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 67.3 mpg.
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It produced lively motoring with the car feeling just right regarding steering and road holding and it is not really surprising that it has sold so well especially in the UK and around the world
Honda say they have designed the fascia and area around it similar to the cockpit of a racing car or aircraft and it is different from other cars in this market sector which I liked especially the digital speedometer that is easy to see at all times in all light conditions although some of the other functions in the display panel were not so easy to see in very bright light.
It is nice to have a wiper on the rear window at last and while visibility has improved and the rear styling looks better from the outside the window is still split and I would have preferred to have had it without the divider.
And while the rear load area is ample with more sizeable load space beneath the floor this has been provided because there is no spare wheel which I am sure some owners would prefer.
This particular model which is one of the most expensive in the range costs £24,575 on the road (the Civic starts at £16,995) has loads of standard equipment including those very comfortable leather seats plus satellite navigation, a very useful multi information display, rear parking camera and a premium audio system with six speakers.
Honda stylists have taken an evolutionary approach to the latest Honda especially up front and at the rear where they have corrected most of the points of criticism although as I have mentioned I would have preferred a one piece rear window.
The latest Civic especially the one I have just driven with the larger diesel engine is now even more appealing to those motorists wanting a distinctive and quality alternative to the competition especially the rivals mentioned earlier.
My Verdict: Civic is set for more success.
Model: Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC EX 5 door.
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel.
Output: 150bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 135mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 8.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 67.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 110g/km.
Price: £24,575 on the road.