Spec for spec, it’s cheaper than a Golf and better equipped than the Astra. The technology works well too. What I will say though is don’t rule out the zippy petrol version.

★★★☆☆ | Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX

What Have We Got

Here is Honda’s 10th generation Civic. It is the humble family car that has been a staple from Honda since the 70s. Now let’s be honest, before 2006’s 8th generation Civic, it had been largely thought of as a competent car and one that’s just alright.

That all changed and again with this all-new Civic 10. Design-wise it is an elegant looking car that takes generation 8 Civic to a new level ignoring generation 9’s dumpy potato look. And it has paid off because the Civic 10 is a looker.

Driving

It’s a puzzler. Civic comes with two driving modes, normal and sport. The usual attributes happen when you press the button with the steering becoming artificially stiffer along with the damper rates, and throttle response is sharpened. What then would be nice is for a softer ride in normal mode. It isn’t a hard ride at all and on most surfaces, it is always composed, and very little throws it off its course. A softer ride though might just quieten the road noise and add some luxury quality.

The diesel engine is rather torquey and once spinning, it will reach the rev limiter quickly. It catches you out too for a car with a 0-60 of over 10 seconds, so you need to be quick on first three gears. Thankfully the clutch is light with good feel, and the gear stick precise and slick.

What I did find was the fuel economy a little disappointing at the pumps. Honda claim 80.7mpg for the combined. I was lucky to get 49mpg over my week with Civic. That’s some way off their claim.

Inside

Inside you are treated to a well-made interior. It all fits well together, and the controls are logically laid out. The infotainment system isn’t as clunky to use as some though it takes a bit of time to build up familiarity with it particularly with the heating. I’m in a 50/50 kind of mind if I like the split screen and button use for it. Screen de-mist is a button under the infotainment screen while the other setups are all contained within the touchscreen.

Interior is also very dark with its use of black is everywhere. Some of the joins where one material meets another are not always successful. What is though is the centre console that is well made. All this black would become unbearable if it weren’t for two things. The big retractable glass roof and the masses of shoulder space. Depending on your build you’ll find there is either too much shoulder space, or the door armrests are not large enough. I found I was having to spread my arms out like having a broom shoved down my sleeves and holding the steering wheel at the precisely 5:35.

Living with it

I have a few gripes about the Civic as mentioned above. The hatchback opening is large and wide, and a neat feature that I do like is the fold away parcel shelf blind that when compacted looks like a printer ink cartridge. It’s genius thinking. The problem with a hatchback is the problem of where do you put the parcel shelf. 10/10 Honda.

I also like the sense of space. Despite my moan about shoulder space, the car doesn’t feel too wide to drive through town. It’s quite nice to pilot around.

Verdict?

I’d have one. I wouldn’t feel cheated if I was thrown the keys and told, “That’s yours, get on with it”. You can’t argue with the cost and spec over its nearest rivals. Spec for spec, it’s cheaper than a Golf and better equipped than the Astra. The technology works well too. What I will say though is don’t rule out the zippy petrol version.

Love

Price

Spec

Looks

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Loathe

Unrealistic fuel figures

Heating controls

Turbo lag

The Lowdown

Car – Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX

Cost – £26,574 (as tested)

MPG – 80.7 mpg (combined)

Power – 120ps

0-62mph – 10.2 seconds

Top Speed – 125mph

Co2 – 93 (g/km)