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Since being released in 1973, more than 650,000 Honda Civics have been sold. Previous versions of the Civic became popular due to there impressive looks, innovative yet practical cabin and a smooth driving experience. The new Civic aims to build on their reputation, while improving the ride and interior of the vehicle.
Honda has played safe with the vehicles body shape on this occasion, unfortunately looking like the car has lost some of its personality. Although the shape has been updated and refined, the rear window is still separated awkwardly and restricts vision.
It;s obvious to see Honda have spent a long time testing the Civic on UK roads, making the vehicle a much more comfortable drive than your average car. New fluid-filled suspension bushes have been amended, so it soaks up potholes easily. Essentially, the car feels more mature, a less distinctive design but far more aerodynamic, and much quieter than other versions of the Honda Civic.
Quality has been developed too, a soft-touch material has been introduced for the dashboard, replacing the fragile plastics. Even on basic SE-trimmed cars, the accessories included are exceptional. Stop-start, climate control, an ECON button (which modifies throttle response to improve economy) and alloy wheels are all included. Other available equipment includes flagship xenon highlights, a parking camera, leather upholstery on its comfortable seats and sat-nav.
The Honda Civic claims CO2 emissions of 115g/km and 64.2mpg, leading to free road tax in the first year. With power coming from a 148bhp 2.2 litre diesel it is capable of 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, although you need to change gear promptly and often to sustain acceleration.
The new electric power-steering is definite, if a bit light. This makes the Honda Civic still enjoyable to drive on windy roads. With retained suspension and a stiff rear trailing arm, it's an agile motor, with adequate turn-in and strong grip.
Many of the old cars attributes have been carried over, including foldable rear seats which allow inconvenient items such as bikes to slide behind the front seats. Although rear seat space could be improved, the boot space is generous at 487 litres and has a twin-height floor.
Whether the Civic is much of a leap forward is questionable, improvement have been made to keep existing customers happy. Whether the vehicle stands out enough to attract new customers remains to be seen. The cars are available now costing from £14,748 to £24,888.