Barring the rear view (the spoiler sits just at indicator height at my preferred seating height and reach) and a slightly firmer ride than I would prefer (I'm expecting it to bed in a bit, though!), this is an excellent car and I would have given it five stars across all ratings.
This is the first car I've had that people I work with have come running over for a look inside. It has very striking looks, the dash works a treat, the equipment level is excellent, and noise is not an issue (in fact, the stereo raises volume at speed more than road noise interferes, unless being revved hard).
On typical runs, I am doing I am getting mid 30s mpg, which is up around 6mpg better than my old Corolla 1.6. The engine is very willing and begs to be driven harder than the town runs it is getting.
Inside you get everything (I did not opt for the EX as I already have a satellite-navigation system), and, on a dull day, just opening the roof blinds lightens the car up no end. The MP3 CD is a trifle slow sometimes when searching for tracks, but then again with 150 tracks and full information, who needs a CD changer?
I have set one of the speed alarms to 35, so I get a little chime when I am exceeding the limit. However, it's not intrusive and you can turn it on and off - it is quite handy!
I am very impressed with this car and feel that maybe the official review was given in a car that was noisier than most because, frankly, mine is not noticably noisy at speeds.
Although some people have a problem with the exterior styling (the back end takes a bit of getting used to), the front styling is great, although I do have some concerns as to the clear plastic front – how bad will this look after it's been stone-chipped? I guess only time will tell.
I have taken the option of the 18-inch alloy wheels - £850 gets you an extra inch and this could be one of the reasons for the firm ride. Its cornering abilities are awesome; it sticks to the road at what ever speed you choose to take the corner at.
It begs to have the throttle stamped on, and is extremely rewarding to drive when you do so, yet when driven 'sensibly' will reward you with about 40mpg. Other reviews think the car is noisy at motorway speeds - you can hear a bit of road noise, but they make it sound like its deafening - it isn't.
Now for the interior. It’s a work of art. The dashboard wraps around the driver and although there is an array of buttons, everything is easy to use. The voice-activated satellite-navigations sytem, stereo and Bluetooth phone all work well and again are straight forward to master. The stereo system (I upgraded mine to concert – bass works) is phenomenal.
The seats are extremely comfortable and the 'magic' one-touch operation to lower or lift the rear seat is extremely practical. Rear visibility isn't great for parking but I have taken the parking sensors option and that eliminates the problem.
Each time I made my visit to the Honda showroom my eyes fell upon the new Civic - I don't like the shape, I said to myself each time - but there was always someone looking at it or sitting in it with a smile on their face.
Eventually I wondered over too. I had better take a brochure to have a thorough look, I thought.
Clearly the Civic was a special vehicle throughout and very different to the norm. It's a typical Honda, loaded with almost every extra at a super price and available with eye-catching upgrades. I then visited the Honda website to 'build' my own.
Suitably impressed so far, I decided to have a test drive in the diesel the following day. My thoughts and verdict on the diesel - well, all I would say is you have to try it for yourself. It's absolutely top notch for power, economy and refinement, with super handling.
I placed my order for the Civic soon after and took delivery two weeks ago. The car certainly causes a lot of interest, especially with the upgraded alloy wheels and body kit, and all who have sat in the driver's seat have been amazed with the futuristic layout and interesting design.
I have encountered a small problem with a slight knocking in the rear of the car. The local dealership has responded admirably, and all will be sorted very shortly with collection of my vehicle and delivery of a loan car.
I have owned BMW, Audi, and Jaguar cars previously - all were good, but not what the Honda is - totally engaging.
We were on the verge of ordering a new VW Golf GT TDI when I said to my wife 'Let's just look around and see what else is available'.
I suggested the local Honda dealership, to which my wife replied 'I am only 36 not 56 years old'. Anyway, I persuaded her to get out of the car and have a look. We were both drawn to the new Civic straight away, and on inspecting the interior and what you get for your money, we could not wait for a test drive.
We could not believe it was a diesel - it felt faster than the mkIV Golf GTI which I owned at the time. Having two children, the car had to be practical and it was just far better than anything else we looked at.
Since owning the new Civic, you can't help but smile when you're driving and everyone takes a second look and wants to ask you about it. The only down side I can see is the servicing costs, but having owned VWs, I don't think it will be much more. It's a top car - well done, Honda.
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