A FRESH look, an overhauled cabin and a new range of petrol engines.

These are just some of the major changes to be found on the tenth-generation Honda Civic.

The Japanese firm has swept aside its tendency to gently refresh the Civic by producing a car radically different to its predecessor.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Civic is its sleek, swept-back exterior look.

Longer, lower and wider than the previous-generation model, the new Civic seems to have a more elegant and grown up silhouette than before.

That’s not to say that the flamboyant design features associated with the Civic have been forgotten – far from it!

At the front, the large air intakes and narrow front grille continue to give the car an aggressive character.

Meanwhile, the sharp lines are complemented by extensive aerodynamic packing including complete under-body panelling.

And the larger, wider wheels underline the car’s lower, sportier stance.

Behind the wheel, the 1.0-litre test car was high on enjoyment and low on fuel consumption.

My initial fear that such a small engine would not be capable of bringing any sort of meaningful power to a fair-sized chunk of metal soon proved to be unfounded.

But the turbocharged unit is a little gem and offers brisk acceleration, especially when paired with the slick six-speed gearbox, as on this vehicle. In real world driving conditions, the Civic feels a good deal nipper than the 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds would suggest.

It’s fair to say that Honda has achieved maximum power from a small capacity, balancing sports performance with economy. Even when pushed hard, the 1.0-litre Civic is reassuringly reluctant to use much fuel.

For those seeking more power, there’s another petrol engine – the 182PS 1.5 VTEC turbo.

When cornering, the low-slung Civic feels grippy and there’s very little by way of body roll.

Meanwhile, the steering makes for an engaging driving experience, offering plenty of feedback and control, helped by the new dual pinion steering system. The suspension has also been configured for purposeful and direct handling, featuring an independent Multi-Link system on the rear and a MacPherson strut set-up at the front. It all helps to fulfill Honda’s proclamation that this is ‘the most agile’ Civic ever.

Inside, the cabin has been completely redesigned and now incorporates a number of higher quality materials.

Where the Civic cabin was once a little confusing, it now has a simpler design theme which includes a new digital instrument binnacle.

The seven-inch Honda Connect 2 colour touchscreen display is a splendid piece of tech, with the touchscreen being far more receptive than that found on previous models.

The cabin is also an area built for comfort, offering plenty of legroom, comfortable seats and soft touch materials.

In the boot, a class-leading 479 litres of storage space is on offer in the hatch version, while the versatile 60:40 split folding rear seats further increase the Civic’s carrying capacity.

Of course, the extra interior space has been facilitated by the car larger body.

As is the case with many cars these days, the Civic is fitted with a wide range of safety systems as standard.

When it was introduced, the latest version of the Civic had been billed as ‘all new’ and it certainly lives up to that description.

It has enough going for it – both inside and out – to appeal to an even wider audience than before.

In conclusion, the Civic’s athletic new look is convincing, the driving experience is engaging while the extra interior space is useful.


Honda Civic SR

PRICE: £20,340 on the road

ENGINE: 1.0-litre VTEC Turbo, producing 129PS

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and top speed of 126mph

EMISSIONS: 117g/km