THE new British built Honda Civic has not been on the roads all that long since its UK launch earlier this yearbut it has already collected several awards for best value and economy.
I had not driven a Honda for some time until testing the new Civic which does not look all that much different from the previous model.
One important change is to the split rear window which had no wiper and was difficult to see through especially at night - it now has a wiper and while it is still split it is easier to see through.
My test car was the Civic 1.8 i-VTEC ES five-door automatic costing £21,280 which was well endowed with standard kit including the very useful multi information display in front of the driver showing mpg and climate and audio settings. The owner can also have their photo on it - how cool is that!
Honda have always been one of the industry’s top engine manufacturers and the 1.8-litre petrol engine was smooth and eager.
I liked the gearbox for its seamless operation and for those owners who still enjoy a bit of DIY gearchanging there are paddles on the steering wheel.
Some of the controls and switchgear including the radio have been criticised for being difficult to use but I did not find this to be so and in fact found the radio very easy to use - if I can manage to do this anyone can.
The new Civic has a very good driving position with great handling qualities and I particularly liked the digital speedometer above the steering wheel - the area next to it also changes colour to indicate when the car is being driven most economically.
There is no spare wheel but this has resulted in a double decker load area with the largest section above the floor level and another quite large area underneath.
It is very much a car for these environmentally friendly times and Yorkshire based residual value experts CAP Monitor has forecast the car will have top used values - another very good reason for considering this hatchback.
My verdict: A quality hatchback with top residuals.
Model: Honda Civic
Engine: 1.8 petrol.
Output: 142bhp@ 6500rpm.
Top speed: 130mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined 44.8mpg.
CO2 emissions: 148g/km.