Terrific turbos make

new Honda Civic

Honda Civic, 2017, front
Honda Civic, 2017, front, action
Honda Civic, 2017, nose
Honda Civic, 2017, side, action
Honda Civic, 2017, rear, action
Honda Civic, 2017, rear
Honda Civic, 2017, dashboard
Honda Civic, 2017, console, storage
Honda Civic, 2017, console
Honda Civic, 2017, spoiler
Honda Civic, 2017, phone charger
Honda Civic, 2017, display screen
Honda Civic, 2017, instrument panel
Honda Civic, 2017, interior
Honda Civic, 2017, boot

INNOVATION appears to be the approach Honda is taking with the launch of its all-new Civic hatchback.

Looking very familiar yet ultra modern, the tenth generation of Honda's British-built top seller will be on the road in a matter of weeks.

Bigger, lower and much more aggressively styled, the latest Civic also marks the debut of two cracking turbo engines.

A new three cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine will power the lower grade Civic models priced from £18,335 while a larger 1.5-litre until will be available in higher specification versions with the seven model range topping out at £27,295.

The new engines replace the 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol engines Honda use in the previous Civic and both outperform their predecessors by some margin.

In fact they have helped transform the Civic into an A-list hatch that is more than a match for the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf.

With the biggest boot of the lot at 478 litres, a roomy inside and a new take on technology the latest Civic has plenty going for it.

Gone are the quirky features of the previous two iterations and although the new one still has a spoiler across the tailgate it is neatly proportioned and no longer impinges on rear vision.

The whole design is much more angular and although instantly recognisable as a Civic even the basic version has potent looks.

Huge nacelles in the front and rear bumpers and sculpted sides give it stand out presence on the road.

On the inside, the instrument panel has also been revamped and is now an easy-to-read state of the art full colour digital display neatly portioned into three zones.

Steering wheel mounted buttons allow for scrolling through a variety of menus ranging from trip information to vehicle status and navigation instructions while a seven-inch touchscreen dominates the middle of the dash.

A slide open centre console provides space for cups and bottles while the car comes with the latest version of the Honda Connect system which incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone hook ups.

A wireless phone charging pad is an option and there is an array of plug-in points throughout the cockpit.

Even in the boot there's innovation and the retractable luggage blind slides sideways. Fold down the rear seats and with extra underfloor storage the cargo space is cavernous.

In its 40 year history - which for a while saw the Civic as a sister ship to the Rover 200 and 25 models - there has never been a Honda hatch with so much kit and that goes for safety systems as well which feature an armoury of camera and radar based detection devices.

On the road the new Civic excels. The ride is soft, comfy and compliant and higher specification models come with adaptive suspension which bolster the sporty feel.

The 1.0-litre engine is an eye opener. Developing 129ps and mated to a slick-feel six speed manual box it is lively and fun to drive.

Noise suppression inside is above average yet there is still a satisfying three-pot rasp from the engine under acceleration.

It suits the car well and with a top speed of 126mph and a 0 to 60 time of 10.4 seconds can handle all circumstances without issue.

The 1.5-litre delivers even more punch topping out at 136mpgh with a 0 to 60 time of 8.7 seconds and there's a noticeable amount of extra mid-range pull.

Official fuel figures are 58.8mpg for the 1.0-litre with emissions of 110g/km and 48.7 for the 1.5 with a CO2 rating of 133g'km.

On our drives both versions returned averages in the high 30s which given the circumstances - spirited driving over some twisty mountain roads as well as urban motorway work - was more than acceptable.

CVT gearboxes are available on both engines and if used manually via paddle shifters simulate seven gears.

With more torque the 1.5-litre is better suited to this automatic transmission and the option adds £1,210 to the price.

A diesel version of the new Civic is due for release later in the year and so is a high performance Type R derivative, but Honda is keeping tight-lipped about prices at the moment.

Like the new Civic hatch those models will be built in the UK at Honda's Swindon factory which now employs some 3,600 workers who are on course to produce 165,000 cars this year.

The bulk of that production will go for export, making the new Civic yet another Brit-built ambassador for the nation's booming automotive sector and the hub of global Civic five-door production for Honda.

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