IT would be fair to say that the Honda Civic was looking a little tired and jaded around the edges, but enter the all-new tenth generation model and it's a whole new ball game.
The latest Civic - built in Britain at Honda's Swindon factory - is new from the ground up and boasts a fresh, sporty design guaranteed to turn heads.
There are two punchy petrol engines, a range of trim levels and either manual or automatic transmissions with prices starting from a very competitive £18,335.
Initially two new petrol engines are available. These are a three-cylinder 1.0-litre 129ps powertrain which can deliver combined fuel economy of 55.4mpg with carbon emissions of 106g/km.
Alternatively, the more powerful 1.5-litre 182ps engine can offer a combined 46.3mpg with emissions of 133g/km.
The 1.0-litre model is available in SE, SR and EX trim levels while the 1.5-litre model is available in grades Sport, Sport Plus and Prestige. Although there is no diesel options at the moment we are reliably informed one will be introduced next year.
When it comes to looks, the new Civic is a winner all round thanks to its dynamic styling which has been achieved thanks to the car's new dimensions.
The new Civic is 20mm lower, 30mm wider and 136mm longer than the previous version and those proportions, along with sweeping light clusters, large air intakes, and smart alloys certainly give the newcomer a more aggressive appearance.
Move inside and there is a wealth of technology to explore with even the entry-level models generously equipped.
There is a new seven-inch TFT-LCD driver display which is positioned within the newly reconfigured instrument binnacle.
Other creature comforts include the second-generation Honda CONNECT system to link up with multimedia devices via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There is a wireless smartphone charging pad, full navigation facilities and a great sound system. More upmarket features such as leather seats and a glass sunroof are introduced on the higher specced models.
Comfort levels within the car are very high and there is room for five adults although taller back seat passengers may struggle a little for headroom due to the car's sloping roofline.
Storage options are very impressive and Honda claims its boot capacity of 478 litres is class leading. This can be increased to 828 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
The latest Civic also features Honda's safety package, called SENSING, across the range which includes forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, road departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assistance and intelligent adaptive cruise control which is a useful feature that helps to predict cars cutting in front of you on motorways and will adjust the speed accordingly.
We had the opportunity to try out the new Civic with both powertrains and they each brought with them their own individual character and charm.
The 1.0-litre version mated to a six-speed manual gearbox is an excellent combination and laid to rest any reservations about a little three-pot engine having enough gusto to power the mighty five-door hatchback.
The acceleration was really sharp and there was always ample power on tap. There was a little engine noise within the cabin when pushed particularly hard, but it certainly wasn't screaming.
The car is the most aerodynamic Civic to date and that is most apparent when it comes to its performance. It can corner at pace and the lower centre of gravity delivers a more engaging experience.
A new suspension system helps to iron out any road surface creases and the car is generally well insulated against outside noise. This test car was priced at £23,725 for range-topping EX trim.
Next up was the 1.5-litre Civic in Sport Plus priced at £25,930. This model also featured a six-speed manual gearbox and instantly felt more powerful than the first test car.
It seems like the grown up of the pair and whilst still delivering all the ride and handling capabilities expected from the car, it seemed a little more sensible in the way it behaved.
A short run out in the 1.5 model with CVT gearbox showed how smooth the new transmission is. The acceleration is rapid and the paddle shifts are also available to take a little more control whenever you want.
All in all, the latest Civic is a fabulous car. Honda has taken into account the car's 40-year heritage and brought it bang up too date.
It looks great, is packed with technology, it's competitively priced and it handles beautifully.