EVOLUTION rather than revolution drives development at Honda and nowhere is this more evident than in the tenth generation Civic which is now going out to the first UK buyers.
The usually conservative car maker has tweaked the Civic to update its looks, given it a bigger more rounded body creating not only a better looking car than the previous generation with a less cluttered facia.
It's also better to see out of since the thick rear-window "wing" of previous versions has been put on a diet so it's thinner and less obtrusive when looking through the rear view mirror.
Even the powertrain has been slimmed to offer a 1.0-litre petrol engine while the floorpan or chassis has been carefully lightened as well without losing rigidity to optimise handling.
The new 1.0-litre comes in four trim levels from £18,475 to £23,800 and the 129ps engine can be fitted with either manual or CVT gearboxes.
A 182ps 1.5 petrol engine is also available and comes with manual or automatic transmission in three trim specs from £22,540 to £26,155.
In a brief drive of the top-line EX models I was left more impressed by the smaller engine which gave an indicated 50.1mpg against an official fuel figure of 58.9mpg with emissions of 110g/km.
It was willing, smooth and reasonably punchy if you used the gears, the clutch and gearchange were effortless, the steering sharp and the brakes powerful.
I liked the ride and composure of the Civic 1.0 and its compliance contrasted with a harder riding 1.5 version, possibly down to the heavier front end and stiffer springing and it sounded noiser over rough surfaces as well.
Over an almost identical route the 1.5 model returned 46.5mpg as it appeared to gobble up gearchanges and had a busier engine note. Offical figures for this engine are 48.7mpg and a CO2 figure of 133g/km.
I would have welcomed a bit more driver's seat adjustment and knee-room, and noted there was little room in the back of the five-door body for anyone other than a young teenager.
Boot space is very user-friendly ranging fron 478 to 820 litres - and that's as big as you can get in this class of vehicle.