By Mike Torpey on 2018-04-29 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda Civic 1.5 VTEC
YOU win some, you lose some.
It's a popular idiom and one that can reasonably be levelled at the new generation Honda Civic hatchback.
Winning, that's something the Civic has done regularly since the mid 1970s scooping awards around the world and boasting lifetime sales pushing towards the 20 million mark.
Now into its 10th generation the model range is more stylish than ever, has more user friendly features and is the subject of the largest single model global development programme in the Japanese company's history.
The Civic also has a pair of efficient new engines in the shape of a 1.0-litre three cylinder unit developing 129ps and a more powerful 1.5-litre four cylinder unit with 182ps.
The latter, the unit powering our tested variant, not only has more punch but it also feels smoother too, making it pleasantly enjoyable to drive.
Feel from the steering is nicely weighted, the six-speed manual gearbox is short-shift and easy to use and the multi-link rear suspension system is perfectly damped.
It's official average fuel economy is an impressive 48.7 miles per gallon and while we could only manage 38.7 more conservative driving would ensure something closer to the lab tested return.
That said, if you want the 1.5 you also have to commit to the more expensive spec grades as it is only available in Sport, Sport Plus or Prestige trim.
Longer, lower and wider than the previous-generation model, the Civic has plenty of interior space - you can even have the front seats slid well back, yet still stretch out in the rear, and the deep boot is split level too.
Even a centre rear passenger can travel in comfort - no hard, perched position here - and safety is very much a priority as Honda's SENSING features are installed on all Civic grades and use radar and camera information, plus a host of sensors to assist in potentially dangerous situations.
So what of losing? Well it's not so bad as it might sound.
Anyone familiar with previous generation Civics will recall the Magic Seats, so long a feature of Honda models.
It meant the seat bases could be folded up to allow a large storage area, and the seat backs could also be folded completely flat for extra convenience. While the smaller Jazz model still has them, they don't fit the new Civic's platform.
Also 'lost' from the latest versions is the dual screen display, replaced by a seven-inch Honda Connect touchscreen with the availability of full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
And while the split rear windscreen is still there it affords far better visibility than with previous Civics.
The bottom line is that the Honda Civic is a model range that keeps getting better. It really looks the part, has premium fittings - like the tested model's two-tone perforated leather seats - is reliable and a joy to drive.
Honda Civic 1.5 VTEC Turbo Prestige
Mechanical: 182ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 137mph
0-62mph: 8.4 seconds
Combined MPG: 48.7
Insurance Group: 22
C02 emissions: 133g/km
Bik rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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