NOW in its tenth incarnation the Honda Civic continues to be an automotive stalwart of some note.
Despite its longevity the Civic has differed from something like the Volkswagen Golf by adopting a revolutionary rather than an evolutionary approach.
If you were to line-up ten generations of Civics next to each other there might be some recognisable common DNA but there would also be some pretty sharp contrasts.
Whereas a while back Honda designers opted for a truly avant garde-style Civic the current one is much more mainstream, though cleverly it is also rather different.
They've created a car with some pretty sharp, aggressive and muscular design lines.
When I took delivery of this car I initially thought some sort of hot hatch version of it had arrived in error, rather than a 1.6-litre diesel.
To my eye I think it's a strategy that works well, though some more conservative buyers might be a little put off.
However, demonstrating a capacity to think of all eventualities Honda has also come up with a saloon version, which although is still stylish and sleek is definitely a little more understated.
The distinctive styling, which might seem a little severe to some minds, is definitely a key selling point and the intent doesn't stop there.
There's a lot about this Civic that emphasises its sporty character, including a new supple suspension setup which brings much to the car.
I also rather liked the rather low driving position - you really do have to step down into it - even if it did take a little getting used to.
Sporting flourishes are also a characteristic of the cabin, even if it is a little on the dark side. There's a strong emphasis on black trim and switchgear, though again I rather liked it.
Given its coupe looks one might imagine the Civic could be lacking in practicality but that is far from the case.
The cabin is surprisingly roomy and it has a genuinely huge boot, which trumps many rivals.
Honda was a comparative latecomer to the diesel party but more than made up for it with engines that delivered on that familiar diesel formula of combining performance and economy to great effect.
Whether it's since diesel has become a dirty word is anyone's guess but Honda plans to revert back to petrol, as well as (like most other auto manufacturers) pursuing electric dreams.
It's a shame in some ways, as this 1.6-litre diesel engine, which has been carried over from the last model, is a tremendous all-rounder.
Smooth and refined, it's one of those is it/isn't it diesels that seems to defy expectations and also delivers in the performance/economy department.
This model was a range-topping EX version and felt suitably plush.
It came with added safety features such as blindspot monitoring.
Other features included keyless entry and start, leather seats, adaptive dampers, passenger seat lumbar adjustment, a sunroof, dual climate control, heated seats, sat-nav, reversing camera, and black alloys.
To drive the Civic really does deliver. The steering is nicely weighted and precise while that suspension really does help deliver the goods as a driver's car.
Combined with the familiar diesel mid-range torque it makes for a spirited and engaging drive.