Honda dresses Civic

in sporty fashion

Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, front
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, side
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, rear
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, interior
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, display screen
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, rear spoiler
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, rear diffuser
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, rear seats
Honda Civic Sport Line, 2020, boot

IT'S a common whinge among the car-buying public - family saloons all look the same these days.

Yes, it's an over-used remark, but there's more than a grain of truth in it.

One model you certainly can't level that complaint at is the sharp angled, bespoilered Honda Civic, currently in its tenth incarnation.

Not only does it stand out from the herd in appearance -a Marmite car, if ever there was one - but it drives differently ... better, more positively and boasts one of the slickest gear changes across all classes of cars.

Now, in a bid to further boost its appeal, Honda is introducing a Sport Line version of the punchy 1.0 litre model, currently best seller in the range.

It borrows some of the styling cues of the flagship Civic Type R, but with the cooking three-cylinder petrol engine that ensures low running costs and cheap insurance.

Only available based on the top EX model, the Sport Line includes front and side skirts, rear diffuser, 17-inch high gloss alloys, LED headlights and rear spoiler.

Inside, red stitching adorns the steering wheel, door panels and seats. It also comes with drilled aluminium pedals to emphasise its sporty nature.

Connect infotainment system is standard and includes DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto -and reversing camera.

The changes follow a rethink in facia design across the Civic range introducing physical buttons and dials for infotainment and climate controls replacing the on-screen versions which proved irritating to some drivers.

Prices are £25,510 for the six-speed manual and £26,910 for the CVT automatic - about £1,000 more than the standard ES.

None of the Sport Line tweaks affect its driving or handling which remain among the best in class.

The little 1.0-litre engine revs freely and smoothly in true Honda fashion yet has ample torque for lazy-boy motoring as and when required.

Official fuel economy for the manual model is 58.9mpg with emissions of 116g/km while the 0 to 60 acceleration is rated at 10.9 seconds with a top speed of 126mph.

The automatic is slightly less quick through its CVT box but comes out more fuel efficient at 60.1 to the gallon with a CO2 figure of 107g/km.

Few small to medium sized saloons reach as good a compromise between comfort and sporty handling as the Civic.

Despite there being almost no cornering roll, it still manages to smooth out poor road surfaces and even feeds a reasonable amount of feel back through the steering.

As said, the gearbox is near perfect with light, crisp changes and well chosen ratios. The auto does its job in taking the strain out of congested traffic situations but inevitably demands little from the driver...and in return gives little back.

It is a single ratio system but steering wheel paddles allow you to ‘create steps' at the dab of your fingers. Another good compromise.

The tenth generation Civic is a tad larger than most rivals externally and definitely roomier than most inside. You sit quite low, but there's plenty of legroom both front and back. The hatchback rear boot is huge and regularly shaped to swallow loads of bags and cases.

If ever there was a family hatchback that punches above its weight it is the current Civic with its blend of excellence in every department.

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