By Mike Torpey on 2023-03-19 - 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 2.0
SLICK design, high-tech infotainment, multi-purpose practicality - all compelling reasons why people opt for a particular brand of new car.
But there are still buyers, and thankfully plenty of them, who are motivated primarily by the car's dynamics and the way it drives.
Stylish looks apart, that's what first makes an impression with the Honda Civic e:HEV hybrid, which marks the completion of the Japanese company's Electric Vision strategy aimed at electrifying all their mainstream passenger cars.
The Civic, now in its eleventh generation, has a simple line-up comprising one engine, a single five-door hatchback body style and three trim grades, the only exception being the fiery Type-R hot hatch model.
Beneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre petrol engine linked to a pair of electric motors, the combination producing 181bhp of wallop for acceleration of 0-62 in 7.9 seconds, so there's some serious punch available.
That said, and in keeping with Civic tradition, the self-charging hybrid system ensures impressive fuel consumption, our own average return over 350 miles registering 49.5mpg which compares favourably with the official Combined figure of 56.5 miles per gallon.
But it's the way the Civic e:HEV drives that really puts a smile on your face. For a practical family hatchback it's a treat - feeling swift, smooth, balanced and agile regardless of road type.
Drives modes, all easily accessed, are called Econ, Normal, Sport and Individual and are all engaging, though the more fuel-sipping Econ setting makes the most sense and doesn't in any compromise the driving experience - which can't necessarily be said for other cars' Eco modes.
The engine is quiet too, while the automatic gearbox is seamless, exterior noise is kept to a minimum and all-round visibility is top notch.
If the Civic's exterior style is eye-catching the same can equally be said about its racy cabin design which is smart and modern, the dash split by a long narrow honeycomb mesh grille housing the air-con adjuster switches and highlighted with piano black inserts.
Though the new Civic starts at £29,595 our version was in the flagship Advance trim grade, starting from £32,995 and including desirable features like a double panoramic glass sunroof, a 10.2-inch central info display, perforated leather seats, heated steering wheel and 18-inch black alloys.
Music buffs will also appreciate the 12-speaker BOSE Centrepoint TM sound system along with the standard-on-every-model Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and sat nav.
As for interior space there's plenty of room front and back, the only downside being a bit of a tight squeeze for a centre rear passenger whose feet need to stretch either side of the transmission tunnel. That centre position is at least flat and comfortable.
Oddments stowage sees bottle holders in all four doors, a pair of cup holders next to the auto transmission buttons plus a flip-down rear armrest containing two more cup holders.
A deep lidded central box, door bins, a glovebox, magazine flaps in the front seat backs and a mobile phone charging pad add to the versatility.
And the design of the car may not hint at a large boot but that's exactly what you get, made all the more useful by a load cover, side-mounted hooks and a 12V power socket. That space can also be extended by flipping the 60/40 split-fold rear seats.
A sharp rear view camera comes with every trim level and a bonus of Advance comes in the shape of adaptive LED headlamps that automatically adjust so you can keep the main beam engaged without dazzling other drivers.
It's all topped off with a suite of safety technologies and driver aids including lane keeping and traffic jam assist systems.
Honda Civic 2.0 e:HEV Advance
Mechanical:181bhp, 1,993cc 4-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via CVT automatic transmission
Combined MPG:56.5 Combined
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