Get orf moy laaaaaand

Civic proves sur­pris­ingly adept when the road runs out, and con­tin­ues to ex­cel in its nat­u­ral habi­tat. By Colin Over­land

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars - @ColinOver­land

in the Civic. It wasn’t ex­actly the plan, but when a coun­try lane changes into a for­est track and then just a rut­ted field, and when you’ve got to de­liver a fes­ti­val-hun­gry teenager to the other side of the field, you just keep on go­ing. And it turns out the Civic is per­fectly happy to join in the fun. Noth­ing wild and crazy, but brisk enough, and per­fectly safe and com­fort­able, and with no dam­age to the car (or noth­ing that’s come to light yet, any­way). In some parts of the world, this is what most roads are like, and most cars are able to deal with them hap­pily enough with­out all-wheel drive or stiff­ened sus­pen­sion; I some­times won­der at the first-world whing­ing that ac­com­pa­nies any sight­ing of a pot­hole or cracked tar­mac.

Any­way, this field was the mid-point of an il­lu­mi­nat­ing jour­ney from the Mid­lands to Sus­sex and back again, 250-ish miles on a hot sum­mer day, mostly on mo­tor­ways. Il­lu­mi­nat­ing be­cause the fuel con­sump­tion var­ied a lot with the con­di­tions: about 37mpg in the stop-start clog of the jour­ney down, via Heathrow, but a more typ­i­cal 42mpg on the freer-flow­ing jour­ney back, us­ing an un­usu­ally quiet Dart­ford Cross­ing and up the east­ern side of the M25. With its light and eas­ily mod­u­lated con­trols, that sweet 1.5-litre turbo en­gine, and its de­cent vis­i­bil­ity, the Civic’s an easy car to drive in heavy traf­fic – but it can de­velop a bit more of a thirst, just like any other car.

The trip was also il­lu­mi­nat­ing be­cause we found our­selves sur­prised how hot it was out­side when we got out of the car, des­ti­na­tion reached. The cli­mate con­trol had done a very good job of keep­ing us at the re­quired 18ºC, when out­side it was in the high twen­ties.

And it was il­lu­mi­nat­ing be­cause the Civic was en­tirely com­fort­able through­out the whole jour­ney. It’s not plush or clever, but it works. It’s on dull mo­tor­way jour­neys like this

that I tend to be­come con­scious of any de­fi­cien­cies in support or ad­just­ment, but the Civic’s turned out to be re­ally very good, and not just for me. My only com­plaint is that on some sur­faces, notably con­crete, tyre noise is in­tru­sive.

Mean­while, I seem to have di­alled out most of the many elec­tronic driver aids that have in­trigued me so much since I started driv­ing the Civic four months ago. It’s not been a con­scious de­ci­sion, but I sus­pect it’s down to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors: a) the ac­tive cruise con­trol is a bit jerky when it de­cides you need to slow down; ditto the lane-keep­ing tech; b) the nov­elty’s worn off; and c) the car is so easy to drive that you don’t re­ally need any help to feel com­pletely in con­trol of it.

Sus­sex ield (above) no prob­lem for the nor­mally more tar­mac-based Civic

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