Honda Civic goes straight to top of the medium hatch class


THE lat­est Honda Civic goes straight to the top of the medium hatch class.

It still sports those out­ra­geous, shark-like lines that re­ally make it stand out from the crowd, but it gets top marks be­cause of its com­bi­na­tion of su­perb per­for­mance, ease of driv­ing, safe and ex­hil­a­rat­ing han­dling and good com­fort.

Oth­ers might laud the Ford Fo­cus and the VW Golf – and they are both great cars – but the new Civic edges past them to take top spot.

It’s a car that feels like an ex­ten­sion of the driver’s thought, re­act­ing to in­puts un­can­nily fast.

The new Civic’s 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine is hugely will­ing and re­spon­sive, free revving and tune­ful and it boasts only slightly less power than the manic 2.0-litre in the orig­i­nal Civic Type R.

But of course, it’s much more civilised and engine noise is well sub­dued un­til the revs are pushed up­wards.

It will hap­pily pull away from tick­over speeds in all six gears and is ac­cel­er­at­ing well very soon af­ter that.

From there on up the wide rev range the urge just builds and builds. There’s no need to take it any­where near the red line for tremen­dous, shove in the back ac­cel­er­a­tion, mak­ing over­tak­ing, or los­ing a tail­gater, sim­ply a mat­ter of plant­ing the right foot. This car is joy on a stick for any­one who loves driv­ing, with the slick­est of gear changes, a light clutch and ab­so­lutely stu­pen­dous brakes.

The ac­co­lades don’t stop there, be­cause it also takes the cor­ners like a hot hatch, with very lit­tle roll and an al­most un­be­liev­able level of grip.

The han­dling is very safe with the best neu­tral balance and the power steer­ing is also bril­liant, di­rect, pos­i­tive and re­spon­sive at ev­ery turn.

Al­though rough surfaces in town are quite no­tice­able, above 30 miles an hour, the level of com­fort is good even on some very poor surfaces.

Ex­cel­lent front seats are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion and the dig­i­tal dash­board works very well in­deed.

Stan­dard equip­ment in the Turbo Sport in­cludes sat nav, sta­bil­ity con­trol, alarm, cruise con­trol, al­loys, park­ing sen­sors and a cam­era, cli­mate con­trol, loads of airbags and Blue­tooth.

Don’t buy any­thing else un­til you’ve tried this one, it re­ally is right at the top of the list.

Honda Civic

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