Honda Civic 1.8 SR

Honda announces pricing for new Civic and Civic Tourer-636671

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By Tim Saunders

Developing a brand and generating loyalty are two extremely difficult concepts. I know. My wife and I run our own business, www.creativecoverage.co.uk, which publicises professional artists. In a short space of time word of mouth has spread and renewal rates are high. We’re a very small business offering a service, which generally requires small investment compared to, say, manufacturing.

Looking at car manufacturing it must be one of the most expensive businesses to run when taking into account factories and staff and the expensive designers. In fact the DeLorean story shows how millions can be ploughed into a venture only to see it fail if pricing and demand are incompatible.

Honda has to be one of the success stories of the motor industry. When it launched the Civic in 1972 there must have been a little trepidation as to how the marketplace would take this new small hatchback car. I doubt it envisaged that 20m models would be sold across the world over the next 40 years or that the future would see the Civic being built in the UK, all those miles from Japan.

It’s certainly become a popular vehicle and this has subsequently boosted the Honda brand and promoted loyalty; a former colleague is now on her third Civic.

So countless facelifts later, the Civic, not my former colleague, is a futuristic, efficient and attractive family hatchback.

The 1.8-litre i-VTEC SR Manual I’m testing is finished in polished metal and as ever is pleasing to the eye as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz. As the weather becomes colder it’s good to see the heated front seats; complete with high and low settings. The panoramic glass roof allows greater amounts of light into the cabin, which is certainly helpful when the interior is black. It allows me to watch the trees above me blow in the autumn wind as I wait to collect my eldest daughter from pre-school.

There are a couple of niggles though. Yes, the rear spoiler hampers vision but more importantly I have to watch my knees when I get into the cabin because the dashboard has been designed in such a way that the corner protrudes and my knee catches it, it hurts. Some might appreciate the warning beeps when reversing or when another vehicle is near but I find it off-putting.

It’s an enjoyable drive and the six-speed manual box is a joy to use.

We visit the grandparents in Dorset and I drive onto their driveway. When we go to leave there is a thick layer of dew on the outside of all the windows while the inside of the windows are all misted up. I have to reverse out and the driveway is quite narrow with low stone walls on either side so it’s important that I have good visibility. Interestingly and a little frustratingly the front window demists far quicker then the rear window; you would have thought they would clear at the same time. So I have to wait patiently before I can see out of the rear window.

On the way home a lorry pulls out in front of me with little notice showing how effective the Honda’s ABS brakes are. There seems to be more traffic than usual on the roads and the dark night in the New Forest makes it difficult to see ahead to overtake safely so we remain stuck behind this lorry for sometime.

It always pays to remain calm while driving because we all make mistakes at times and the well thought out well appointed interior of the Civic promotes an all round feeling of serenity.

“Now there's the ninth generation Civic that's not quite so radical,” writes Parkers, the used car experts. “At first glance not that much has changed. Yes, it’s still got a spoiler that serves to ruin the rear view, but Honda tells us that under the spoilered skin this is, in fact, a revolution that'll take the Civic into the big league. One of the Civic’s strong points is practicality. The boot is far bigger than its competitors’ and there’s loads of room inside thanks to what Honda calls ‘Magic Seats’. These can fold in a clever range of combinations, freeing up plenty of space for transporting large items. The Civic has been awarded a five-star EuroNCAP rating thanks to its plethora of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation – which applies the brakes if it thinks you’re about to crash. There’s a choice of four engines, two petrol and two diesel. Petrol options are a 1.4-litre or a 1.8-litre engine, available with either a manual or automatic gearbox.”

Facts at a glance

New price: £24,635
Top speed: 134mph
0-60mph: 9.1secs
Power: 140bhp
Economy: 46mpg
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