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Road Test: Honda Civic (2017)

Why America loves our Civic

By Rob Gill Published

hatchback | Honda | Civic

trump1000

SO the first date went well.

The Donald grabbed Theresa, by the hand, thankfully, and declared: “We are going to have a fantastic relationship.”

She was smitten too, inviting him back to her place for coffee.

Make no mistake, the PM/Prez UK/US love-in is brilliant news for post-Brexit Britain, the British car industry – and, more to the point, Swindon.

Why Swindon?

Because 40 per cent of all cars made at Honda’s Swindon factory – around 65,000 this year – are shipped over the pond.

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The Honda Civic is our Trump card, our No1 seller in America – followed by Mini, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and the Jaguar XE.

You see the Yanks love cars from little ol’ England. They love the best of Britishness. They can’t get enough. Demand was up 47 per cent last year at 196,000, making Trumpland our biggest export market.

That’s more than one in seven of all UK car exports.

 

So, this new five-door Civic, is it any good?

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The short answer is Yes and a little bit No. Yes, because it’s distinctive, really well engineered, reliable and safe.

And British built.

But No because the interior is a bit, er, beige. Meaning mediocre.

Key facts: HONDA CIVIC

Price: £18,335

Engine: 1-litre 3cyl turbo (129hp)

Economy: 58mpg

0-62mph: 10.8 secs

Top speed: 126mph

CO2: 110g/km

Out: March

 

It’s comfy and spacious and the digital dash is nice and easy to use.

But it’s no Golf. The Golf has a far nicer cabin and better infotainment and that’s where we spend all our time.

It’s also a bit expensive compared with an Astra, Focus or Hyundai i30 – and £710 more than a Golf at £18,335.

This Civic chassis is sorted

That said, this Civic chassis is sorted. Many customers will never fully appreciate how good this car is.

It sits lower than the old car, the steering is precise and the back end feels tied to the road (new multi-link rear suspension, tick). It shows a lot of promise for the Type R coming soon.

My pick is the little 1-litre turbo with the six-speed manual. It’s smooth and quiet and responsive and has plenty of poke. The CVT auto was surprisingly good too.

Out March. Finance from £189 a month.

VERDICT: Check it out, y’all.

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