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Honda Civic: Performance credentials

  • We examine the Civic's performance capabilities
  • Engine is entertaining while not being particularly fast
  • Light steering but decent chassis means lots of fun

Since taking the reins from Lewis Kingston and starting to run the Honda Civic I’ve become quite a fan.

The number one reason for someone like me to like the Civic is the way it drives. Although there’s absolutely no pretence that this is a performance car, it’s still fairly enjoyable to drive.

I believe this is primarily down to the excellent driving position. You feel as though you’re sat low and positioned well in the cabin. All of the controls are within easy reach, the gear lever in particular very well-placed. The steering wheel is chunky and a decent size too, which does add the experience.

Out on the open road, the Civic is a pleasing car to drive. It’s comfortable but also pretty impressive through corners. It feels balanced and composed, with little body-roll and no unfortunate surprises from the chassis if you’re going quickly.

The steering could be heavier, and it could definitely do with more communication to the driver about what’s happening with the wheels, but it’s sharp and direct. The lightness also helps when parking, so it’s not all bad news.

Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine. It boasts power of 140bhp and torque of 174Nm, which means 62mph is possible in 9.1 seconds and top speed is 134mph. The engine is a very nice one to drive – it’s smooth and refined at lower speeds but as the revs climb a sporty note emerges and the needle accelerates towards the red line in a grin-inducing fashion.

The gearbox is equally enjoyable to use. The short throw and direct action coupled with the placing of the lever make it a real job to swap cogs during enthusiastic jaunts.

Even the pedals are nicely spaced out and positioned at a sensible angle from the driver’s seat – something some other manufacturers seem unable to achieve.

The seats are comfortable but they’re also supportive for when you’re cornering quick enough notice. You feel nicely enclosed in our Civic, which adds to the feeling of security when driving.

Current mileage: 3,977 miles

Average mpg: 37.5mpg (ind.)