Honda Civic: A warm welcome

  • Dependable Honda Civic joins the Parkers fleet
  • Features a 1.8-litre petrol engine and lots of kit
  • Takes on previous test cars like the Ford Focus

The Honda Civic, a long-standing model for the Japanese manufacturer, is famed for its reliability and durability.

Now in its ninth generation it faces tough competition from cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Kia cee'd.

To find out how it compares I'll be spending the next three months driving this Civic, a 1.8 i-VTEC ES manual model.

I'm certainly glad to be back in a larger car, primarily because my daily commute to the office and back involves a 110-mile round trip on motorways. 

My previous long-term Mazda2 was a serviceable car for motorway commuting but bigger cars tend to be more comfortable, quieter and less tiring to drive. 

The Honda's also better equipped, which should help make it easier to live with and a more pleasant place to spend time behind the wheel.

In ES specification the car comes with equipment like climate control, automatic lights and wipers, a speed limiter, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear view camera, electric windows, USB and auxiliary connections and hill start assist.

Powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine, it's going to be interesting to see how the Honda Civic fares on the economy front. Despite having a petrol engine the Civic's claimed to average a heady 47.1mpg.

If it manages to return near that figure then it could well prove just as economical as the 1.6-litre diesel Mazda2. Petrol's cheaper than diesel too, so the bigger Civic could even transpire to be less expensive to run.

What I'm most looking forward to finding out, however, is what the Civic's like to drive. Previous long-term test cars have included the capable Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, so the standard has been set pretty high.

At a glance the Honda's performance figures look promising. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint is stated to take 9.1 seconds. The Focus' and Golf's 0-62mph times were 10.9 seconds and 10.6 seconds respectively.

Whether the Civic's on-road performance is as good as the alternatives remains to be seen though.

Honda has sold over 20 million Civics, since the car's launch in 1972, so the company is certainly doing something right.

Can the new model impress enough to make it a worthwhile alternative to its rivals? Let's find out.

Current mileage: 2,149 miles

Average mpg: 41.8mpg (ind.)