Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The engine is a 94bhp 1.3-litre petrol, which you fill just like any other car at a petrol station. It's connected to a 20bhp electric motor, which gets charged when you brake or coast. The two combined means the Civic Hybrid can tap into 114bhp - a reasonable power output for a car of this size. However in reality it lacks pulling power and feels underpowered - as a result it has to be worked hard to get meaningful pace, which adversely affects fuel economy.

The CVT gearbox is the biggest problem. Although its stepless set-up means progress is smooth when driven gently, it holds the engine at high (and noisy) revs when accelerating. It's possible to run the car in a fully-electric mode during cruising in town, though the batteries have to be fully charged and even a moderate prod of the accelerator sees the petrol engine cut in.

It may appear like the Civic with a boot, but the Hybrid doesn't drive any where as near as well as the standard car. This may be down to the heavy batteries in the boot as it simple doesn't feel as agile or composed as the hatch. The suspension is overly firm and the special low resistance tyres, fitted to maximise fuel economy, take the edge off comfort, especially in town where the ride is poor.

Over-sensitive brakes make it hard to drive the Honda smoothly, particularly in traffic while the steering lacks the same responsiveness of the hatchback models.