Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Should you buy a Honda Civic?

The Civic's still a left-field choice in the family hatchback market, but we don't think it deserves to be. Despite its unconventional looks and somewhat limited range, it's still a very competitive hatchback and one we think is well worth considering over the mainstays such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

Its looks may be the biggest barrier to most - the slashes and angles aren't quite as conventionally attractive as some of its rivals, and could turn off particularly conservative buyers. They don't necessarily indicate a sporty dynamic, either, but while it’s not as engaging as some may hope, it’s undoubtedly a comfortable and quietly gratifying car to drive.

Buying a Civic outright could prove more costly than some alternatives, though, as Honda traditionally hasn’t been great when it comes to offering discounts. You might be able to get the dealer to throw in some extra accessories to sweeten the deal, but don’t expect a substantial amount of money off. However, when cars like the Mazda 3 and Kia Ceed are regularly competitive, you'll need to strike a good deal.

Picking the right specification for a Civic is a more straightforward affair; EX trim offers a good range of standard equipment, and picking a suitable engine is similarly effortless – as there is just one diesel and three petrol options, including the flagship 320hp Civic Type R. Those on a budget will find the low list price and fuel consumption of the 129hp 1.0-litre VTEC Turbo version particularly appealing. A 10-gallon fuel tank coupled with claimed average fuel economy of 45mpg should also grant a useful theoretical range of over 400 miles. 

The 1.0-litre petrol model is a sound choice for company car drivers, thanks to its low BIK costs and price, but the more relaxed nature and superior economy of the 1.6-litre i-DTEC will be tempting for those racking up significant motorway mileages.

If you’re routinely driving in traffic then you might want to consider one of the CVT versions, as they’re effortless to drive – although the standard manual transmission is a very slick affair. Don’t be afraid to pick a bright-coloured Civic, either. Potential buyers won’t be put off by a lairy paint job, given the outlandish look of the car to start with.

Those seeking something more exotic and quick will justifiably make a beeline for the Type R, which is an entirely different proposition from the rest of the Civic line-up. It’s a great car for enthusiasts and, as it’s sold in limited numbers, you’ll see them far less often than cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R. We expect a few special editions to appear over its lifecycle, too, so stay tuned if you fancy something more bespoke.

All in, the Honda Civic is more powerful and efficient than before – and certainly more accommodating. These facets, coupled with strong residual values and reliability, make the sharp-looking Civic a compelling choice compared to rival mainstream offerings.

See our list of the best hatchbacks to buy

Read our full VW Golf review here

Prefer an SUV? Check out the Honda HR-V here