Driving the Civic on the daily commute, it’s easy to forget its importance to Honda – and the resources the manufacturer dedicated to developing the current model.
Honda suffered during the global credit crunch in 2007, when $3 billion was cut from its research and development budget as it decided to weather the storm, refusing to take the easier route of state subsidies.
In 2011, the Japanese tsunami so damaged parts supply that Honda drastically cut back UK car production, adding to its woes.
“2015 was Honda’s renaissance,” said a spokesman. It saw the introduction of a revised CR-V, Civic, new Jazz and HR-V. It was also the year that work on the 10th iteration of the Civic began. It was the single biggest R&D project in the brand’s history, with as many as a third of Honda’s engineers involved.
So the new car had to be right. And not just for head office, dealers and customers – the car plant at Swindon produces the car for 80 countries.
Honda says its reliability, Honda Sensing (a suite of safety and driver assist features), Apple CarPlay, and class-leading boot space will help it in the fight against competitors such as the Audi A3, VW Golf, Mazda 3, Toyota Auris and Ford Focus.
It won’t be easy. In the C-segment, the Civic lies behind the Golf, Focus, Astra, Leon and Octavia in sixth place, a spot it’s held all year.