We’re now halfway through our long term test of the Honda Civic and have racked up nearly 5,000 miles.
One thing is certain – owners will never forget what they’re driving. The dash’s swooping lines are mould-breakingly distinctive, but the buttons and knobs seem a little haphazardly placed.
So the interior styling takes a while to get used to.
In terms of quality, the fittings are okay, but some of the steering wheel trim seems flimsy and breakable, particularly if my kids got their hands on it.
Buyers cannot expect Ford Focus-like visibility. Civic’s thick windscreen pillars and small rear window are a sacrifice to style.
It seems that it is designed for younger buyers at the expense of the older customers typical of previous generation Civics, who put more emphasis on practical points.
Refinement is a Civic strength. Its 2.2-litre diesel pulls strongly and keeps its emissions within VED band C, so future tax bills shouldn’t be enormous.
Yet in the current penny-watching climate, it seems over-powered.
It’s the only diesel engine in the range, and buyers will not get the fuel efficiency they may have wanted.
We are getting considerably fewer miles per gallon than Honda’s figure – even allowing for its in-dash efficient driving indicator.
Our test car has mid-range ES trim, which includes lots of useful equipment for a family runabout, such as driver-controlled electric windows, rear 12v power outlet and steering wheel audio controls.
The standard panoramic roof also impresses the kids, and creates a nice, airy impression for occupants.
One final thing – since we last wrote about the Civic, its price has gone up £40.