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Civic reception: Sporty facelift for 10th generation family hatch

By Paul Connolly

The Honda Civic has been updated for 2017 with a fresh face and some seriously neat touches.

Now in its 10th generation, the Civic has been winning friends and influencing things since it first appeared back in 1972-era Japan.

It’s sold more than 20 million models in the years since, and has been an evergreen presence on the family hatchback scene.

Part of its success was that Honda proved that a small hatchback could exhibit a sporty personality as well as suiting families and young couples.

Not that many years ago, there was an excellent 2014 upgrade of the ninth generation that improved the cabin and brought it into line with rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

This time round, Honda has a raft of significant improvements to bring the car bang up to date.

The 2017 model is lower, longer and wider than its predecessors, and is bristling with new tech and safety equipment.

There’s a subtler new look: it’s a fresh and sporty exterior styling with a little less of the harsh edges of old. A swept back silhouette, sharper lines and low and wide proportions lend it a more ‘planted’ feel.

New larger and wider wheels and tyres further emphasise the wide stance, there is a contemporary interpretation of Honda’s family ‘face’, incorporating signature Honda front headlight clusters.

The rear bumper is creased and sculpted to underline the car’s poise from behind.

All models feature LED daytime running lights; posher models also get fancy LED headlights or projector halogen bulbs.

Honda boasts that the new Civic has the best driving experience yet, with a chassis that is 16kg lighter than that of the previous generation Civic, but with 52% greater torsional stiffness.

All-new suspension, a lower centre of gravity, a boost in body rigidity, and front-end MacPherson strut suspension are all said to add further dimensions to the Civic’s sporty character on the road.

The new Civic is the first model in Europe to offer Honda’s new VTEC 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engines, both available teamed with a newly-designed six-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic.

The 1.0-litre unit produces 127bhp and emits 117g/km CO2 while returning around 55.4mpg combined, according to official figures.

The 1.5-litre pumps out 179bhp while emitting 133g/km CO2 and officially returning around 46.3mpg.

Both are available with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic.

A diesel power plant is set to arrive towards the end of this year.

The cabin, naturally, is the target of a big makeover, with more space donated by the 30mm longer wheelbase and a driving position that is 35mm lower to reflect the lower centre of gravity.

Better quality materials have been used to spruce up the cabin, including a one-piece soft-touch instrument panel with moulded stitching and premium seat fabrics.

Boot space is undiminished at 478 litres.

The centre console has been redesigned to accommodate the increasingly key element that technology has become to the driving experience, with the seven-inch

Honda Connect two-colour touchscreen housed at the top of the centre console.

Inside this you’ll experience the second generation of Honda’s

Connect infotainment and connectivity system, with full smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which both open up a whole world of mobile communications.

The final big advancement is in safety, with Honda deploying its sensing suite of driver assist technologies that use radar, sensor and camera information to help the driver in potentially dangerous scenarios.

Starting from £18,235 on the road for the entry level S grade 129PS VTEC turbo in manual, the range tops out at £27,480 on the road for the 182PS VTEC turbo Prestige with CVT transmission.

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