Stylish and sharp - that's the Civic.
I ALWAYS admire adventurous styling in new cars, and after a rather staid previous model, the present Honda Civic still looks rocket-propelled.
It has a sharp, shark-nosed, almost predatory shape and the promise is realised in the performance.
There is an excellent 2.2 diesel with 140bhp, and petrol engines of 1.4 litres 80bhp, 1.8 140bhp and two-litre 200bhp to choose from.
This last is only fitted to the Type R but offers the most amazing performance - if you can stand the harsh and bone-jarring ride.
Lower order models ride much better and still have good to excellent acceleration, along with more manageable economy.
The 1.8 is free revving and smooth, but the diesel, although grumbly at times, actually has better performance and economy.
The handling in both is an absolute joy - sharp and precise, with wonderfully direct and positive power steering.
The chassis has been tuned for maximum grip and road holding, taking the worst of poor surfaces midcorner with complete composure.
Interior The cockpit is quite a change, with digital speedometer, sweep tachometer and fuel and temperature gauges.
The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height and there is also excellent seat height adjustment making a perfect driving position possible for all.