Welcome, Americans, to your brand-new Honda Civic hatchback. Built (probably very well) by the fine men, women and machines of Swindon, no less, it’ll arrive in dealers this ‘fall’. Whenever that is.
Developed by Honda’s R&D teams in Europe and Japan, the new Civic promises much. The look is bold (identical to the show car we saw at this year’s Geneva Motor Show), and the handling is touted as ‘world-class’. In the US it’s available with just the one engine – a direct-injection 1.5-litre turbocharged four with up to 180bhp and 162lb ft – across five trim levels. When the new Civic eventually reaches Europe sometime next year, expect diesels and a little 1.0-litre triple. A new Type-R, this time also available in the US, will follow. Good.
As you’d expect, the new Civic also gets Honda’s entire suite of safety kit, from lane-departure warning to collision-mitigating braking. It’s an option on most but standard on the pricier ones, which also get Apple CarPlay and LED headlights.
It’s going up against the likes of Ford’s Focus – which is, let’s face it, ageing quickly – the VW Golf and, when it arrives in Europe, the Vauxhall Astra. The Ford is the best to drive, the Astra tech-heavy and the Golf, well, a Golf – and therefore excellent. Can the Civic compete?