Sounds good to meWhat, then, has Honda wrought upon such an admirable piece of work? Answer: it has actually improved it.
Instead of binning that excellent design, it has mildly muted its shape. An inch here, an inch there, a shorter wheelbase – and the car emerges that bears a recognisable connection with its forebear but is also distinctly different.
Gone is the continuous line of acrylic glass that stretched around the nose from headlight to headlight. Gone, too, are the jelly bean hues of the instrument display along with the plethora of bar graphs and readouts that made you feel that you might be sitting at a Wall Street trader’s desk rather than a driving seat.
Instead, we now get simplicity, clarity and a sympathetic recognition that we have better things with which to occupy our minds than mastering a car’s information system.
In its dynamic set-up, the previous Civic was not as radical as it looked – an unusual imbalance for a company that has never gone for the fur-coat-no-knickers approach. This new one corrects the balance with a six-speed gearbox, sharper handling and a neater ride.
Contrary to their long-established traditions, then, Honda seems with the new Civic to have taken a very good car and made it better. Phew!