Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rugged and Practical, If Unexciting

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rugged and Practical, If Unexciting

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Enright

HONDA is a company that possesses some of the biggest engineering brains in the world, but sometimes you have to wonder what would happen if those in their marketing departments were equally clever.

Take the brand's Civic family hatchback.

This really ought to be the brand's flagship sales success story, a car with premium engineering that also claims to be able to mix it with volume Csegment cars like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra in the sales charts. Unfortunately for Honda, the Civic has never quite managed to do this and indeed, there was a lengthy period from 2005 to 2015 when many felt the car was becoming less rather than more competitive against its key rivals.

Honda tried, with limited success, to turn this situation around with the ninth generation version launched in late 2011. This particular model could though, make a lot of sense as a used buy.

Let's check it out. At first it's tempting to pass this MK9 model Civic off as a facelift of the old car, but spend a little more time with it and you can see just how much work has gone into developing something fresh.

The designers wanted to keep the sporty and advanced elements of the old model's character but tweak them to express a more dynamic feel. The car is 20mm lower and 10mm wider than its predecessor, giving it a squatter, more purposeful stance. This 'blended body' features smarter aerodynamics, including a rear light cluster that works as an aerodynamic spoiler, managing air flow over the top and sides of the bodywork.

The interior is focused around the driver and, like the eighth generation car, features a split-level instrument binnacle.

One area where clear strides were made with this design was in the perceived quality of the cabin.

Previously, Civics had featured quite a lot of scratchy hard plastics but this ninth generation model altered its approach to meet a far more demanding European customer base.

There was typical Honda design cleverness too. Inside you get probably the best one-handed seat folding operation in the business - the brand's 'Magic Seat' system. Granted, it probably wouldn't impress David Blaine but it'll impress your neighbour. …

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