IT was a baptism of fire for our Civic when the keys landed on my desk.
The Honda’s first duty under my ownership was to whisk me away on a 2,000-mile holiday, spanning a week, three countries and pretty much every kind of road that the UK has to offer.
A couple of hundred miles down the A1 to London and across England on the M4 to south Wales were dispatched in fine comfort.
I’ve read reports in other, less auspicious, publications that some find the Civic’s ride too hard, but I have no such complaints. You can feel everything you need to through the wheels, but never to the point of irritation.
Once in the suburbs of Cwmbran, we rolled up to the home of a former schoolmate, a committed petrolhead. He was highly impressed with the Civic’s interior, as am I. A year after launch there is still little to match the funk and style that Honda whipped up for this latest incarnation.
The split-level dash and vivid blue instrument panel look great and the optional blue footwell lights (£200) give a funky vibe to one’s footwear.
While in Wales I took a spin in my buddy’s Lotus Elise. It was an absolute hoot, but jumping back into the Civic’s less spartan interior made the Honda seem even more welcoming.
From Wales, it was an effortless jaunt across and up to Newcastle, followed by four days of country-road bliss around Scotland. Our trip took us from Edinburgh to Crianlarich and up through the Highlands to Ballachulisch before heading down into Glasgow.
It made for a fantastic few days. The Civic is enjoyable to drive anyway, but the crests, sweeping bends and loch-side yomps were a joy. Having swapped from a Peugeot 207, I missed the taut directness of the French car, but the Civic makes up for it in civility.
As one of those hooded yobs you read about in the Daily Mail, I took the opportunity to visit Dumbarton skatepark. After a hard day’s wheel-based fun, we were faced with the unpleasant prospect of sharing the car with piles of sweaty protective gear.
But the Civic had a solution. Having dispensed with a spare wheel in favour of a tyre sealant kit, the boot now contains a handy bin under the floor, large enough to take skates and knee pads.
The rest of the boot was more than big enough for a couple of hefty suitcases and had room to spare.
Only a couple of quibbles. The under-dash release toggle for the fuel cap is pretty unreliable – on occasion, I’ve had to pull it dozens of times before it engages. And the engine is rather oil hungry, guzzling its way through almost two litres over the past month.
Generally, though, the Civic and I are getting on famously.
Price: £18,095 (£19,295 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 140
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £48 per month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 53.3
Test mpg: 41.2
CAP Monitor RV: £6,750/37%
Contract hire rate: £379
Expenditure to date: £15.98 (oil) Figures based on three years/60,000 miles