When is it going?

Not just yet. The all new and very funky Civic arrives in January 2006. So, after years of making OAP cat-food-run Civics, Honda has gone instead after the yoof market. Meanwhile, the current Civic still does a pretty good job on school runs, commutes and all that.

What's good about it?

Overall, what you have is a very clever design that fits in passengers and luggage brilliantly well, often with room to spare. And a good standard level of equipment with Honda's excellent reputation for quality and reliability. Many families need look no further than the Civic. Space is always a priority, and the Civic manages to provide a lot of it in a very compact package. Simply repositioning the gear lever on the dashboard creates a big floor area, and the high roof adds to that wonderful feeling of spaciousness. Five people can be seated comfortably, yet there is still room for luggage in what is a sizeable boot.

The 1.4 engine is adequate, although to cart family and luggage around, the 1.6 litre petrol and 1.7 litre diesel will be the better choice. Another Civic variant is the 1.3 IMA saloon, which has an economical, partly electric engine, but, significantly, the diesel delivers similar mpg figures at almost 57 miles to the gallon. The best thing about the current Civic is the sporty three-door 2.0 litre Type R. Here you have a state-of- the-art hot hatch, which combines almost 200bhp with superb handling. The engine is a wonderful piece of engineering that revs sweetly and works through sporting six-speed gearbox. It can therefore be driven hard, but it will be soft and sedate in built-up traffic. Equally responsive is the handling, which is tuned to perfection, with plenty of grip.

What's bad about it?

Nothing really. There is certainly some tyre roar on the motorway, and although the Type R is good value, not everything was standard, there are no side airbags and items such as air-conditioning are extra, so the basic price of £16,250 will rise by £1,000 for air.

How much?

It can be hard to make decent savings on a Civic. Virgincars.com has a pre-registered 1.4S at £9,299, saving just £683, although most brokers can get you a brand new Honda direct from a dealer with you as the first owner. Drivethedeal.com can get you a brilliant Type R for £14,927, down from £16,255. Meanwhile, Honda is offering 0 per-cent finance and two years' free servicing to tempt you into its showroom.

Any snags?

No, and it will hardly ever break down.

Fact file

Launched: 2000

Engine: 1.4 /1.6VTEC, 1.7CTDi, 1.7VTEC, 2.0 VTEC

Performance: 1.6 top speed 114 mph 0-60mph 10.4 seconds

Economy: 33.2 mpg

NCAP: 4 stars

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