We've long since lost count of the number of quality, reliability and customer satisfaction surveys that have commended Honda over the past five years.

There is no reason to expect that a brand new Civic will be any less excellent as an ownership proposition than any of its range mates.

You can't select a spare wheel as an option in the Civic

It has insurance ratings four to five groups lower than the outgoing car’s, and competitive benefit-in-kind company car tax, especially since the 94g/km 1.6 D-Tec oil burner joined the list of available engines.

Four trim levels are offered in the UK line-up: S, SE Plus, SR and EX Plus. The price of our top-spec test car looks high, but it comes generously equipped. A similarly specified BMW 120d would cost you more than £30k.

The arrival of the 1.6 diesel has finally allowed Honda to compete with the super-efficient and very popular rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion.

Its figures of 78.5mpg and 94g/km rank among the best in the class when you factor in the performance advantages of the Civic's engine relative to its rivals. More than 800 miles are also possible between fill ups.

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The Civic does, however, suffer slightly worse depreciation forecasts than the class-leading Golf and Focus.

Still, these cost pitfalls are fairly minor, and even taking them into account, the Civic is a well judged financial proposition by any standard.

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