At the ninth time of asking, Honda has produced a compact five-door hatchback that seems well suited to European tastes.

The Civic measures up to relevant European market standards, represents a strong value proposition and seems sufficiently well rounded and mature in its performance, ride and handling to make it a convincing alternative to the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and Vauxhall Astra.

View aft is hindered by fat C-pillars and a split-screen hatch

Now, in most of the ways that matter, the Honda Civic can be considered a real contender.

Slightly poor passenger accommodation and some poorly chosen cabin equipment are all that separate the new Civic from a four-star rating.

In most other respects, it is every bit as good as the cars that dominate Europe’s family hatchback class. 

In its refinement, intelligent packaging and material quality, in fact, it’s little short of outstanding. However, the tenth generation Civic hopes its radical, if slightly more conventional look and bigger size will close the gap even more to its closest rivals and address some of the failings outlined in this road test.