I think this 1.8-litre petrol Civic is in a tricky position. It's a perfectly good car, but if you really care about economy and emissions, you'll buy the 67.3mpg, 110g/km diesel, and if you want to minimise costs, you'll buy the 100bhp 1.4 and put up with a 0-62mph of 13.4secs.
So where does that leave the 1.8? It should be keeping the Type R hordes warmed up in readiness, but its naturally aspirated 140bhp doesn't give it enough punch, particularly since it's been saddled with long gearing. It doesn't weigh much, so it should dash through third but doesn't. There's no zip.
Still, it's a pleasant engine to use. So quiet at idle it's hard to tell if the start/stop has kicked in, and it's mated to a delightfully slick clutch and gearbox, so mooching around town requires no effort at all. It may rev to 6,800rpm, but it's at its most polished at the bottom end. Very un-Honda.
It's clearly worked hard on the ride and refinement, and although you get most of the chatter from the suspension rather than the steering, the results are pretty impressive. I thought I'd have one over a Ford Focus - until I saw the price. Yikes. Cheaper trim levels are available.
1798cc, 4cyl, FWD, 140bhp, 126lb ft, 46.3mpg, 145g/km CO2, 0-62 in 9.6secs, 134mph, 1270kg
Not a bad engine, but far from stimulating and way too expensive in EX GT trim. Go for the ES at £18,995