If you were asked to name Britain’s most recognisable family car, chances are you’d think of a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. But while both have sold in their millions since launch, the Honda Civic’s roots can be traced all the way back to 1972.

Now in its 10th generation, the Civic is barely recognisable from the cute and compact original, and there’s no denying the new model looks distinctive alongside its more mundane predecessor. Honda’s designers have thrown away the rulebook for the latest car, and its sharp lines, bold creases and sloping roofline are already creating debate in the Auto Express office.

To see if the car’s interest runs more than skin deep, we’ve added a new Civic SR to our fleet. We’ll be assessing it over the next six months to see what it’s like to live with. We’ve chosen the entry-level 127bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine, linked to Honda’s lovely six-speed manual gearbox.

Our mid-spec SR car comes loaded with equipment. To talk us through the standard kit list, we joined general sales manager Matthew Scott at Chiswick Honda, in south-west London, for a full rundown. His enthusiasm for the new Civic was clear from the outset: “It’s a huge improvement over the old car,” he told us.

The only option on our Civic is the White Orchid Pearl paint. It costs £525 and looks great when it’s sparkling clean. Elsewhere, Scott pointed out the SR’s standard 17-inch alloy wheels, all-round parking sensors and seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are fitted as standard, and vastly improve connectivity options. Using sat-nav through my phone is great, because the Civic’s infotainment system gives away ground to the best cars on the market, such as the Golf

A flick through the sales brochure shows  that all Civics get a host of safety options, including lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, but the over-sensitive collision warning system is already getting on our nerves. More on that in a future report.

Other notable kit on our SR car includes dark rear privacy glass and body-coloured, electrically folding door mirrors, as well as a handy reversing camera and LED daytime running lights. If you want full LED headlamps, however, you’ll have to step up to the more expensive EX version.

For £20,340, the Civic SR represents decent value for money, though. Honda reckons you can finance one for just £209 per month over three years with a deposit of just over £5,000. That’s £4 more than a lower-powered Golf 1.0 TSI 110 in SE Navigation trim, although two-zone climate control, a rear-view camera and tinted glass are all extra on the VW. If you’ve got less to spend, Honda also offers S and SE specifications on the 1.0-litre car.

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