This year, Honda is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its highly-successful Civic.

You only have to look at the stats to appreciate its global appeal, with a remarkable 27.5 million Civics sold across no fewer than 170 countries since launch in 1972.

It may have hit the market as a humble two-door coupe, but the 11th generation model we see today is a mature, sleek and sophisticated machine.

Smooth is the first word that springs to mind after a week in the company of the latest Civic – and that’s partly thanks to the excellent hybrid powertrain.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda Civic on test in West Yorkshire

The Civic is the fifth model launched in Europe to feature Honda’s innovative e:HEV set-up.

Acceleration seems effortless, as an efficient petrol engine combines with two electric motors.

In urban areas, the car operates almost entirely in electric mode. At higher speeds, the system shifts between hybrid and EV mode and at motorway speeds, the petrol engine will directly drive the wheels.

The transition between the two modes and the delivery of power is seamless.

Despite the rather divisive e-CVT transmission, response to throttle inputs is swift, with a meaty 315Nm of torque available and the car always feeling to have something in reserve at higher speeds.

On winding roads, the Civic feels agile, with the chassis and suspension tuned to provide direct feel for the driver.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda Civic on test in West Yorkshire

The balance between performance and economy feels spot on, with an official fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg. In mixed driving conditions, including motorway stints, I averaged 42mpg over my week with the Civic.

In terms of looks, it’s a bit less cluttered and ‘in your face’ than it’s predecessors, with some of the more obvious design flourishes of yesteryear notable by their absence.

The profile is sleeker, simpler and cleaner, with a new fastback, coupe-like back end.

It’s also slightly longer than the outgoing model, with a lower roofline.

In a world where the high-riding crossover is king, it’s quite refreshing to drive a lower-slung, well-balanced hatch.

You don’t need to plug in the Civic to keep the batteries topped up as it’s a self-charging car, with the regenerative system capturing energy lost while braking and returning it to the hybrid battery.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda Civic on test in West Yorkshire

Inside, Honda has created a minimalistic feel to the cabin, with a clean and uncluttered feel.

A stylish panel with integrated air vents runs the width of the dashboard, creating a strong focal point.

An impressive nine-inch central screen sits high on the dash and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity.

Meanwhile, a 10.2-inch digital dial display can be seen through the gap at the top of the steering wheel.

Legroom and headroom are generous, while the seats are comfortable and supportive.

All-round visibility is good for the driver, with the Civic now having a wider windscreen.

Dunfermline Press: The Honda Civic on test in West Yorkshire

Honda has a strong reputation for reliability, but offers further peace of mind to buyers with a five year/90,000 miles warranty on each of the hybrid batteries.

In conclusion, there’s certainly a lot to like about the current Civic, helped by half a century of development. It boasts a mature look, a smart interior, drives well and offers pleasing running costs.

Honda Civic e:HEV

ENGINE: 1,993cc, four-cylinder, 1.05kwh battery, electric motor


0-62MPH: 7.9 seconds

TOP SPEED: 112mph

ECONOMY: 56.5mpg and 114g/km emissions

PRICE: £32,995 (Advance as standard)