Where were you in the summer of 1972? Well, if you were the Honda Motor Company, you were nursing your wounds from the failure of the lilliputian Honda 600, a little sedan with a 2-cylinder engine. I mean, how could that have not been a roaring success?

So by 1972, they were ready with a real small sedan, and they called it the Civic. And it had a real 4-cylinder engine, got great mileage, and sold like cold beer in August.

And now, the 10th generation is on the road, and it’s most recent restyle has changed it from a hum drum little commuter to a dramatic little commuter styled to within an inch of its life.

Our touring model was slathered with swoops, curves, scoops and scallops, and was powered by the little 1.5-liter turbo engine cranking out 174 hard-working ponies.

That’s enough to take the nearly 3000 pound four-door to 60 miles an hour in just over 7 seconds, which is around mid-pack for economy sedans. It does all that while sipping Middle-Eastern go juice at a rate of 31 miles per gallon city, and 42 on the highway.

Inside, the cabin is screwed together with typical Honda near perfection, and is a roomy and stylish place to listen to the premium audio system with 10 speakers sprinkled around the interior.

The engine is smooth, if a little loud, and the car frankly feels faster than it is. Handling is good if not sports car great, and the continuously variable transmission is probably the best of its breed, feeling like a very smooth automatic. It takes a while to realize, there aren’t any discernable gear changes.

All in all, the latest Honda Civic is a lovely piece of work, if not the absolute bargain previous models were. Our touring model came in at a little over $28,000.

That’s a bit stout for an economy car, but let’s face it. The Honda Civic isn’t the entry level Honda anymore. It’s more like a baby Accord. If you think of it that way, then it’s an absolute bargain.


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