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Honda Civic saloon 1.6 i-DTEC SR 2018 Road Test

The Honda Civic saloon sounds like the kind of weird car you might find yourself landed with at an airport rental desk, but apparently there is a market for it in the UK. Mercedes-Benz clearly thinks there’s money to be made with the forthcoming A-Class saloon, while Audi also offers a booted version of its A3.

It’s not complete madness, then. And the other good news is that the Civic saloon doesn’t really look that different to the hatch. There’s the same angular shape, aside from a small boot sticking out at the rear. It’s certainly not a monstrosity.

One bit of potentially bad news - depending on your view - is that the Civic saloon is built in Gebze in Turkey, unlike the British-built hatchback which is put together in Swindon.

The good news is you’d find it hard to spot the differences between the saloon and the hatch once you’re sat inside. There’s the same quality interior, with a near-premium feel and lots of useful storage.

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The sloping roofline doesn’t hinder headroom in the rear of the Civic saloon as much as you might expect. In fact, the back of the Civic is quite spacious, with plenty of room for a pair of adults. The boot's a good size too, with 519 litres of luggage space with the rear seats left up.

Dropping them is easy, with the seats falling almost entirely flat. The Magic Seats of the old Civic are gone, unfortunately - and access to the saloon's boot isn't quite as easy as the hatch. One small bugbear is that you have to press a button inside or use the keyfob to unlock the boot - there isn't a button on the outside of the boot, frustrating if you're juggling shopping bags.

There’s also, unfortunately, the same buggy infotainment system as the 'normal' Civic. This is slow and crashy, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard - meaning it can be easily bypassed using your phone.

The Civic saloon also drives just as well as the hatchback does. The 1.6i-DTEC diesel engine is quiet and refined although, as with many diesels, you have to be prepared to change gear to keep it in its narrow torque band. Fortunately the six-speed manual gearbox is slick to use, and the new nine-speed automatic is pretty good too.

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Honda's engineers have softened the suspension of the saloon compared to the hatch, although you'd probably have to drive them back-to-back to notice the difference. It rode pretty well on our UK test route, absorbing lumps and bumps fairly easily despite our test car being fitted with chunky 17-inch alloy wheels.

It handles well too, the nicely-weighted steering giving the driver plenty of confidence to crack on. It's not quite as sharp as the hatchback (or the Ford Focus, for that matter), but most drivers will be more concerned about the Civic saloon's motorway manners - which are excellent, with little noise creeping into the cabin and lots of technology on hand to make your life easier.

All Civic saloon models feature Honda's Sensing driver assist technology, ranging from lane departure warning to intelligent adaptive cruise control which detects the likelihood of a car in a neighbouring lane on the motorway 'cutting in' and adjust the speed in advance. We'd have to spend more time using said technology to come into a definitive verdict, but our impression from other Hondas is that it should be more helpful than a hindrance.

We can’t imagine there’s going to be much demand for a Honda Civic with a sticky-out boot, but if you really want one there aren't many reasons why you shouldn't. It looks just as sharp as (if not sharper than) the regular Civic, and it drives as well. You'd be hard pushed to notice the difference inside, too.

The Honda Civic saloon is on sale now.

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