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Car trim reviews

Honda Civic SE

The Honda Civic SE is very well equipped for an entry-level model, featuring climate control and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard.

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The Honda Civic SE is the cheapest model in the Civic range, but it doesn’t feels like an entry-level model. The list of standard equipment is impressive, with 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, front and rear electric windows and LED daytime running lights all included. For an extra £1,000, the SE-T model comes with sat-nav and Bluetooth. On the road, the Civic SE corners with confidence and offers passengers decent levels of comfort. It’s a very safe car too, as all models come with front and side airbags, as well as stability control and Brake Assist – a feature that improves emergency braking. All three engines are available in SE trim, including our pick, the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel, which is powerful and can return up to 60mpg. If you can’t afford the diesel or only travel shorter distances, Honda also offers 1.4 or 1.8 petrol engines, although they are quite noisy. Honda has also promised that a 1.6-litre diesel engine capable of producing emissions of under 100g/km, will be available by late 2012.

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Good points

At first, the Honda Civic SE seems expensive – but it offers good value compared to the poorly equipped Volkswagen Golf S. The SE is fitted with climate-controlled air conditioning and if you order a manual, stop/start technology is also included. From the outside, the futuristic looks hide a large boot, while sporty 16-inch alloy wheels increase desirability. The cheapest 1.4 i-VTEC is capable of 52mpg and produces emissions of 129g/km, which is competitive.

Bad points

The low roof reduces the amount of headroom in the back, so taller rear passengers may complain of discomfort on longer journeys. On the outside, the styling remains adventurous but lacks the appeal of the previous model, and the driver’s rear view is badly obstructed by the rear spoiler design, which cuts through the middle of the back window. The petrol engines are quite rough and the small fuel tank limits range.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Auto climate control
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • Stop/Start
  • Rear electric windows

Recommended optional extras

  • Sat-nav with integrated Bluetooth

Our choice

Until the 1.6-litre diesel arrives, the 99bhp 1.4 i-VTEC petrol engine is by far the cheapest, but the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel is better in almost every way, returning up to 67mpg.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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