What are you driving?
It's the Honda Civic in 'Sedan' format. That's the American word for 'saloon', in case the swoopy bodywork confused you. So, this is the four-door version of the tenth-generation Civic, a C-segment car that needs little introduction. While the front of the Civic Sedan is the same as that of the hatchback, the design of the rear has been toned down. The boot opening is more restricted than that of the Civic hatchback, but inside there's space for 519 litres of stuff apparently.
Prices for the Civic Sedan (as at January 1, 2019) start at €27,750. That's for an example powered by Honda's excellent 1.0-litre VTEC Turbo petrol engine, which is only a tenner a year more expensive to tax than the diesel model tested here (which starts at €29,305). There are manual and automatic gearboxes for both the petrol and diesel engines (different units, it should be noted - the diesel features a slick new eight-speed torque converter transmission, while the petrol engine uses a CVT). Trim lines offered are Smart Plus and Premium.
Name its best bits
Well, stylistically, the Honda Civic Sedan offers buyers a less attention-grabbing option than the overtly sporty looking Civic hatch, though the four-door isn't without its own design flourishes - check out the buttress-like shape of the rear window and pillars. It garners more looks than you might expect. The interior is beautifully made, too, and has loads of room for four (middle rear passenger draws the short straw as ever).
The updated 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is the smoothest and quietest in the segment by some margin, with great real-world economy, too. It's not as perky as some, but has lovely linear torque delivery, making in a genuine pleasure to drive. Same can be said about the chassis underneath: this perhaps isn't the model to take out for a drive for the sake of it, but it does everything competently, maturely.
Anything that bugs you?
That new rear end comes with a compromise in the form of a restricted opening through which to feed your luggage. And, while the rear seats can fold down by using levers in the boot, they've lost their 'magic' function found in other Civics. Also inside the cabin, some of the switchgear and digital menus are completely counter-intuitive to use. I guess an owner will soon get to grips with it.
And why have you given it this rating?
While I prefer the appearance and sporting personality of the Civic hatchback, the Sedan will undoubtedly appeal to many Irish buyers. It's a high-quality offering that drives better than some will expect and comes with the option of two great engines. There are cheaper-to-buy rivals on the market, but few with the same feeling of robustness. It's spacious too.
What do the rest of the team think?
The Civic Sedan offers a different take and goes some way to filling the void left by the Honda Accord. The Civic excels on longer cruises where the diesel engine's efficiency shines through, but is just as composed on the road as the hatchback.
Dave Humphreys - Road Test Editor
That the Civic Sedan looks a little more 'normal' than the hatchback is a bit of a let-down for me, but the rest of it is hugely impressive. That i-DTEC diesel engine is still by far the best oil-burner in its class and, for me, the Civic now significantly out-paces the recently launched new Ford Focus when it comes to steering and handling. The cabin could do with a bit of a spruce-up, but other than that I'm sold.
Neil Briscoe - Editor-at-large