Sunday, 24 June 2018

Little black number

The proverbial 'little black number'� has always struck me as a bit of a cop-out as far as a fashion statement is concerned.

The proverbial 'little black number'� has always struck me as a bit of a cop-out as far as a fashion statement is concerned.

I mean, how much imagination does it take to dress entirely in black? Practically none at all, especially when there are so many vibrant combinations of colours available for designers.

The same might be applied to cars. A few years ago the message coming out of the Geneva motor show was that â??white was the new blackâ?�. Dutifully there followed a rash of white cars that are still popular today.

Black, as a colour for a car, seemed to take a back seat: just as red â?? which was once the most popular colour for cars because of its residual (or second-hand) value has become much less so (unless you go for a Ferrari and then it is almost obligatory).



So I viewed this weekâ??s drive with some scepticism: it was a determinedly black car â?? in fact the Honda Civic Black Edition.

I have to confess, from the off I was a bit smitten by this dark knight: it actually looked trim and neat with strong if compact design lines. Its all-black livery accentuated this look.

Although a fairly modest performer (0-62 in just over ten seconds for the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel test car) â?? there is a 1.8 i-VTEC petrol engine available which is slightly quicker in manual  transmission form) and with a top speed in the 130mph range â?? which is actually pretty good â?? that is not really the point with the Civic.

I think if potential customers could be bothered to look beyond, let us say, â??fancierâ?� hatchbacks from what are perceived to be more desirable marques, then they would be pleasantly surprised at the Civic.

The black topping on this particular Civic cake â?? that is, the so-called Civic Black Edition â?? would be the icing on what is an excellent little hatchback.

Part of this assessment comes from my, by now, usual mantra where Hondas are concerned. They have been consistently well made cars over the years, providing a quality that does not seem to diminish with the passing of those years.

They may not be everyoneâ??s cup of tea simply because I think a lot of motorists are under the illusion that by displaying a particular badge on the front of your car this denotes quality, expertise in manufacture and style.

The latter might often lack substance, but I have never found this to be the case where Hondas are concerned. They may need to keep up with trends and forsake a bit of their general conservatism in making cars, but they must never lose their reputation for quality.

Incidentally I think the new Honda CR-V proves that Hondaâ??s designers have it in them to produce the goods â?? the right stuff for a car-buying public that increasingly demands a â??wowâ?� factor with their purchases.

So how does this Civic, infused by such a dark potion, pan out? Well, Honda says the Black Edition has been â??designed for customers who insist on more... more individuality, more style and more sophisticationâ?�.

That may be sales talk, but in fact the Black Edition pretty much delivers on those last three counts. It is certainly individual-looking and nicely styled, which overall presents the buyer with what could be described as a â??sophisticatedâ?� hatchback. You would not apply that word to many hatchbacks these days.

The designersâ?? purpose â?? which I think works â?? with the Crystal Black Pearlescent bodywork paint is that what surrounds it (gloss black front skirt, side skirts, rear spoiler, rear bumper  garnish and Black Edition badge) complements its overall look.

This road presence is further enhanced by the 17in Radium alloys with Gunpowder black finish.

Not only do you get a visual impact with this car, you also get good economy: the test car â?? a 1.6 i-DTEC Black Edition Manual returned 78.5mpg on the combined cycle with CO² emissions of just 94 g/km. That little diesel engine â?? just like the Civic methinks â?? will run and run and never disappoint.



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