The Honda Civic has never been the most obvious medium car choice – with rivals from the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen getting more attention – however, it puts a strong case forward for those who want a sturdy, practical, reliable and well-engineered machine.

With a comfortable cabin, reasonable refinement levels and an economical new diesel engine, the Civic has won plenty of fans – albeit quietly. Despite this, the Civic has sold in great enough numbers to creep into the top 20 list of bestselling cars last year.

Now Honda has updated the Civic it is more appealing than ever, so we’ve rounded up the versions that make the most sense to those on a budget, those after the most bang for their buck and a plush well-equipped model for buyers with cash to splash.

The smart choice for those on a budget – 1.8 S: £17,635

It may be one of the cheapest Civics you can get, but the 1.8 S offers more than enough performance, economy and kit for most drivers – all for safely below £18,000. This model returns reasonable claimed economy of 48.7mpg and emissions of 137g/km – warranting £130 annual car tax – and can sprint to 62mph in a nippy 9.1 seconds.

Standard equipment is also quite generous, with this model featuring a digital radio, a USB connection for playing music from a phone or charging your devices, Bluetooth for hands-free calling, climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels and Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’, which let you fold up the rear seat base so you can load large items into the rear footwells.

The smart choice for value for money – 1.6 DTEC SE Plus: £20,570

This SE Plus model may cost nearly £3,000 more than the petrol car above, but it does include plenty more standard kit, along with an impressively economical diesel engine. Capable of 78.5mpg claimed economy, it also returns low enough CO2 emissions to warrant free car tax, while being able to accelerate to 62mph in a reasonable 10.5 seconds.

SE Plus trim includes the same kit as the car above plus a seven-inch touchscreen media system with internet radio and the ability to browse the web along with front and rear parking sensors allied to a rear parking camera. It also has dual-zone climate control along with cruise control and automatic headlights and wipers to simplify the driving process.

The smart choice for technophiles – 1.6 DTEC SR: £23,140

If price is less of a concern, just over £23,000 could get you the keys to the SR model. This may not be the range-topping trim level, but it does still boast leather seats, sat nav, an upgraded sound system plus ambient lighting and a glass roof for a luxurious feel. Also included are heated front seats for added comfort on chilly mornings.

With the same 1.6-litre diesel model as the car above, this Civic offers a strong combination of economy and performance, with buyers again being able to benefit from free annual car tax.

Picture: Honda