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Honda's got real style and substance, writes Ian Mallon

LAST week an orange man who once drove an orange Lamborghini held a party for 300 tangerine skinned Oompa-Loompas at an event that had nothing to do with motoring.

This orange orgy of luminous decrepedation will go some way to explain what does and does not constitute 'style' -- a concept that the Honda Civic is certainly not lacking.

For anyone who doesn't know the VIP Style Awards, it ironically features 300 of the city's most unstylish individuals, all brought together for one big dog's dinner of a night.


There they all await the most eagerly anticipated tap on the shoulder in Tinseltown -- recognition by Herald columnist and VIP publisher Michael O'Doherty, that you are indeed 'Stylish'.

There are various awards: 'Ireland's Most Stylish Man/Woman/Couple/Transexual/ Conjoined Twins etc'.

As it happened the winners last week were Marty Whelan (Man), Alan Hughes and Karl Broderick (Couple) and Sharon Corr (Woman) -- a most impeccable choice, I think you'll agree.

So what does this have to do with the Honda Civic?

Well, if a Corr, a couple of badly dressed gay men and a moustachioed television presenter can pick up style gongs, then the Honda Civic must be the most beautiful reasonably priced car of all time. The Civic has always been the king of cool -- a genuine fashionista without the green eye shadow, false lashes and Wonder Bras.

Two of my pals had white Honda Civics, cars in which I spent many daydreaming hours believing myself to be the teenage equivalent of a VIP Awards attendee.

We pulled girls -- well they mainly did -- cruised the mean streets of Naas with raw abandon and generally looked more like car thieves than Monegasque playboys.

The Civic of today is of course far more sophisticated, but no less appealing than the first and second generation gems of the past. Today's Civic is more than just a jumped-up Boy Racer fantasy -- this is a sophisticated, tooled-up, style king.

There is so much to love with the Civic, not least the 2.2 i-DTEC ES model.

Most importantly it has iPhone/iPod input sockets, fast becoming a standard on almost every new car.

The Civic also felt like a sleek drive -- that's to say it feels like the type of car that literally stalks the ground as it moves seamlessly over the road ahead.

Handling, power and control were all superb, onboard comfort was simply luxurious and the dash board was one of the most graphically sophisticated and slickest I have ever seen.

Best of all the Civic is genuinely stylish, and ironically -- it comes in Orange.

The Honda Civic starts at €25,820.