Your head says you should go for a sensible, spacious, economical, five-door, five-seater with a large boot.

Your heart yearns for a dynamic, aggressively-styled, great-to-drive hot hatchback with a turbocharged engine.

Honda says you can have both if you buy the distinctive new Swindon-built Civic.

Wider, longer, and lower than any of its predecessors and built on a fresh platform, the sleek-looking Civic delivers both an engaging and dynamic drive while remaining remarkably super-sensible.

Part of the surprise comes from the turbocharged petrol power choices supplied for the tenth generation car. Priced from just under £19,000, buyers of the Civic can opt for a barnstorming 182 horsepower, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, or the remarkably accomplished 129 horsepower 1.0-litre fitted in the test car.

Now if you think a three-cylinder engine in a car of this size is going to be woefully out of its depth then think again.

Yes, you need to work the six-speed manual gearbox to get the best out of it, but this is a cracking power unit and more than capable of delivering a taut, controlled drive on twisting country roads and relaxed cruising at motorway speeds.

Honda says development of the five-door Civic for Europe was carried out through extensive on-road testing in the UK and Germany and that has paid off.

Two qualities mark out a lot of new cars – technology and safety – and the Civic is determined to score top marks for both.

At the top of the centre console sits a seven-inch colour touchscreen controlling the infotainment and climate control functions and on the SR specification test car also acting as a display for the reversing camera.

The driver’s seating position is a major change from the previous generation car, sited lower to give a greater feeling of connection with the car. In front of you sits another seven-inch colour display with a large digital rev counter – with digital rev needle– and a digital speedometer readout. Built into the display is a large area in which you can switch between everything from navigation instructions, text messages and email to smartphone contacts and journey trip information.

Scrolling and selecting the information to display is performed by thumbpad controls on the left spoke of the steering wheel alongside integrated Bluetooth hands-free telephone controls.

A second thumbpad on the right spoke operates the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist system settings.

Integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto means you can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music from the touchscreen or by voice using Apple’s Siri commands.

The cabin is neatly trimmed with soft-feel and upmarket materials to give a thoroughly upmarket feel. The centre console has a piano-black finish, with a two-tier storage tray and a second tray behind the console giving access to HDMI and USB ports and a 12v power socket.

Boot space is versatile with a hidden underfloor compartment and rear seats that split and fold to give a flat boot floor.

On the safety front, as well as traction control and tyre pressure monitoring, Honda has fitted a range of active safety technologies, using a combination of radar and cameras as standard on all grades.

The active safety systems range from a collision mitigation braking system that helps to bring the car to a stop if the system determines that a crash with a vehicle in front is unavoidable, to lane departure warning that will detect if the car is straying out of its current lane.

Traffic sign recognition detects and automatically recognises road signs and displays the signs in the instrument panel.

Intelligent speed assistance combines the automatic speed limit set by the driver with road sign recognition to automatically adjust the vehicle speed to that indicated by the last road sign. Intelligent adaptive cruise control can predict and automatically react to other vehicles ‘cutting-in’ on motorways. Other safety systems available include a blind spot monitor, cross-traffic monitor that uses rear side radar sensors to warn you of approaching vehicles when reversing.

So it’s technically advanced, safe and versatile, while offering some real head-turning on-road presence. Two cars for the price of one you might say.

Auto facts

Model: Honda Civic 1.0 VTEC Turbo SR Manual

Price: £20,340

Insurance group: 15E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 58.9mpg

Top speed: 126mph

Length: 451.8cm/177.9in

Width: 207.6cm/81.7in

Luggage capacity: 16.9 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 10.1 gallons/46 litres

CO2 emissions: 117g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 90,000 miles