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Honda Civic diesel leaner, meaner, greener

PUBLISHED: 13:40 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 11 May 2018

Honda's 10th-generation Civic hatchback is lower and wider which gives it a sportier stance. Picture: Honda

Honda's 10th-generation Civic hatchback is lower and wider which gives it a sportier stance. Picture: Honda

Honda

Honda still sees a future for diesel power and has just launched a significantly revised engine in its Civic. Motoring editor Andy Russell says there’s still a valuable role for such engines.

Revised 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine is cleaner and more frugal. Picture: HondaRevised 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine is cleaner and more frugal. Picture: Honda

Honda has launched the new diesel Civic hatchback as diesel sales plummet in the UK – 32pc down so far this year.

Joining the excellent all-new turbo petrols launched nearly a year ago, Honda still sees diesel appealing to higher-mileage motorists and accounting for three in 10 Civic sales – on a par with the UK diesel market.

Under the bonnet

Bold, angular styling of Honda Civic won't appeal to everyone. Picture: HondaBold, angular styling of Honda Civic won't appeal to everyone. Picture: Honda

Unlike the 129PS 1.0-litre and 182PS 1.5-litre petrol engines, which replaced naturally-aspirated units, the turbo diesel has been comprehensively revised to make it more refined, efficient with lower nitrogen oxides (NOx) and better to drive.

New production processes, different materials and next-generation components cut friction and weight while a new design turbocharger minimises lag.

It still produces 120PS at 4,000rpm, with a healthy 300Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm, but the headline figures are 93g/km of CO2 and 80.7mpg combined.

No 1.6-litre turbo diesel is going to set world alight but the Honda unit is flexible, punchy in the mid-range where it matters for and revs well without getting too coarse or noisy. And it also rewards eco driving at the fuel pump.

A nine-speed automatic transmission will also soon be offered, a first in a Honda two-wheel drive car.

Looks and image

The British-built Civic, now only a five-door hatchback in the UK, is a Marmite car with love or loathe futuristic, angular styling that won’t be to everyone’s taste.

But you have to admire Honda’s bold approach and this sporty, squat look stands out in this competitive sector.

How it drives

A new platform, lighter, stiffer body, revised steering and more complex multi-link rear suspension make the 10th generation Civic more agile but it’s the composed, quiet ride quality that makes the biggest impression.

Top models feature adaptive damping but the standard set-up is more than up to the job.

Space and comfort

A longer wheelbase makes the cabin even more spacious with 95mm more rear legroom and a class-leading 478-litre boot, with a large underfloor compartment and 60/40 split rear seat backs.

The previous flip-up, cinema-style rear Magic Seats were sacrificed for the multi-link rear suspension which saw the fuel tank moved under the back seat.

Final say

As I keep telling people, diesel is far from dead, and still the best option for higher-mileage, longer-trip motoring. This cleaner, more efficient Civic diesel is well placed to meet the needs of those drivers.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX manual £25,450 (range from £20,745)

Engine: 1,597cc, 120PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel with six-speed manual gearbox

Performance: 0-62mph 10.2 seconds; top speed 125mph

MPG: Urban 78.5; extra urban 83.1; combined 80.7

CO2 emissions: 93g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 22pc

Insurance group: 19 (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 90,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,518mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,076mm; H 1,434mm


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