We liked the 1.6 i-DTEC engine...
The new Honda Civic follows on from its 2006 predecessor which when launched was very radical in design. Now some six years later it seems very tame and in our opinion the design of the new model has been toned down and is currently only available as a five-door hatchback.
The new Civic takes on the likes of the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf, and where it has never been as dynamic to drive as its leading rivals it has been very reliable and is far removed from the euro box design.
There is a choice of three trim levels ‘SE’, ‘ES’, ‘EX’ - the core equipment on ‘SE’ models includes LED daytime running lights, idle stop, magic seats, climate control, immobiliser and alarm, all round electric windows, CD tuner and VSA. The ‘ES’ gains equipment such as dual zone climate control, auto wiper and lights, cruise control, Bluetooth telephone connection, a reversing camera and ultra sonic alarm. The ‘EX’ adds HDD navigation, premium audio with sub woofer, leather interior, front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats.
You can choose between petrol or diesel engines, on the petrol front there is a 1.4 or 1.8-litre i-VTEC units and the diesels comprise a 1.6-litre i-DTEC unit or a 2.2-litre i-DTEC.
What we tested
We tested the middle-of-the-range Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC ES which at the time of testing cost £19,400 plus £500 for the Woodland Green Pearlescent Paint.
Driving and Performance
We drove the 1.6 i-DTEC which produces 120 PS at 4,000 rpm / 300 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. This equates to a respectable 0-62 mph time of 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 129 mph.
We liked the engine (a lot), it’s flexible, quiet and offers plenty of torque - it copes well with both town and country motoring although you do have to make use of the six-speed gearbox with a narrow power band between 2-4,000 rpm.
According to NEDC figures the 1.6 i-DTEC unit promises 70.6 mpg on the urban cycle, 85.6 on the extra urban and on the combined cycle 78.5 mpg. CO2 emissions are sub 100 g/km at 94 g/km which is good news for company drivers and private owners – bringing lower tax banding.
We were pleasantly surprised that we achieved on average 47.4 mpg on the school run and local trips – on the motorway we able to get 72 mpg over a distance of around 120 miles.
It does come with stop/start technology which claims to lower the CO2 emissions by 5% - which at 94 g/km means you do not have to pay VED. We are not too keen on it and not sure that we like the engine stopping and starting when paused in traffic, etc. There is even an ECON button which activates a gentler throttle map to smooth out the torque delivery and it clams down the response of the air conditioning.
We liked the ride and handling – it all seems very compliant, taking care of all but harshest of pot holes. Out on ‘B’ roads it doesn’t have the dynamic appeal of the Volkswagen Golf but the steering is responsive and well weighted.