November 23, 2017

CLEAN MACHINE: HONDA CIVIC 1.6 iDTEC

Honda_Civic_1.6iDTEC_review_writeonmotoring_5Honda’s ninth generation Civic range has just received a new addition – the much anticipated 1.6 iDTEC, which the company hopes will widen its small family hatchback’s appeal.

When the current generation Civic launched in early 2012, it was considered to be a comprehensive improvement over its futuristically styled predecessor. Maintaining the futuristic looks of the current model line-up, the launch of the new state-of-the-art clean diesel has further increased the Civic’s appeal, by way of improved efficiency and refinement over the existing 2.2 litre diesel motor.

Built at Honda’s factory in Swindon and developed and tested extensively on a variety of roads across the continent, the new 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine is the first power-plant to be launched in Europe under Honda’s flagship Earth Dreams Technology environmental programme.

The headline figures being the new motor that emits only 94 g/km CO2 and returns a combined 78.5 mpg, with Honda claiming that the Civic 1.6 iDTEC can drive around 863 miles on a tank of fuel.

Available in three different trim specifications: SE, ES and top-of-the-range EX, which benefits from rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and DAB digital radio. Otherwise equipment levels remain the same as with existing Civics: the exception being new 16-inch alloy wheels.

On the road:

Honda has taken advantage of the new powertrain’s 47 kg reduction in weight, to sharpen the dynamic performance and handling of the new model. It shows. Civic is now much crisper to drive, having a fleetness of foot that alludes the 2.2 litre diesel. Steering is more precise too, although remains a tad over-assisted at higher speeds.

One of the existing Civic’s attributes was a pliant and smooth ride and thankfully this remains with bumps, ruts, ridges and poor road surfaces magically ironed out. Even better news is that refinement has also improved. There’s now less road noise than before, while the new engine transmits less vibration into the cabin.

Honda’s superb new 1.6 i-DTEC motor pumps out 120PS at 4,000rpm, with a maximum torque arriving at 2,000rpm. The Only concession is a slight lack of tractability around 750 to 1200 rpm – but most of the time you’ll be convinced that you’re being propelled by a 2.0 litre diesel, such is the responsiveness and flexibility of performance of offer. A 6 speed gearbox translates the power to the wheels and is enjoyably precise in its operation.

As expected, the economy is excellent, and although falling short of the manufacturer’s claim, we easily achieved 55-60 mpg during our time with the car.


In the cabin:

Inside remains the same as the current Civic, which was a significant improvement on the previous model. The dashboard skillfully blends digital and analogue instrumentation and the infotainment screen and gauges are easy-to-read at a glance.

Honda_Civic_1.6iDTEC_review_writeonmotoring_2It could be said that in ES guise, Civic’s interior is on the conservative and plain side: black plastics could be livened up a bit by some contrast of colour or brushed metallic finishes, although the sculpted and hi-tech looking dash maintains interest.

Driving position is good and the driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive, with decent height adjustment, but the other seats are set rather low in the car, resulting in minimal leg support for six footers. Rear headroom won’t win any awards either, unlike the clever and aptly named ‘Magic Seats’ – which at the pull of two levers – fold down giving a completely flat load space. The rear seat cushions can also be raised and locked in different positions, boxing off smaller load areas to secure awkwardly shaped items. Factor in a large 401 litre boot  and you have a compact hatchback that with almost estate carrying capability.

Honda_Civic_1.6iDTEC_review_writeonmotoring_3Rear visibility is slightly hampered by the split screen arrangement, although this is largely offset by a clear and well positioned standard-fit rear view parking camera.

Verdict:

The current generation Civic, although an unquestionably capable small family hatchback, has up until now had a gap in its range – now aptly filled by the introduction of this new ultra efficient diesel. It pulls off the deft trick of providing all but the last ounce of get-up-and-go of the bigger 2.2 litre oil burner, but with the economy and emissions of a much slower small capacity engine. Add in improved handling dynamics and greater refinement and the 1.6 iDTEC significantly raises Civic’s game.

Honda_Civic_1.6iDTEC_review_writeonmotoring_6
Tech spec:

Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC ES
OTR Price: £20,780
Max power 120 PS @ 4000 rpm
Max torque 300Nm @ 2000 rpm
0-62 mph: 10.5 seconds
CO2 emissions: g/km) 94
Claimed combined mpg: 78.5

 

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