Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Sport
of the Civic name and its
easy to think of the hard-charging
range-topper, the £30K Type R
version that in turn prompts thoughts
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW SPORT model, while sitting squarely mid-range
in the five-door family hatchback Civic line-up, brings a tangible intimation
of the Type R's cachet thanks to some sporty styling touches.
These include 'blacked-out' rear door and tailgate glass and more black in the
shape of the wedgey double grille treatment flanked by sculpted headlights with
sleek and strongly-delineated daytime running lights.
Wheelarches are strongly defined; the powerful, bunched haunches remind you
of a big cat ready to pounce. The back is no less eye-catching with its mid-screen
rear spoiler linking stand-out rear light units above a high-gloss diffuser
but, tantalisingly, no visible tailpipes.
the sporty road presence effect with a flourish are 10-arm 17-inch alloy wheels
finished in track-suggestive black along with gleaming Brilliant Sporty Blue
metallic paintwork. Yes, it's actually called that, which is exactly how you'd
describe it not surprisingly, during our week with the Civic we received
compliments on the colour every time we stopped!
to the Civic's appeal are the prices these kick-off from £16K for the
entry-level (S grade) petrol-drinking 1.4 i-VTEC with the larger petrol-engined
1.8-litre Civics costing up to £27K. In between is the 1.6-litre powered by
Honda's impressive all-new 1.6-litre i-DTEC twin-mode turbocharged diesel engine.
weeks keen driving
on all sorts of blacktop
saw an overall
57.7mpg with a
72mpg on motorways!
Best of all, you wont
have to drive like a saint
to duplicate these
The 1.6's initial boost mode delivers low-down torque until the right revs when
a more powerful secondary mode takes over to invigorate mid- to top-end performance.
Back-stopping the 118bhp (120hp) is a muscular 221lb ft of torque on tap from
But it matters not one jot that some other engines deliver their maximum torque
from a few hundred revs less because this 1.6 turbodiesel is a nicely refined
unit that doesn't shout when going about its business, and is smoother and more
efficient both economically and emissions-wise officially it can return
76.3mpg in the combined cycle and its 94g/km of CO2 slips in under the road
tax-triggering 100g/km ceiling, so no road tax.
Also keeping running costs low is the turbodiesel's fuel economy a week's
keen driving on all sorts of blacktop including quite a lot on demanding country
roads saw an overall 57.7mpg with a regularly repeatable 72mpg on motorways!
Best of all, you won't have to drive like a saint to duplicate these figures.
Incidentally, driving in the Eco mode doesn't seem to make the Civic any less
essentials such as dual-zone climate control, 7-inch touchscreen, digital radio,
cruise control with speed limiter, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors,
privacy glass, power windows, heated door mirrors, multifunction steering wheel,
alloy pedal set, etc, are all present and correct. Additionally there's a new
standard-fit Honda Connect infotainment system featuring Aha radio, Mirrorlink,
Bluetooth hands-free, and internet browsing.
an immediately-felt 'sporty' ambiance to the Civic's cabin that registers the
moment you swing open a front door; it's full of subtle markers like the high-set
gearlever with slim gearknob that fits the palm naturally, and that's very close
to the meaty and grippy matt-finish leather wheel rim with its good thumb cut-outs
and stylish gloss black multifunction button surrounds.
trio of dials are set in individual nacelles (the larger central one with a
rev-counter and shift prompt), and there's a wraparound panel in the upper fascia
ahead of the driver with a forward instrument display: a large, digital speed
readout (white figures that are clearly visible day, night and even in bright
sunshine) with customised driver information to its left.
driving position really is spot-on with A1 visibility to the front and through
the deep side glass and even through (although you might not think so
if you've only looked at the Civic's 'fastback' tail from outside) the two-section
rear screen; the door mirrors also provide first class views and that unmissable
rear spoiler could make it tricky to park if it weren't for the rearview camera
felt sporty ambiance to
the cabin that registers
the moment you swing
open a front door;
its full of subtle markers
like the high-set
gearlever with slim
gearknob that fits the
and thats very close to
the meaty and grippy
leather wheel rim...
The well-shaped front seats, trimmed in a smart-looking soft textile material,
are as comfy, accommodating and as supportive as they look; their effective
bolstering is not at all intrusive but works well, plus there's decent built-in
lumbar support much appreciated on long trips. It's roomy too, with a
full fist of headroom, decent elbow and shoulder room, and plenty of space for
man-sized feet and your front passenger can really stretch out without
eating into rear cabin legroom.
The touchscreen is neatly integrated into the central fascia for straightforward
access of all the infotainment features with plenty of apps and widgets covering
browsing, Aha radio, downloads, Honda app store, phone, audio, Bluetooth, WiFi,
camera, etc. As important as connectivity is physical comfort and the excellent
climate system will keep you chilled-out on the hottest of days.
touches include a well-sited left-foot rest for long cruises, the fact that
if you like fresh air you can enjoy driving with the windows down (not something
you can do in many cars today), the sturdy 'trad' handbrake the type
most drivers still prefer, real-world in-cabin storage including the large,
lengthy, bottle-holding front door bins as well as the gratifying sound the
doors make when they close that reminds you that Honda doesn't just build cars;
it engineers them.
the Civic's 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating is a full set of airbags, tyre deflation
warning, anti-whiplash front head restraints, and a stability control system
along with that other essential for our unpredictable UK weather a rear
you wish, for a very reasonable £600 you can specify the Driver Assist Safety
Pack which gets you loads of extra safety aids: Forward Collision Warning, Traffic
Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information, Cross Traffic
Monitor, High Beam Support, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
City-Brake Active system is fitted as standard across the range. However, if
you want a Garmin navigation it's a £610 option although if you buy a SR or
EX-Plus model at the top of the trim ladder it's already included.
in the back is no hardship as despite its coupe-look roofline there's a fist
of headroom. The seatbacks are set at a comfortable angle and there's a decent
amount of foot room that, courtesy of a low floor 'tunnel', means three sitting
side-by-side in the back is very doable. Bottle-holding rear door bins are another
'plus', as too is how easy it is to get in/out even in tight parking spots.
there's also a Touring estate version, the hatchback (at just an inch short
of 4.4 metres nose-to-tail) is perfectly capable of serving two masters
as a 'people carrier' it will accommodate five; as a load-lugger it comes with
a large 477-litre boot; fold down the 60:40-split back seats and you'll have
a 1,378-litre cargo hold with an all-of-a-piece loadbay floor that can be loaded
easily either through the rear doors or from the high-opening tailgate.
Civic handles as
well its thrusting lines
to punt about as it is
to just plain pootle.
If youre pressing on
the engine a willing and
partner to the slick,
There's additional storage (full-boot-width and some six inches deep) beneath
the main boot floor. The rigid luggage cover is lightweight and easily removed,
and you'll find a tyre repair kit in the side-pocket.
icing on the cake is the Civic's incredibly useful and aptly named 'Magic Seat'
system the back seat bases fold-up vertically and can be locked in place
against their backrests in a single-handed action that takes all of a couple
of seconds and creates a versatile full-cabin-width storage area perfect for
taller items. More 'magic' is that while being used by passengers, squashy bags
can be stored beneath them.
put down their power through their front wheels via a slick six-speed manual
gearbox, and making the most of this is a 'faster', more responsive steering
set-up. Complementing the steering upgrade is a retuned front and rear suspension
that not only significantly improves the handling but also the ride, which on
previous models could at times be too much on the firm side. Now it's noticeably
more supple as befits a car built in Britain (at Honda's Swindon plant)
and that's clearly tailored to suit our demanding British blacktop.
Civic handles as well its thrusting lines imply it's as enjoyable to
punt about as it is to just plain pootle. If you're pressing on, you'll find
the engine, with its 221lb ft of torque, a willing and well-matched partner
to the slick, clean-changing six-speed manual 'box. It rides well too, and brakes
and steers competently; in fact, whatever you ask of it, it does without fuss.
Conspicuously much improved in all areas, economical to run, highly specced
with up-to-the-minute connectivity features and powered by a lively diesel engine,
the latest Civic has more than enough charisma to make it a justifiably good
choice against a Golf or Focus. Good on you, Honda! ~ MotorBar
Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Sport | £21,190
Maximum speed: 128mph | 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds | Test Average: 57.7mpg
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 94g/km