Review : Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC

Honda Civic i-DTEC (2)

AROnline has spent the past ten years and more supporting the British car industry, which is looking healthier than ever. We don’t give enough credit to Honda for investing in the UK, and assisting British Leyland and Rover during through some very tough times. But then, by the time the two companies parted ways in 1994, Honda had become a significant UK car manufacturer thanks to its extensive production facility in Swindon. Currently the CRV and what it bills as ‘The car of the future’, the Honda Civic Diesel, are built at the Wiltshire factory – and are both doing very well indeed.

The Civic range was given a much-needed boost at the beginning of 2013, with the launch of the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine. Although the older 2.2-litre version was known for its huge mid-range punch and near-GTI levels of performance, in a cost-conscious market, it was relatively thirsty and expensive to tax – and for much of 2011 you couldn’t buy it new anyway thanks to the lack of a DPF. Hence the 94g/km 1.6-litre car, which Honda says is ‘a car that is built for you and your needs.’

It’s an impressive unit, Honda’s entirely new, British assembled, 118bhp 1.6 i-DTEC. It emits lower CO2 than any other diesel in its class, and claims better economy, with 78.5mpg combined. This same engine will also be available in the CR-V next year and a new smaller SUV, possibly reviving the HR-V name, in 2014.

Honda Civic i-DTEC

The 1.6-litre engine weighs 54kg less than the 2.2 i-DTEC and the new six-speed gearbox 7kg less. To drive, Honda says exciting, but we’d counter that with ‘very good’. On twisting roads, turn-in is good, and the onset of understeer is late, and traction out of bends is excellent. A few features worth mentioning are the more blade-like side strakes on the rear flanks to help achieve that 94g/km CO2; Honda’s own mis-fuel prevention filler flap; and the excellent, intuitive sat-nav.

The Honda Civic Diesel is equipped with the innovative system i-MID or intelligent Multi-Information Display, which allows you to get instant access information such as fuel consumption and cruising distance, as well as full control of the in-car entertainment and air-conditioning.

The Honda Civic is as comfortable as ever, but with the most recent model you will enjoy a design that is more stylish and classier than the rather Starship Enterrprise-looking out-going model, as well as experiencing more power on the road. The Civic Diesel might look small at first sight, but inside it’s spacious and attractive. The front and back seats are comfortable and offer good space for every adult so that they can enjoy the ride.

Definitely worth considering in the mid-range pack – and less obvious than the usual Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. The 1.6-litre is an absolute gem, a definite star of the range (until the Type-R makes a reappearance), and remember, like the Astra, it’s made in Britain. And once again, it does leave us wondering what might have been had Rover and Honda never split up.

The Honda Civic Diesel is now on sale and costs £19,400. You can book a free test drive on Honda’s website.

Honda Civic i-DTEC (3)

Advertising feature in association with Honda UK

Keith Adams
Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)


  1. Apart from the link to Honda’s website-how is this an advert? Seems like a normal review of Britain’s most Japanese car/Japan’s most British car 🙂
    The old 2.2 i-DTEC go like rockets-but they do rather like to eat tires…

  2. I wish Honda well and I thank them for their investment in the UK. However there are major quality issues from that Swindon plant. I had an FN2 Civic that was easily my most unreliable vehicle and worst ownership experience ever and that includes a 1983 Austin Metro!

  3. The styling is a bit random- its like they cut and pasted bits of other cars together. And that rear window makes for poor rear visibility (my mate had one as a company car).

  4. I quite like the styling, though it does look like an evolution of the truly ground breaking previous generation design.
    It is one of the few C segment cars that would interest me.

    I’m half tempted to trade in my Honda. Out car shopping with SWMBO this weekend to get her a small commuting car, from initially browsing the car dealer websites, Chrysler 300s, C5s and even a cheap Vel Satis were leaping out at me.

  5. A futuristic looking car (perhaps too much so?) but very similar to the previous body design. I previously had both an Accord & Civic (R400/45 style)as company cars which I had no complaints about. I still wish Honda UK well, but have no plans to buy one in the immediate future.

  6. Its funny. Despite the Buck Rogers styling its still a car I associate with Wurthers Original.

  7. I liked the previous Civic which had quirky design features like triangular exhausts. It was also a nice curvy shape and looked cool. The new one looks like its had bits added on as an afterthought. A plastic looking front and the tail lights are awful.

    Did Honda steal the hidden rear door handle idea from Alfa?

  8. @7 – yes, I think the Alfa 156 was the first to do that. It’s a bit old-hat now, though – my father-in-law’s Peugeot 206SW has them too!

  9. I think the styling of the previous generation worked so much better, this is just plain ugly from most angles.

  10. It’s a great car, and to get the best out of it, you would be wise to invest in some Yokohamas and Mobil 1. Honda… advertising on AROnline.

  11. The benefit of Honda in Swindon is exports and Britains Balance of Trade. Honda swindon is the key plant for the supply of Honda motor cars to the European market.

    The strength of the Yen means sourcing cars from Japan is undesirable

  12. @mm

    The outgoing Japan built Accord has been struggling to sell at it’s price due to the strength of the Yen.

  13. £ 19,400 is a fair whack for a small family car and will probably only make sense if you do a lot of miles. It’s a good looking, futuristic car and drives well, but I can pick up a SEAT Leon for seven grand less and this is a bigger car and just as good looking.

  14. The car in the picture- did Honda pick up a job lot of British Leyland metallic beige in a jumble sale?

  15. The sporty styling, to attract the younger buyer, hides the fact that Honda abandoned their trademark double wishbone suspension and joined the MacPherson strut herd.

    According to a suspension engineer employed by JLR. Some of those “Plain Jane” Honda Civic cars of the late 90s had some clever ideas for ride and passive steering, achieved by careful design of the rubber bushes in the suspension mounts.

    A case of a component, apparently simple, being much more He described the analysis of the design of the bushes as something of a head spin.

  16. The previous model looked nicer , although the new one is starting to grow on me. I wouldnt buy one though.

  17. just got one. while do not care much for the external design, I think the internal layout is exellent.
    also, I’m currently on avg of 65 mpg! quite amazing as it does not feels sluggish at all !

    also like very much the satnav and the additional info available in the upper console.

    overall, very happy so far.

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