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.
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.
Advertising feature in association with Honda UK