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Diesel: The fight back?

2018 Civic i-DTEC Diesel

Launching a Diesel. You must be mad in this current market or so they all say. Honda has done just that with its tenth generation Civic despite negativity from the Diesel emissions scandal and the constant demonising of diesel vehicles – despite modern diesels being cleaner, leaner and more fuel-efficient than ever and are still in high demand, especially for high mileage drivers. Don’t forget, It was almost ten years ago when motorists were encouraged to switch to diesel after the government of the day overhauled VRT and motor tax rules moving from one based on engine capacity to one based on CO2 emissions. Admittedly sales are down on diesels but while we wait for electric to be fully practical to the everyday driver and put to bed range anxiety, diesel has a place for those drivers trying to keep costs down on high mileage driving.

A comprehensively revised 120hp 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine joins the Honda Civic petrol range already launched, offering an outstanding combination of performance and efficiency. Honda has made significant improvements to the engine and the exhaust system to maximise real world performance. The efficiency enhancements for the new Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC result in provisional fuel economy and CO2 emissions starting from 3.7 l/100 km (76.3 mpg)* and 99g/km (under the updated NEDC test)*.

There’s no diesel badge on the back of this Civic so no way in identifying it from the petrol models and only a small tell-tale rattle from the diesel engine. It’s very quiet at idle and only those really listening intently would know it’s a diesel. Unless you pointed it out I’d be confident enough to say most passengers wouldn’t know if it was a petrol or diesel model they were in. Plant your foot to the floor on take-off and higher those revs and yes you can tell you’re in a diesel but cruise along with effortless pulling power and the Civic diesel performs brilliantly.
Honda states that its new 1.6 i-DTEC is also one of the first engines to be officially tested through the Real Driving Emission (RDE) procedure to validate NOx and particulate emission levels. The diesel powertrain has a new NOx Storage Converter (NSC) system with a higher density cell improving NOx emission performance. According to Honda a silver thin-coated particulate filter improves the combustion speed of particulate matter, extending exhaust component durability.

2018 Civic i-DTEC Diesel

The 1.6 i-DTEC engine drives very smoothly with a great driving position and going through the six-speed manual gearbox it produces 120hp at 4,000 rpm and 300 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm, powering the Civic from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.5 seconds. It has plenty of pulling power and cruises with motorway driving a real pleasure due to its ride quality. If you read our review on the petrol model you’ll remember we were a fan of the exterior styling. The front end is broad and bold and makes the car distinctive. With some of the angles and bulges on this car it gives quite a sporty look to what is a family car and we think it’s a huge improvement on the outgoing ninth generation model.
The interior stays the same on the diesel model with the main instrument dials being displayed on a large digital screen ahead of the driver and present information clearly. The dash is presented smartly with an array of quality materials used. In the centre console there is a seven-inch Honda Connect colour touchscreen. It’s both simple and easy to use and offers enhanced intuitive operation and full smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music from the touch-screen or by voice using Apple’s Siri commands for example. Android Auto is compatible with Android 5.0 and higher.

2018 Civic i-DTEC Diesel

The front is roomy and legroom is good for those in the rear also but headroom is tight for taller passengers. It’s a tight squeeze to get three across the back seats but the same is true for the competition in this segment. Driving position is good ergonomically and the steering wheel is sized just right. As this new Civic is longer and wider it’s now more practical too with good storage compartments and a 478 litre boot space. That’s made up of 414 litres above the floor and the rest in a hidden cubby underneath. That is very large for this class of car.
The Honda Civic range starts from €23,750 for a 1.0-litre turbo petrol, while the new Civic 1.6-litre diesel goes on sale from €25,550. The Civic Diesel is available in four trims: Smart (from €25,550), Smart Plus (from €27,950), Premium (from €31,950) and Premium Plus (from €33,450). Standard equipment includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment, Bluetooth, parking sensors, auto air con and 16″ alloys.

Yes, diesel might no longer be the fuel of the future, but it’s probably the best choice for those seeking efficiency today and for the foreseeable. Honda has worked to make this engine cleaner with maintenance-free NOx that doesn’t require AdBlue top-ups and is the best option in the current Civic line-up in my opinion. If a diesel fits your needs then buy with confidence and ignore the naysayers.

Technical Specification
Model: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC
Engine Size: 1.6-litre four-cylinder
Fuel Type: Diesel
Power: 120hp
Torque: 300Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 201 km/h
Consumption: 3.7/100km or 80.7 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 133g/km
Road Tax: €180 per year
Base Price: €25,550