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Featured in the February 2013 issue

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A relatively late entrant to the competitive diesel market, Honda has just added a class leading engine to its popular Civic range.

The new Civic 1.6 i-DTEC combines 120ps with CO2 emissions of just 94g/km, meaning zero road tax under current legislation, and a combined fuel economy of over 78mpg. This gives it a performance and efficiency combination that instantly outflanks everything else in the family car C-segment.

This engine is the first in a new family of ‘Earth Dreams Technology’ power units, with more to follow as the entire engine range is renewed over the next few years. While being ultra economical, Honda is keen to stress that this is not at the expense of responsiveness and overall driver enjoyment.

Honda has always chosen to focus on refinement – or Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). The 1.6 i-DTEC is no exception, being exceptionally quiet once running and offering high levels of refinement and drivability.

With 120ps 0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds, not especially rapid. However, in real world driving conditions the availability of 221lb ft of torque at just 2,000rpm means progress is effortless and the car makes for an excellent cruiser.

DRIVING APPEAL
The engine is 47kg lighter than the 2.2 version, the lightest of its class; this directly affects handling along with improving economy. The gearbox is all-new, specific to the 1.6 model, with a light action. It is beautifully weighted and mechanically precise, just what you would expect from Honda.

The Civic is the most practical conventional family car choice on the market. It has a huge 477-litre boot, that’s around 100 litres more space than any rival. The ‘magic seat’ rear seat setup offers great rear legroom and fold-flat and flip-up options add to the car’s versatility.

The official fuel economy calculation is a high 78.5mpg. 94g/km also means zero road tax at present. In terms of safety, the current Civic comfortably achieved five stars when Euro NCAP tested it earlier in 2012.

HIGH LEVELS OF STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Equipment is good throughout the range. Standard features on the range-topping EX include sat nav, leather seats and front and rear parking sensors. However, even the £19,400 entry-level SE model gets climate control, Bluetooth, a USB socket and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The mid-spec ES for just over £1,000 more adds cruise control, a rear camera and automatic headlights, and ups the speaker count to six. All models get a comprehensive list of safety kit, including hill-start assist and six airbags.

The Honda Civic now has a great British-built diesel engine. The new model is available to test drive at your local Vertu Honda dealership.

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