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Space Age Hatchback – The Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC

Now in its ninth generation, the Civic has been Honda’s most successful car. Radical on the outside and futuristic on the inside, the new Honda Civic is still one of the most distinctive cars around. 

When it first launched the Civic was like nothing else on the road, is was sharp, angular and bold. The controversial styling remains but the new Civic is lower and wider than before and while this softens the sharpness it also gives it a more dynamic profile. Radical on the outside and futuristic on the inside, the Civic is still one of the most distinctive cars around. 

Test Car
Under the bonnet, there is a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine. Our test car was the 2.2 diesel. It is fast, frugal, refined and manages to output 110kW (140bhp) while emitting a mere 110g/km of CO2.  The two petrol engines included in the range are the 1.4 and 1.8. A 1.6-litre diesel is due early next year. 

On the Road
This powerful diesel offers great acceleration and performance. Handling is now sharper while ride quality has improved enormously. Changes to the front suspension and steering are noticeable on the road there is a significant improvement in road holding although steering feedback could be better. The six speed gear box is smooth and on the motorway there is plenty of torque. Road noise is audible but never intrusive. In addition changes to the overall design of the car have reduced wind resistance and in doing so has improved fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

 Economy
A 1.6 diesel joins the ranks in 2013 but until then the 2.2 is the only diesel option. It offers incredible value and economy boasting more than 4.2 litres/100km and with emissions of 110g/km it is in the A motor tax band. There are a host of driver aids to maximize economy such as Eco Assist and economy mode. The ECON switch when activated allows the car’s management system to adopt specific settings to improve fuel consumption. It does so without affecting overall safety levels or the general usability of the car.

Radical on the outside and futuristic on the inside

Interior
Inside the interior is in sharp contrast to the current trend for minimalist simplicity that dominates most car interiors. It is futuristic and distinctive. The large digital speedometer dominates the dash. Clever material use coupled with a functional yet finely crafted layout means the cabin is top quality throughout. Legroom is good for two adults in the rear but the sloping roof gives the overall impression of less room than is actually available in the front and a cramped feeling in the back. Previous complaints about rear vision have been improved by lowering the spilt in the back window and providing a wiper.  While there is an improvement, rear vision is still somewhat compromised. Honda’s ingenious “Magic Seats” have been retained from the previous version. They fold in a variety of ways add an extra dimension and flexibility to the interior. Space and storage throughout is excellent and inside the boot there is a double floor which allows for even more function and practicality.

 Verdict
 The styling may be somewhat muted since the previous version but the Civics distinctive and controversial look remains. Inside there has been no compromise and it is futuristic and radical .  Handling , economy and performance all are improved and equipped with the 2.2 i-DTEC engine this is the best Civic to date with one of the most powerful diesels in this sector. Still light years ahead of the competition in terms of styling there is a lot to like about the new Civic.

 Competitors:  Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium , Opel Astra 2.0 CDTi Elite, Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTD

 Why you’ll buy one? Engineering; Reliability; Radical Styling

 Why you won’t? Radical Styling; Rear visibility

 Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC ES 5-door

 Engine: 2199cc, 110kW at 4,000rpm, 350 Nm at 2000-2750rpm 

Max speed: 217 kms 

0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds 

Emissions (motor tax): 110g/km (€ 160) 

Starting price: €21,395 

Model price range: €21,395 – €28,825  (Test car  €25,820) 

No of Doors:  5 

Euro NCAP:

Fuel type:  Diesel 

Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.2 litres per 100 km 

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