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The new diesel version of the Civic takes fuel efficiency to the next level and offers flexible performance with a few extras. It's sure to appeal to business buyers.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Honda Sensing, full
leather upholstery, vehicle stability assist, tyre
Petrol: 129hp 1.0, 180hp 1.5
S, SE, SR, EX
While it is arguably not the fuel of the future, what is for certain is that diesel is the fuel of the here and now, especially for fleets. That is why Honda has decided to release a diesel version of its Civic.
This new 1.6-litre, four-cylinder diesel joins the petrol-powered 1.0 and 1.5-litre variants that were launched last year,as well as the Type R. All of these models have provided stiff competition for their rivals in their segments.
The truth is, diesels have never been greener, and this one is no different. Thanks to the newengine, it is far more fuel-efficient than the old Civic, emits less CO2 and NOX, and is of course Euro-6-compliant.
Business as usual
Luckily, many business buyers opted to wait for the diesel for these reasons, knowing that only diesel will give them the economy they are looking for. Honda expects a 33/67 split in favour of business buyers and claims the engine offers a very strong 80.7mpg.
The car achieves a combined 93g/km of CO2, considerably lower than its 1.0-litre petrol counterpart, which emits 117g/km.
Notable revisions to the diesel include pistons made from forged steel and a reworked exhaust system, and these amendments have clearly done their job; mpg figures are right up there at the top of the class, even trumping the equivalent VW Golf and Seat Leon.
Standing out from the crowd
Since the launch of the new Civic range, we have reached the conclusion that its sporty and distinctive exterior design sets it apart from its bland competitors - the sporty blue colour of our test car really makes it stand out from the crowd.
The design also continues in the interior of the exec-level trim we drove. This is the highest spec of the three trims, which also include entry-level S, and mid-level SE and SR. The EX trim boasts a high-tech feel, and a simple-to-use infotainment system and sat-nav.
This trim also features keyless entry, leather interior and heated front seats. It can be fitted with an optional £600 Tech pack that includes LED head and fog lights, wireless phone charging and heated rear seats.
To make up for being more expensive than the petrol version (around £1,300 more, in fact) the diesel had to offer something a bit special over many of its direct rivals and the other engines in the sector. For this, Honda chose a higher torque output. Where the 1.6-litre engine in the Golf and Leon put 250Nm under the driver's right foot, the Civic's engine produces 300Nm.
Despite such strong output figures, the engine delivers potent and flexible performance without becoming too coarse and noisy. Honda says this is due to the platform engineering and exterior design, which delivers interior quietness and refinement through a noise, vibration and harshness management system.
A good performer
Although the diesel isn't the most exciting car in the range, it is very capable. Its suspension feels compliant and well controlled on uneven road surfaces. The steering is light at low speeds but weights up nicely as speeds increase, giving it a secure and planted feel on the motorway. Being a Honda, the clutch is light and the manual gearbox is particularly precise.
The Civic remains a viable competitor in its sector and the addition of the diesel engine is another feather to its cap.
The excellent economy alone makes it an appealing prospect for business buyers, and although it may not be a popular opinion, we think the diesel is the one to have.
Low CO2 and NOX, impressive looks, comfortable drive, good gearbox.
More expensive than the petrol but not very exciting.