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Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC 120hp

Date: 31 January 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

Was Honda's diesel engine worth the wait?
Standard equipment: Honda Sensing, full leather upholstery, vehicle stability assist, tyre pressure monitoring
Petrol: 129hp 1.0, 180hp 1.5
Diesel: 120hp 1.6
Trims: S, SE, SR, EX
Transmissions: six-speed manual

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-litre and 1.5-litre variants that were launched last year - as well as the Type R - all of which have provided stiff competition for their rivals. 

Greener engine   

Truth is, diesels have never been greener, and this one is no different. Thanks to the new diesel engine, it is far more fuel-efficient than the old Civic, emits less CO2 and NOx, and is of course Euro 6 compliant.

Luckily, many business buyers opted to wait for the diesel for these reasons, knowing that only this fuel 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.  

124989_2018_Civic _i _DTEC_Diesel (1)

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 car 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.

Individual styling 

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 we drove it in really makes it stand out from the crowd.

The design also continues on the interior of the Exec-level trim we drove (the most exclusive 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, heated front seats, and can be fitted with an optional £600 Tech pack that includes LED head and fog lights, wireless phone charging and heated rear seats.

124998_2018_Civic _i _DTEC_Diesel

On the road

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 on offer in the sector. For this, it 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 noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) management. 

125000_2018_Civic _i _DTEC_Diesel

Although the diesel version isn't the most exciting of the range, it is very capable. Its suspension felt compliant and well-controlled on uneven road surfaces and the steering was 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.

Luckily, the Civic remains a more-than-suitable competitor in its range and the addition of the diesel engine adds another feather to its cap. The excellent economy alone makes it an even more appealing prospect for business buyers and although it may not be a popular opinion, the diesel is the one to have. 

Honda Civic i-DTec 120hp Ex 6spd manual

P11D Price: £24,750
On sale: March 2018
Residual value: 32.6% - all stats to one decimal place
Depreciation: £16,675
Fuel: £4,170
Service, maintenance & repair: £1,748
Cost-per-mile: 52.9p
Fuel consumption: 80.7mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 93g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £70/£140
Boot space: 414 litres
Engine size/power: 1,597cc/120hp



  • Low CO2 and NOx, impressive looks, comfortable drive, good gearbox
  • More expensive than the petrol, not very exciting