What is it?
It’s the first diesel Civic of this generation, and simultaneously presents as a warm-ish hatch and a fuel-sipping economy warrior. It could be both, though that would be some trick to pull off.
Honda offered a 1.6-litre turbodiesel in the previous Civic – this same all-aluminium engine, in fact – though ‘comprehensive revisions’ have seen the pistons strengthened and the cylinder head lightened for this application, and there are now lower-friction cylinder bores.
It means while power and torque remain unchanged, at 118bhp and 221lb ft, the claimed fuel economy has risen a fraction to more than 80mpg, with carbon dioxide emissions of 93g/km. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have been reduced, too, which Honda says is largely down to lower combustion temperatures and the fitment of a new NOx storage converter.
It’s an engine that joins 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol siblings as the solitary oil-burner in the Civic line-up, though as far as the company is concerned, reports of diesel’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Honda confidently expects this new unit to be over-represented on the road, featuring in four out of every ten of the cars sold.
We've previous sampled the 1.6 i-DTEC abroad, but this was our first chance to see how the changes fared on UK roads. Our test car was delivered in top-spec EX trim, with leather seats, LED headlights, keyless entry, a sunroof and a 465-watt sound system with 11 speakers. Cars in this spec also get Honda’s Dynamic Damper Control system, which we’ll come onto in a moment.