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Honda’s evergreen Civic keeps getting better


IT’S been a couple of months since we took delivery of our now trusty Civic diesel, here at Autodealer. The last time we reported on the car we praised it for its superb fuel consumption and slick manual transmission. Another month has passed and the Civic continues to impress.

I made the mistake of parking the car under a rather infamous tree outside our office and when I went outside, the car looked like a Pablo Picasso piece; it was covered in bird doodle! A quick run to the carwash remedied this. I’ve been to the garage three times since we got the car and only once, was it to put in half a tank of go-go juice. The other two instances, I simply wanted the car doodle-free.

The running costs are truly impressive. When the car hit reserve, last month, I still drove home (42km) and back to work the next day, only putting in some 50ppm just before I arrived at the office. That means, we achieved around 1 300kms on a tank of diesel; truly remarkable and most certainly the most efficient car I’ve tested to date.

Now that Honda has launched the Civic Tourer I can only imagine that a diesel version is just about as complete as a car can get for everyday driving applications. At the moment we only get the 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol Tourer so the hatch will do me for now. I’ve also thought and salivated about a Civic Type R Tourer; there’s just something cool about a fast wagon, so let’s hope Honda makes one.

 I digress… we’ve clocked up around 1 500kms so far in the Civic and we have an extended trip planned where we’ll try and achieve some seriously impressive fuel consumption figures. I may even break out the tape and try out a proper fuel economy run. The aim of this is to see how frugal this car can be on extended journeys and whether the fairly hard ride compromises its cruising comfort.

The car has been enjoying a predominantly urban driving cycle which can cause fuel bills to escalate rather quickly. We’ve not seen a significant increase in consumption since switching to congested, urban driving. We have noticed the car appears to be very well suited to this environment.

While it boasts a decent amount of torque it’s the small turbocharger that helps most. It doesn’t take that long to spool up so there’s less lag than many other diesels and because the torque comes in early, I am able to shift lower in the rev range without sacrificing momentum.

In terms of comfort, I still think the ride is a bit on the hard side while that rear light - which obstructs rear vision - remains a problem that I haven’t managed to find a way around. The rest of the interior looks and feels very upmarket and while there’s a slightly gruff diesel engine note that pierces the cabin in the city, it quickly disappears when you get up into the higher gears and the car quietens down and is very well refined. The gearbox remains the highlight of the package. It’s a pleasure to swap the cogs and keep the car in its optimal torque band.

As we enter our third month with the car, we look forward to sharing our long distance trip with you. At the moment, if I’d purchased this car for myself, I’d be a very happy camper! Let’s see how it fares on the open road with some luggage and passengers.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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