Honda’s 9-speed Civic pride

25 July 2018

HONDA has introduced an automatic version of its diesel-powered Civic family model for the first time.

At a time when several mainstream car companies are ditching diesels completely, Honda is launching a drive in the opposite direction.

The British-built hatchback sets new standards with an incredibly sophisticated nine-speed transmission coupled to the 1.6-litre oil-burning engine to achieve impressive economy of 70mpg.

Such a combination flies in the face of rivals whose main thrust is now towards electrification, with either hybrids or full electric arrangements.

Toyota, which also makes cars in the UK, announced recently that it will not be selling a single diesel model here by the end of the year.

However, it is increasingly believed that diesels are being unfairly targeted and that they may well prove to have a brighter future than was previously thought.

They are extremely economical, which means that motorists use less fuel, they produce virtually no CO2, and the newest models emit very low emissions of any kind at all.

The new Honda Civic 1.6-litre i-DTEC, which is also available in Turkish-made saloon form, has a very low CO2 figure of just 108g/km.

The car can accelerate to 60mph in 11 seconds and has a top speed of 125mph, which means that it cruises effortlessly in ninth gear at the motorway maximum.

The engine generates 120bhp of power and 300Nm of pulling power, so it is well suited to towing a trailer or caravan, especially as it has a particularly low-ratio first gear.

This endows the vehicle with a quick getaway before settling down to extremely relaxed and quiet cruising at low engine revs.

When slowing from higher speeds the gearbox can also skip gears automatically without having to run through them all sequentially.

For example, it can go directly from ninth gear to fifth without having to pass through eighth, seventh and sixth.

This gives an instant response for the driver when maximum acceleration is needed, or even when engine power is needed to aid braking.

The engine comes with a revised turbocharger which virtually eliminates turbo lag, and it also gets a NOx storage converter and silver-coated filtration system to further reduce particulate emissions.

The new diesel/automatic combination is available in all grades of trim and equipment, with prices ranging from £23,760 to £27,220.