Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
5 minute read
14 Nov 2014
3:00 pm

Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC put to the test

Mark Jones

I know I promised you at full road test of our long term Honda Civic Hatch 1.6 i-DTEC for Wednesday 29 October.

But thanks to the lovely state of our roads, especially after a spell of summer rain, our Honda had more square and battered wheels than it did have round ones.

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And this was making the normal pleasant driving experience of the Civic a rather unpleasant wobbly one. So unfortunately we had to wait for the 18 inch sport alloy wheels to be repaired and fitted back to the car before I could make a booking for Gerotek and strap my Racelogic VBOX test equipment to the Honda.

Now obviously this is not a high performance type test. You are never going to look at this car for outright hot hatch type performance. The soon to be released Civic Type R will be taking care of these needs for the performance junkies. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine has a displacementof only 1597cc, a compression ratio of 16:1 which produces a moderate 88kW of power at 4 000rpm and healthy maximum torque of 300Nm at 2000rpm.

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What these figures do translate into is a car that is very easy to drive on a daily basis, with you not having to make much use of the six-speed manual gearbox once up and going on the open road. The 300Nm of torque makes for early gear changes and a relaxed attitude all round. If there is a complaint I have with the car, and this is the only one, it is that I would like to see a decent automatic transmission being offered to make it the absolute perfect everyday cruiser.

Log Book

  • Odo reading start:3 719km
  • Odo reading now:7 023km
  • Distance covered:3 304km
  • Fuel consumed:192.57litres
  • Total fuel cost:5.83 litres / 100 km
  • Ave cost / km:R0.79

And talking of perfect for everyday, this turbo diesel is only available in full house Executive grade and this means you get as standard leather and heated seats, Bluetooth, dual front, side and curtain airbags, VSA (Vehicle Stability Control) and Hill Start Assist, LED daytime running lights and reversing camera to go with the normal luxuries like electric windows all round and aircon to make travelling in the Civic an absolute pleasure and on par with anything the competition offers.

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What is also pleasant is trips to the petrol station. Well as pleasant as it can be when paying well over R13 for a litre of 50ppm diesel these days. Well at least here you should easily average less than 6.0 litres per 100km between fill ups. Our test average at the moment is sitting at 5.83 litres per 100km, but the last two tanks have seen this drop to the low 5.0s and I am sure this is where it will stay on a long term basis.

Obviously if you were to take this car on a nice long trip to the coast and back, this figure should improve even more. We never did unfortunately, but I doubt anybody will get the Civic down to its claimed average consumption figure of just 4.1 litres per 100km even on the open road at our national 120km/h speed limit.

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The engine has been specifically designed for European market requirements of high performance, excellent fuel economy and low emissions, attributes important to the South African market as well of course. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC is exclusively built at Honda’s European manufacturing facility in Swindon, UK, on a new purpose-built diesel engine production line. This line is capable of producing up to 500 diesel engines per day, equating to one engine every 138 seconds (based on a two-shift pattern).

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The turbo employed on the 1.6-litre i-DTEC is a fourth generation Garrett unit, which features variable-nozzle design. Furthermore, the turbo’s rotational speed is precisely controlled by the car’s electronic system, resulting in minimal turbo lag. With a maximum boost pressure of 1.5 bar, the turbo provides an optimal combination of low to mid-range pull and high-speed performance.

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Now back to our actual test session at Gerotek. Like I said already, this is a small 1.6 litre car with moderate power, but as impressive as it is on the road it is even more impressive against the clock. Our Civic came in better than claimed in all the road test numbers.

0-100km/h is done in 10.47 seconds, versus the claimed 10.6 seconds. The quarter mile sprint was done in 17.50 seconds at 128.68 km/h, the longer 1km done in 31.94 seconds at 164.14 km/h and the top speed was recorded at 211.83 km/h true at 3900 rpm in 6th gear, versus 202 km/h claimed.

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I can tell you that there are many other family orientated hatches on offer with more power that can’t keep up with the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC and certainly can’t match the low fuel consumption either. But it has to be said at R340 900 the Honda is by no means the best priced option on the market and you can get the likes of a VW Golf 2.0 TDI or Ford Focus 2.0 TDI for a good few thousand rand less.

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So if you are shopping within a strict budget and cant stretch your finances to consider the Honda that is fine, but if you can get there, then I would suggest you put the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC on your short list and go take it for a test drive, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find in terms of quality, feel and performance.

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The final instalment in this long term evaluation will be on Wednesday 26 November before we get our hands on the new Honda Accord for the December holidays.

Latest Road Test

  • Model: Honda Civic Hatch 1.6 i-DTEC
  • Gearbox: 6 Speed Manual Transmission
  • Engine: 1.6 litre Turbodiesel
  • Power: 88 kW @ 4 000 rpm
  • Torque: 300 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
  • Licensing Mass: 1 365 kg
  • Power to Weight: 64.469 kW / Tonne
  • Power to Capacity: 55.103 kW / Litre
  • 0-100 km/h: 10.47 Seconds
  • ¼ Mile: 17.50 Seconds @ 128.68 km/h
  • 1 Km: 31.94 Seconds @ 164.14 km/h
  • 60-100 km/h: 6.07 Seconds (in 3rd) / 7.65 Seconds (in 4th)
  • 80-120 km/h: 8.57 Seconds (in 4th) / 10.08 Seconds (in 5th)
  • 100-200 km/h: Not Available
  • True Top Speed: 211.83 km/h @ 3 900 rpm in 6th (Clock 220 km/h)
  • Fuel Consumption: 4.1 litres / 100 km Claimed (5.8 litres Test Average)
  • Fuel Tank Size: 50 litres
  • Fuel Range: 1 220 km Claimed (862 km On Test)
  • CO2 Emissions: 109 g/km
  • Warranty: 3 Years / 100 000 Km
  • Service / Maint Plan: 5 Years / 90 000 km Service Plan
  • Priced From: R340 900
  • Test Date: 7 November 2014