Honda's new diesel Civic defies the scaremongers
Hatchback is more fuel-efficient and cleaner, writes Martin Brennan
There is life in diesel yet many major car makers believe. And Honda is one of the importers with high expectations of interest in its new revised low emission 1.6-litre diesel engine which is now on sale here in the Civic hatchback.
Levels of interest in diesel power have dipped since the emissions scandal and figures for January show sales have dipped by 17pc compared with last year. But with used-car sales possibly rising by 20pc and home-grown sales dipping by 10pc, there is a strong possibility that the growing interest in oil burners will be reflected in import registrations. So expect to see more oil burners on our roads.
Some estimates predict that new car sales could fall by as much as 10pc this year and - while there is great emphasis in hybrid models - the government plan to have only zero emission cars on sale by 2030 is a warning to all that a hammer blow to our buying habits is on the cards.
But Honda is confident the revised 1.6-litre I-DTEC will win friends because of the lower levels of CO2 and NOx emissions. A more lively response from the 120bhp can see a sprint time of just over 10 seconds from 0-100/km, while the CO2 emissions under the updated NEDC test conditions are down to 93g/km when mated with the six-speed manual transmission.
Honda says that the inclusion of a new turbo-charger and stop-start technology helps to bring fuel consumption figures up to a very efficient 3.5L/100km (80mpg) in mixed driving, with very good urban consumption figures as the injection system operates at a very high pressure for a more efficient combustion.
Honda's new engine is one of the first to be officially tested through the Real Driving Emission procedure to validate NOx and particulate emission levels. The power train has a NOx storage converter system with a high processing density which enables faster conversion. Real Driving Emission tests measure the pollutants such as NOx emitted by cars while driven on the road.
Prices for the Civic diesel, which now boasts more interior space, start at €25,550 and there are four trim levels to choose from. All levels include Honda Sensing, which incorporates a high level of safety features including collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and intelligent adaptive cruise control.