Tested: Honda Civic iDTEC

The individual look

In a perfect world, we’d all drive the same car. Wait, did I just type perfect? I meant imperfect. One of the greatest luxuries we have is choice, the ability to indulge our individual tastes. You drive a Golf, he drives a Focus, she drives a Hyundai and I’ve got a Civic.

Well, I did for about a week and thank Goodness someone just gave me the keys. If you’d hand me a pile of money and ask me to buy a C-segment hatchback, I’d probably buy a crimson Giulietta. If I’d actually earned the pile myself, chances are good that I wouldn’t return at all.

…a full-blown, bare-knuckle, flying-furniture barroom brawl.

I’ll blame my sudden absence on fight or flight syndrome, the latter being a better option as competition in this class has boiled over into a full-blown, bare-knuckle, flying-furniture barroom brawl. Experts label Volkswagen’s new Golf as the benchmark and I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

That is, if it weren’t for our entire office approving of the smooth new Astra and crisp Megane. We like the Hyundai i30 too because it offers no-frills value, much like the Auris. The new Civic isn’t very affordable or quite as zany as it forebear but its stand-out looks can match the Alfa for individualism.

Park a new Civic hatchback in your local mall’s multi-storey and you certainly won’t have a problem locating it again. Plonk an i30 or Golf owner into your Honda and they will either recoil in disgust or stare with sheer disbelief at the multi-level, hyper-modern layout.

Main controls like pedals, steering wheel, gear lever and indicator are still where you’d expect them so the buckshot button placement is merely something new owners will have to get accustomed to. The audio system and ventilation controls are reasonably intuitive and there’s lots of storage space.

This top-spec i-DTEC Exclusive model had a more comprehensive central display for audio and vehicle information than the one we fiddled with in our long-term 1.8 i-VTEC earlier this year. The thick-rimmed, adjustable steering wheel also features cruise control, Bluetooth, audio and trip computer buttons.

Other standard items include leather seats (front heated), panoramic roof, power windows and mirrors, auto lights and wipers, park sensors all-round, Aux/ipod jack, subwoofer, alloy pedals, Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys and 60/40 split rear “Magic” contorting seats.

Safety items are ABS brakes with emergency assist and force distribution, stability control, remote central locking, tyre pressure warning, six airbags, alarm, immobiliser, ISOFIX anchors and auto-locking doors. All Civics have a 3-year/100,000km warranty and 5-year/90,000km service plan.

The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 110kW (150hp) or 350Nm to reach 100km/h in 8.7 seconds and v-max of 216km/h through a crisp 6-speed manual gearbox. CO2 emissions are just 124g/km and average consumption should be around 5.7L/100km from the 50L tank – we can confirm both.

There’s also an ECON mode for fuel misers but we found that its effects on the car’s dynamics prompt more full throttle in daily traffic, negating its benefits. Civics also have plenty of cargo carrying ability with their fantastic rear seats which increase the generous 467L boot space to an amazing 1,200L.

Other stuff we can mention is that this Civic has a great turning radius, mediocre rear visibility, decent grip and handling but a rather choppy ride, disappointing high beams and a wonderfully even power delivery from its comparatively quiet and smooth Diesel engine.

Worth a look? Absolutely.

The privilege of owning a Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC Exclusive will cost you N$356,400 complete with 3-year/100,000km warranty and 5-year/90,000km service plan.  Is it better than a Golf? No. Cheaper than a Hyundai? No. As refreshing as a Guilietta? Yes. Worth a look? Absolutely.


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