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Honda Civic 2.2 iCDTi S

11/24/2006

Honda Civic
WHEN Honda designers set about transforming the old, ageing, predictable Civic, few would have dreamt they could have come up with something as futuristic as this.

But in Honda's case the dream has come true, perhaps reflecting the marque's maxim "The Power of Dreams".

And judging by the impact the reborn Civic had on my neighbours and friends, it will definitely be a winner.

For the vehicle caused more of a stir among them than possibly any other I have driven in recent months.

I do, however, have some concerns. I can't get used to the bold, black bar across the rear window.

It looks good from the outside and the plastic area below it is designed to cope with splashed of mud and grime, leaving the rear window clear.

But while it may well work very impressively in practice, but when you come to look through your rear view mirror, your vision is definitely impeded.

I thought I would get used to it, but I didn't and it certainly won't be to everyone's taste.

Additionally, the futuristic dashboard is, at first, undoubtedly very impressive.

But it began to remind me of the fairground game machines which can cost you a fortune if you become addicted to playing them. You know the sort, you sit behind a steering wheel and drive a virtual reality road.

I began to wonder if it was, perhaps, too much of a thing. In a couple of years time, will it look just a little cheap and tacky?

Perhaps I am being picky. In 30 years time we almost certainly wont be driving around in vehicles like Hondas Civic. But for now, it is arguably more futuristic than just about anything else on the road.

It drives effortlessly and quietly. It never sounds quite like a diesel. Under acceleration the turbocharger can be heard whooshing in as an accompaniment.

But the sound is not loud enough to present a problem and there is little road and wind noise in the cabin, leaving you with the impression that you are gliding smoothly.

The car is powered by Honda's renowned 138bhp 2.2-litre i-CDTi common-rail injection diesel engine.

The same engine has already appeared in other Honda models, notably the Accord, where its refinement and linear power delivery saw it hailed as one of the most petrol-like diesels ever produced.

Honda claim an impressive 55.4mpg combined fuel consumption figure for the Civic and CO2 emissions of 135g/km will also make company car users sit up and take notice.

The engine has smooth pulling power from low in the rev range, with 251lb/ft of torque being produced at 2,000rpm.

Overall, there's no doubt the Civic is a great-looking car and a real head-turner, reflecting Honda designers pulling out all the stops to make this car different.

Inside, there is a daunting array of buttons and digital displays that make you instinctively feel like reaching to the owners manual, but it is actually quite straight forward.

The information you need is laid out in two tiers with the digital speedo and optional satellite navigation system located near the base of the windscreen so your eyes don't have to stray from the road ahead. The rev counter, fuel gauge and trip computer are lower in a more conventional instrument binnacle.

There's plenty of space in both the front and rear, with good head and shoulder room. The driving seat offers good, effective vision, apart from the bar across the back windscreen.

And the boot is surprisingly large, given the trim shape of the car.

The question now is how quickly the ground-breaking look will age. However, Honda's rivals have some way to go to even catch up.

FAST FACTS

Honda Civic 2.2 iCDTi S 5dr

Price : £15,130

Mechanical : 138bhp, 2,204cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed : 127mph

0-62mph : 8.6 secs

Combined mpg : 55.4

Insurance group : 10

C02 emissions : 135g/km

BiK rating : 18%

Warranty : 3yrs/ 90,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust

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Honda Civic 2.2 iCDTi S
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