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Driven: Honda Civic 9AT. Image by Honda UK.

Driven: Honda Civic 9AT
Nine gears on your wagon, if you want, courtesy of the new automatic Honda Civic diesel.

   



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Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC 9AT

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Good points: new automatic suits the i-DTEC's power delivery, Civic Mk10 remains an excellent C-segment hatch in all guises

Not so good: the interior is still not going to blow anyone's socks off for finishing, exterior styling not to all tastes, Hondas are on the pricey side, manual i-DTEC is just better

Key Facts

Model tested: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT
Price: Civic range from 20,245; 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT from 26,620, as tested
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: nine-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 109g/km (VED Band 101-110: 145 in year one, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 68.9mpg
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Power: 120hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 300Nm from 2,000rpm
Boot space: 478-1,267 litres

Our view:

A super-short one here, as this vehicle is merely Honda adding a nine-speed automatic transmission to its rather excellent Civic i-DTEC hatchback, this being a gearbox which has been in service since the 2015 facelift of the previous-generation CR-V. In every other respect, the Civic Mk10 hasn't changed: it's the same divisive looks outside (we likey, plenty of others no likey), the same largely high-quality interior with just a few dashes of ergonomic and aesthetic oddness (such as the hard-to-read part-octagon fuel and engine temp dials in the cluster) and the same excellent chassis, which is teamed - in this instance - to the smooth and decently punchy turbodiesel engine, instead of one of the two VTEC Turbo petrol units.

So should you go for the automatic? Well, it's a tricky one. Objectively, it's a fine gearbox that suits the power delivery of the 120hp 1.6-litre diesel lump and, in the case of this Civic, it never seemed like the car was hunting for ratios or needlessly changing gear too many times. We drove it nearly 210 miles, almost exclusively on two-lane country A- and B-roads, so hardly conducive to great economy, and saw back almost 42mpg overall with a best of 48.4mpg being most reasonable from its one, part-dual-carriageway foray. We also like the button pad shift mechanism, which doesn't (yet) seem too gimmicky and which has already been used to good effect in the latest-gen CR-V Hybrid, as well as the slightly more niche NSX supercar.

Nevertheless, adding it to the i-DTEC lobs 1,650 onto the price of the car and it also puts the boot into economy, emissions and acceleration numbers - the manual i-DTEC, blessed with one of the best six-speed manual shifts in the business, achieves bests of 80.7mpg, 93g/km of CO2 output and a 9.8-second 0-62mph sprint, while the same figures for the 9AT model are 68.9mpg, 109g/km and 11 seconds. We most definitely thought the i-DTEC felt a little more sluggish around the rev counter if you asked it for meaningful acceleration (more than half-throttle, say) and the fact the manual i-DTEC is such a good car to drive means we don't think the automatic is worth the extra outlay. Unless you're a regular town driver who encounters heavily congested traffic, or you simply must have an automatic because of licence-related or physical reasons, we'd recommend sticking with the six-speed Civic diesel.

Alternatives:

Hyundai i30 Fastback: rakish-looking version of the i30 has a sloping rear like the Civic, but is a standalone model in the Hyundai family. It's interestingly different, yet not exactly ground-breaking.

Renault Megane: stylish appearance of the Megane makes it an attractive choice, although it doesn't drive anything like as sweetly as the Honda.

Skoda Octavia: masses of space and some epic drivetrains on offer in the brilliant Skoda, although we will bang on and on AND ON about how bad that midlife, quad-headlights facelift was. Gah.


Matt Robinson - 18 Dec 2018



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2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.

2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.2018 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX 9AT. Image by Honda UK.








 

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