2012 Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC review adn pictures

Informations Specifications Modifications Image Review Honda Civic 2.2 i-DTEC (2012)
What is it?

New 2012 Honda Civic. Now only available as a five door, but still looking slightly crazy and futuristic compared to other hatchbacks.

Technical highlights?

The big news suspension-wise is in the fluid-filled compliance bushes, which improve the ride quality. The torsion beam rear axle (it�s MacPherson struts, as you�d imagine, at the front) is also now stiffer than the previous generation Type-R�s.

What�s it like to drive?

Well the first thing to say is that � if you�re keen on the idea of a Civic - you should buy the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel. That might sound like sacrilege when you have the alternative option of an petrol engine with the letters VTEC in its name, but sadly the thrashy 148bhp 1.8-litre petrol is just too gutless to make driving it enjoyable. The diesel isn�t a corker in terms of refinement, but it will at least get you up a mild incline without multiple downshifts, and throttle response is good.

As you�d expect, a standard chassis Civic is not going to set the performance world on fire. Having said that, the ride is pleasingly supple without feeling wallowy (although it struggles slightly through bigger suspension movements at speed), the steering is engagingly direct and overall it feels nicely judged. The pedals are well spaced too and the manual gearshift is relatively close across the gate, so if you found yourself on a decent bit of road it certainly wouldn�t be horribly frustrating. Most importantly, it should ride well on British roads too.

On the Road: Good, but not as good as I expected

I'm a big fan of Honda's gasoline engines, and I had high hopes for their diesel. But after driving the Civic, I'm thinking I may have set my hopes a little too high. Let's talk about what the i-CTDi does well: It's very powerful, and the power comes on strong from about 1,500 RPM thanks to the variable-nozzle turbocharger. (Disclaimer: The Civic was loaned to me by Honeywell, which developed the i-CTDi's turbocharger. But that's not why I'm talking about it -- the turbo really is the best part of the engine.) For comparison, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI -- which has a variable-nozzle turbo made by Borg-Warner -- doesn't start to build up power until 2,500 RPM. A thousand RPM may not seem like much, but since most diesels -- including the Honda and the VW --only rev to 4,500 RPM or so, the early boost makes a big difference. Also impressive: Cold starting. Overnight temps were in the low teens Fahrenheit during my week with the Civic. Every morning I'd turn the key, wait for the glow plugs to cycle (4 or 5 seconds), then hit the start button, and it would fire right up. Once -- well, okay, twice -- I forgot to wait for the glow plugs and the engine still started right up, running roughly for a few seconds then settling down to a clattery idle.
Downsides: The i-CTDi is noisier than the European diesels I've driven; it sounded like I was being tailed by a Super Duty pickup. And the exhaust smell frequently wafted into the car, something that didn't happen with the Jetta TDI or the Mercedes Bluetec. (To be fair, those cars are US-emissions compliant; the Civic i-CTDi isn't.)

And the handling?

The new Civic rides compliantly � thanks to fluid-filled suspension bushes. It�s also planted through tighter corners thanks to a stiffer torsion beam at the rear, and rarely feels unruffled. Yet the ride can get slightly busy over high frequency undulations and broken tarmac. The overall feeling is smooth and refined, but drivers are insulated from the action and ultimately the experience lacks engagement.


The new Civic makes a strong case for itself if you value something different from the obvious Euro-boxes. Ubiquity has dulled the impact of its predecessor, but there�s still an appealing package to be had in the new Civic. And the premium-feel shines through in this new model, particularly the upmarket cabin. Some of the innovations, including the magic rear seats are genuinely useful, too.
Detractors might bemoan a lack of fizz and slightly awkward styling, but in 2.2 diesel form, this Anglo-Jap concoction appeals in its own offbeat way. The oil-burner is priced at a heady �26,495 in the top-line EX GT guise tested though, which nudges BMW 318d territory. Being a bit more parsimonious on spec would certainly lessen the shock at trade-in time.
However, square a more mildly-specced oil-burning Civic up to a Golf 2.0 TDI and it makes a better case for itself � it�s a touch gruntier and there�s a more generous 90,000-mile warranty on offer. Ultimately though, fans of the current Civic expecting another exponential leap forward in design, might feel short-changed by this latest iteration.

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