24 Sep 2014

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC Review

Matt Hubbard reviews the 2014 Honda Civic Black Edition with the new diesel engine, the 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

It's hard to believe but the Honda Civic is on its 9th generation.  The first Civic was launched in 1972 which makes the Civic two years older than the VW Golf. This, the latest, has been around since 2011 but you would be forgiven for thinking it's been longer than that as it looks quite similar to the 2006 to 2011 8th gen.

Unlike its more staid competitors the Civic's design is rather striking and interesting. It looks futuristic and funky and suits the overall blackness of the Black Edition.  The body looks great from all angles, although the bulbous rear lights should have been reined in at the design stage.

The brake light slashed across the rear window looks great, but it does impact on rear visibility - something I'll return to later.  Generally the Black Edition looks good - take one decent looking hatchback and make everything black and it looks meaner than most.

On first glance the interior looks wonderful.  The split level dash dares to be different and it works, on all levels.  At the top is a digital speedo - it takes some getting used to, for the first couple of days with the car I kept looking down at the rev counter and then up to the speedo.
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

To the left of the speedo is the info screen.  It's not a touchscreen but the buttons and dials (conventionally placed in the centre of the dash) are intuitive and easy to use - you learn where everything is and what it does quickly.

The Civic Black Edition has DAB digital radio and Bluetooth which work well and sound great through the speakers.  It doesn't, however, have satnav, which is remiss in a £22k car.  Having said that satnav is an option in a Golf too.

There's a large space, and a USB point, under the armrest, cupholders next to the handbrake, decent sized door pockets and what can only be described as a normal sized glovebox.

The rear seats are quite spacious and comfortable.  Two six-footers can fit in them with ease but a third, sitting in the middle, has a big lump to sit on.

The boot is also quite big and is very deep.  Clever packaging means the floor goes down much lower than in any other hatch.  This is great for shopping bags and general space but terrible for dogs who sit so low they can't see out.

Get beyond the first glance and something nags about the interior.  Everything is plastic.  There is a teensy bit of aluminium edging but there's no leather or anything other premium material you would find in a European car.  Even the steering wheel is plastic.

The seats look good and feel great to sit in, even on a long journey, but the material isn't up to European standards. It looks hard wearing but attracts every tiny bit of dirt and fluff and clings on to it if you try and brush it away.
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

The Civic is started with a key.  The engine might be a diesel but it's a super-duper new one and it's super quiet too.  Quoted economy is 78.5mpg.  I was determined to try and match this, which would be difficult because most cars in real world conditions spectacularly fail to get anywhere near their official economy figures.

After a week with the car I managed 50mpg on short journeys of under 2 miles and 65mpg on a motorway run with some A and B-roads at each end.  This is seriously impressive.

What's also impressive is the way the engine operates.  118bhp might not sound much but with 221lb ft of torque it pulls the Civic around in quite a sprightly fashion.  I was never left wanting for more power, apart from when looking to overtake in a relatively short distance.

The manual gearbox is a peach too.  It's precise and slick, as you'd expect from a Honda.

The chassis is great.  The Civic rides well over rough surfaces but it also turns into corners with accuracy and with a decent amount of steering feel and feedback.

On the motorway it's an easy cruiser.  It's quiet and refined, the seats and driving position are more than acceptable, economy is great and the digital radio signal is strong.

On twisty back roads it's almost a hot hatch, the engine's torque is plentiful and the steering and chassis make for lots of fun.  I think I managed to cock an inside rear wheel through one particularly sharp corner.

The Civic Black Edition does have a few failings though.

It lacks some features which I'd expect as standard.  There's no satnav or cruise control and neither the lights nor windscreen wipers have an automatic setting.  You might think I'm splitting hairs here but in 2014 Honda needs to fit them as standard, as much of the competition does.
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

That split rear window is something of an issue.  At first you notice it in the rear view mirror, then, when you need to reverse, you realise it seriously impedes visibility.  After a while with the car it starts to get annoying.  Yes, it does look good on the outside but the impact on visibility is too much,  add in the narrowing rear windows and over-the-shoulder visibility is terrible.

Overall the Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC is a cracking little car that handles well, has a great engine, looks good and feels like it'll last forever. It's a pity some aspects aren't quite up to scratch but if you bought one and lived with it for some time you'd probably forgive it because the good outweighs the bad by some margin.

Stats:


Price - £22,460
Engine - 4-cylinder, 1.6, turbodiesel
Transmission - 6-speed manual
0-62mph - 10.5 seconds
Top Speed - 129mph
Power - 118bhp
Torque - 221lb ft
Economy - 78.5mpg
CO2 - 94g/km
Kerb Weight - 1,428kg

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC
2014 Honda Civic Black Edition 1.6 i-DTEC