Honda Civic 1.7 CDTi SE

28/10/2004 in Fleet Cars, Company Car Reviews, General

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" ANYONE who has seen Honda’s latest TV advertising campaign could be forgiven for thinking that until Honda discovered i-CTDi and put it in the Accord earlier this year, all diesels were filthy machines destroying the planet. "
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On Sale Year: 2004
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ANYONE who has seen Honda’s latest TV advertising campaign could be forgiven for thinking that until Honda discovered i-CTDi and put it in the Accord earlier this year, all diesels were filthy machines destroying the planet.

The TV ads in which fluffy bunnies and other creatures are seen destroying a squadron of noisy, smelly diesels, seem to ignore PSA Peugeot-Citroen and its pioneering work with particulate filters, Volkswagen Group’s exceptional expertise in improving performance and fuel economy and Toyota’s recent achievement with the Avensis D-CAT which is still the cleanest diesel car on the planet. However, Honda seemed to tap into a growing perception among the retail-buying public that diesels are very different from the engines in service a decade ago – something that fleet customers have been aware of for some time.

Honda must be hoping that while its 2.2-litre i-CTDi engine is rolled out in the FR-V and CR-V next year, some of this positive campaigning will rub off on the Civic.

Fresh from a mid-term facelift, the Civic range has offered the 1.7 CTDi engine since 2002. As the Accord’s i-CTDi was Honda’s first foray into the world of diesel – remarkable for a company that produces more than 10 million engines a year – the Civic’s motor was sourced from elsewhere (Isuzu) and after some fettling from Honda was agreed to be suitable for sale in a Civic.

Thus fitted, it transformed the Civic into a great diesel car with class-leading fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. But the world of diesel moves with exceptional speed and while the Civic 1.7 CTDi is still good, it is no longer pace setting.

Other diesel cars in the 100-110bhp class are able to match or better its official fuel consumption figure. They often achieve Euro IV emissions compliance into the bargain, thus ducking the 3% supplement on BIK tax for diesels. But the Civic has some other aces up its sleeve.

Firstly, our SE test car offers plenty of equipment and competes on price with rivals at the entry-level point in their ranges.

Air conditioning, a CD player, electric windows and mirrors, four airbags, alloy wheels and an alarm are all standard. It is also implausibly spacious, with the sort of rear legroom associated with cars a class or two above, and the dashboard-mounted gearstick removes some of the clutter between the two front seats.

The engine is hushed and with 162lb-ft of torque available, responds well from low down, and on a relaxed journey from Gatwick Airport to Lincolnshire the trip showed an average of 62mpg.

However, the driving experience is insipid compared to cars inlcuding the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla, with dead steering and more body roll. Honda reserves driving enjoyment for the sportier variants like the Civic Sport, the Type S and the Type R. The bread-and-butter Civic is meant to transport driver and passengers in a comfortable environment high on quality and space.

Delivered price, standard car (P11D value): £13,947
CO2 emissions (g/km): 134
BIK % of P11D in 2004: 18%
Graduated VED rate: £115
Insurance group: 6
Combined mpg: 56.5
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,775/34%
Depreciation (13.85 pence per mile x 60,000): £8,310
Maintenance (2.29 pence per mile x 60,000): £1,374
Fuel (7.31 pence per mile x 60,000): £4,386
Wholelife cost (23.45 pence per mile x 60,000): £14,070
Typical contract hire rate: £282

  • All figures based on 3yrs/60,000 miles Monthly rental quote from HSBC Vehicle

    Three rivals to consider

  • New Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi LX
  • Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi Club
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI S air-con

    P11D PRICE

    OUR Honda gets off to a good start as the only car with a P11D value under £14,000. The new Ford Focus is next, but a Euro IV version would add another £300 to its P11d price. Vauxhall’s Euro IV compliant Astra is not far off the Focus but much closer to the Volkswagen Golf than it is to the other two. The Golf we have chosen is an S model fitted with free air conditioning for a level playing field.

    Honda £13,947
    Ford £14,192
    Vauxhall £14,742
    Volkswagen £14,942

    SMR COSTS

    HATS off to Vauxhall and Volkswagen for offering the lowest SMR bills, with both the Astra and Golf expected to cost £1,320 each to maintain over three years/60,000 miles. Long service intervals must have a hand in this advantage (the Astra can travel up to 30,000 miles without visiting the dealer), although the Honda is just £54 behind with a service regime of 9,000-mile intervals. The new Focus would cost £300 more than the Astra and Golf, and needs a service every 12,500 miles.

    Vauxhall 2.20ppm
    Volkswagen 2.20ppm
    Honda 2.29ppm
    Ford 2.70ppm

    FUEL COSTS

    THE latest generation of diesels is becoming exceptionally fuel-efficient. A combined fuel consumption figure close to 60mpg in a lower medium car would have been unthinkable five years ago and the Ford Focus is closest to 60mpg on 58.9mpg, resulting in a 60,000-mile cost of £4,188. Both the Astra and Civic are in touch with the Ford on £4,368 and £4,386 respectively. The Golf is a distant fourth with its larger capacity engine resulting in a fuel bill of £4,626.

    Ford 6.98ppm
    Vauxhall 7.28ppm
    Honda 7.31ppm
    Volkswagen 7.71ppm

    DEPRECIATION COSTS

    WHILE the Civic scores better than the Ford and Vauxhall for depreciation, once again the Golf appears to be in another league. Nearly £1,000 more than the Honda at the front end, the Golf would lose £7,836 over three years/60,000 miles compared with £8,310 for the Civic. The Ford Focus, on sale in January, looks promising for a high volume car, with a predicted loss of £8,448. The Vauxhall Astra is a little disappointing on £9,354, losing £1,000 more than the Civic and £1,500 more than the Golf.

    Volkswagen 13.06ppm
    Honda 13.85ppm
    Ford 14.08ppm
    Vauxhall 15.59ppm

    WHOLELIFE COSTS

    SOLID residuals and low SMR bills negate the Golf’s heavier thirst for fuel and give it the top slot over the Civic in this comparison with a £288 advantage over the Honda’s wholelife cost of £14,070. The Ford’s frugal engine ensures it claws back some of its loss in SMR with a wholelife cost of £14,256. The Astra is hurt by its depreciation resulting in a wholelife cost of £15,042 and for a fleet buying this type of car in large numbers. This is something that has to be balanced against the cost of the others.

    Volkswagen 13.06ppm
    Honda 13.85ppm
    Ford 14.08ppm
    Vauxhall 15.59ppm

    WHOLELIFE COSTS

    SOLID residuals and low SMR bills negate the Golf’s heavier thirst for fuel and give it the top slot over the Civic in this comparison with a £288 advantage over the Honda’s wholelife cost of £14,070. The Ford’s frugal engine ensures it claws back some of its loss in SMR with a wholelife cost of £14,256. The Astra is hurt by its depreciation resulting in a wholelife cost of £15,042 and for a fleet buying this type of car in large numbers. This is something that has to be balanced against the cost of the others.

    Volkswagen 22.97ppm
    Honda 23.45ppm
    Ford 23.76ppm
    Vauxhall 25.07ppm

    EMISSIONS AND BIK TAX RATES

    RANKED in order of the driver’s BIK liability, the Astra shows the benefits of Euro IV compliant diesel with low CO2 emissions. A 22% taxpayer could expect to hand over less than £41 a month, with the Golf close behind at just over £41. The Honda Civic comes just ahead of the Focus thanks to its lower P11D value with a monthly BIK of £46, with the Euro III compliant Focus on £47.

    Vauxhall 135g/km/15%
    Volkswagen 143g/km/15%
    Honda 134g/km/18%
    Ford 127g/km/18%

    VERDICT

    THE Honda Civic does most things well, but cannot quite compete with the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to running costs. We would choose the Golf first, but placing the remaining three cars is more difficult. The Focus is costlier than the Civic, but has a class-leading diesel engine, superb quality and a peerless drive. The Astra also drives better than the Honda, is attractive and well built, but is much more expensive.

  • WINNER: Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI S air-con

    At a glance

    We like

  • Good all-round costs
  • Roomy and practical
  • Well-equipped

    We don't like

  • So-so to drive
  • No EU IV diesel
  • Golf is cheaper to run

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