Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC ES-T
Week ending August 30
Miles this week 250
Read the full Honda Civic review
Some of us enjoy people watching. I watch cars, or rather I watch what people do with them as I trundle up and down the M3 motorway every day.
When I’m in the Civic, drivers cut their speed as they see me approaching in their mirrors. I imagine that’s because it's a) white and b) has dazzling LED running lights. I guess they expect me to flash the ‘blues’ at any second.
However, a couple of Skoda Octavias I drove this week took the biscuit. Anyone who uses the M3 on a regular basis will know that Hampshire police sometimes use Octavias as unmarked patrol cars.
These Skodas strike the fear of God into people, which is understandable. The silver Octavia (the other was white) elicited the biggest response. Motorists approaching from behind at more than 70mph would suddenly slow and crawl past me, expecting to see a big burly copper in the driver’s seat.
I can only imagine their relief as they spied someone who couldn’t possibly be a member of Her Majesty’s finest sitting behind the wheel.
By Rob Keenan
Week ending August 23
Miles this week 165
Back when I started to drive, there was no such thing as electronic ignition and fuel injection (at least not in my price range). This meant I had to deal with distributor caps, points and carburettors, all of which regularly went out of tune and would often result in the dreaded ‘running on’ when I switched off whichever banger I was nursing through the twilight of its days.
Essentially, this meant that even though the ignition was switched off, the engine would shudder, cough, rattle and generally keep running until I’d stuck the car in gear and raised the clutch to stall it into silence. Ah yes, halcyon days.
It’s a characteristic the Civic reminded me of this week, because it has one of the least subtle stop-start systems I’ve yet come across. When you stop the car at traffic lights or in a jam, engage neutral and lift the clutch, the engine doesn’t stop instantly (as it does in rivals). No, it feels like it ‘runs on’ for a couple of seconds and gradually shudders itself into silence.
When you restart it, the whole car vibrates as the motor begins what feels like a stretch and a shake to rouse itself from its slumber.
It’s all very reminiscent of my days in cars that were an MoT tester’s whim away from the scrapyard, and is genuinely bad enough to make me consider switching off the stop-start system to avoid this annoyance.
Surely that defeats the whole purpose of having stop-start in the first place?
By Euan Doig
Week ending August 9
Driven this week 141 miles
Every time I fill the Honda Civic's fuel tank, the diesel sloshes around in it noisily until the level gets down to around three-quarters. The only other car I've noticed this in so much before is a Jaguar XF we ran for a year.
Colleague Mark Pearson pointed out that the Civic's tank is positioned beneath the front seats, which explains why I can hear it so clearly. It also explains why the Honda’s driver's seat doesn’t go lower.
Why there isn't room beneath the boot for the tank is a mystery. It's not like there's a spare wheel to get in the way, after all. More on this in a future update.
By Rob Keenan
Week ending August 2
Driven this week 406 miles
Rear visibility is not one of the Honda Civic’s strengths. Apart from the obvious spoiler/bar that cuts across the middle of the screen, the glass itself is steeply raked so you see only the bottom half of it from the driver’s seat (and half of the rear wiper).
I realise that aerodynamics have to dictate the angle of the bootlid, but I’m surprised that visibility had to be sacrificed to such an extent.
A standard rear camera assists with reversing into parking spaces but rear sensors are a £535 option. When rear visibility is so poor and the car cost nearly £22k new, the fact that rear sensors aren’t fitted as standard is simply unacceptable.
By Rob Keenan