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Honda Civic Ctdi Review

8th Generation Honda Civic

If you're looking to buy a used Honda Civic Diesel, this owner's review and road test will prove helpful. It reviews a 2007 Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi Diesel ES specification car, covering all aspects of buying a used Honda Civic with useful tips from UK Honda dealers and actual MPG information.

If you're looking to buy a used Civic diesel, the buyer's guide below offers some useful advice, including known faults and problems to watch out for.

The eighth generation Euro Honda Civic has beautiful lines and a radically different shape from the previous Civic, aimed at increasing the car's appeal to a younger clientele. The design has considerable Italian influence as the Japanese designer spent time in Italy formulating a truly unique and beautiful concept car.

Overall Rating : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Plus points Practicality, handling, performance, engine refinement, innovative instrumentation

Negative points Problems with rattles, build quality, firm ride, rear visibility, disappointing fuel economy

Used Honda Civic - Buyer's Guide

Before you buy a used Honda Civic in the UK, road test the car and check for trim rattles. Oil consumption can be higher than average on the CTDI - so check the dipstick level to ensure the oil level has been topped up regularly.

In common with most modern Turbo Diesels, fully synthetic engine oil should be used for best performance with at least annual oil changes. Honda tend to use Castrol Edge 0W30 or 5W30, so check that the car has been regularly serviced by an authorised dealer, with the right grade oil. Synthetic 0W30 usage leads to higher oil consumption and recently Honda have stopped using this grade of oil in favour of 5W30.

The headlining of the car can rattle on 2006 registration cars fitted with the panoramic roof. UK Honda dealers are aware of this problem and can fix it.

The firm ride of the UK Honda Civic can be uncomfortable on many road surfaces. We were advised by Clover Leaf Cars to buy a Civic fitted with 16 inch alloy wheels, as cars fitted with 17 inch alloy wheels  (including the EX specification car) have a firmer ride. The Honda dealers advice was good as a Civic fitted with 16in alloys has acceptable ride quality.

This generation of Honda Civic cars are supplied without a space saving spare tyre as it has a "get you home" flat tyre repair kit. This saves on vehicle weight and increases the available boot storage space. A space saver spare tyre can be purchased separately at around 100 + VAT.

8th Generation Honda Civic Rear View

UK Honda dealers are not known for generous new car discounts, but close to month end they can offer cheap deals on new Honda Civic cars, when the spotlight is on monthly sales targets.

Often Honda dealers will offer new car discounts of 300 to 500 on a new Civic so it's worth haggling for the best deal and trade-in price.


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Driving & Handling - Road Test

Honda Civic Interior

The Honda Civic 2.2 diesel is great to drive, offering excellent handling and road holding with little body roll when cornering. However, the Civic's steering doesn't offer quite the same 'hands on feel' and 'connection with the road' as the Ford Focus, feeling a little more imprecise and vague at times.

The Civic has a fully adjustable driving position with a number of seat and steering column adjustments. The sporty 6 speed manual gearbox fitted in our 2.2 CTDi ES is easy to manage and has sensibly spaced gear ratios (6th gear being around 35mph / 1000rpm).

The refinement and performance of the Euro Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi engine is simply amazing. With 140PS at 4000rpm and 340Nm or torque at just 2000rpm the refined Common Rail diesel engine has twice low speed torque of the 1.8 V-TEC, which means it feels significantly faster on the road, with 0 to 62 mph taking just 8.6 seconds. On the road the car feels very fast with excellent acceleration and mid range torque a plenty. This together with reasonable fuel economy and low emissions, makes the Honda Civic diesel an attractive small family car to buy.

The Type R Honda Civic (launched in March 2007) had performance that matched the old Type R Civic on paper, with 0 - 62mph in just 6.4 seconds.

Driving and Handling : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Comfort & Refinement

Even though the eighth generation Honda Civic has a firm ride, it still proves reasonably comfortable on all but the worst of UK road surfaces (remember our buyer's tip about the 16 inch wheels though!). The seats in the Civic are a bit too firm for me, but they are supportive and comfortable and have full range of height and pitch adjustment. Road noise is well suppressed and engine noise from the refined CTDi Common Rail 2.2 litre diesel engine is only really noticeable in first two gears under hard acceleration.

The UK built Honda 2.2 CTDi diesel engine is extremely quiet and refined, with virtually no diesel rattle even when started from cold. In fact, the Civic diesel is so quiet that it's almost impossible to tell (at idling) that it is an oil burner; beating even the Ford Focus TDCI which we previously thought had the best small car diesel engine refinement.

Wind noise has never been a problem in the Civic and the car remains quiet and refined even at high motorway speeds.

Dashboard Layout

The dashboard on the Euro Honda Civic uses relaxing blue backlighting with state of the art holographic display technology being used for the trip computer and central information displays. The Honda Civic Type R has red instrumentation backlighting. Some drivers complain about reflective glare from the Civic dashboard; but we have never experienced this issue.

The digital speedometer (which incidentally overreads by a ridiculous amount - 76mph indicated = 70mph actual) is mounted just below the windscreen, in direct eye line. This makes it easier to watch your speed without taking your eyes off the road. Most controls on the Civic dashboard are easy to use, but some are a little fiddly and complicated - the wiper stalk controls being one example. Keep the user manual handy for reference!

Comfort and Refinement : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Emissions & Green Rating

The UK Honda Civic Diesel 2.2 CTDi is a 'green car' with a clean engine and low CO2 emissions. In fact, it's probably one of the best small family cars with outstanding performance and a decent 'green rating'. At 135g of CO2 per km, it qualifies for Band E UK car tax (currently just 125 per year). Just compare the low emissions and green rating of the Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi diesel to the economical Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI:-

Green Car Reviews CO2 Emissions / km Engine CO g/km Engine NOx (g/km) Particulates g/km
Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI 127g 0.406 0.413 0.031
Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI 135g 0.144 0.141 0.010

Green Rating : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Best Features

  • Electric Panoramic Glass Roof (standard on the Honda Civic ES) is a nice feature letting in much more natural light into the cabin for both front and rear passengers. A switch mounted near the roof courtesy light controls the roof blinds as required. The panoramic roof is pictured here.
  • ECO Display (six green LED lights) is useful in helping the driver to reduce fuel consumption. The more ECO lights are illuminated the lower the instantaneous fuel consumption of the car.
    2 ECO lights seems to equate to a fuel economy of around 40mpg; 4 ECO lights to around 50mpg fuel economy and 6 ECO lights for over 60mpg. In practice, it is challenging to find a cruising speed that keeps more than 2 ECO lights illuminated and pretty much impossible around town on the urban cycle, unless you change into 5th and use very light throttle settings. Then 70mpg is just achievable from the new Civic even at 32mph on a flat road.

  • Dual Zone Climate Control - standard on the 2007 Honda Civic ES and EX allows separate driver and passenger comfort zones with independent climate temperature control. The temperature control for the passenger is conveniently located on the passenger armrest.
  • Magic Seats - add to seating flexibility and load space practicality. The central fuel tank in the Honda Civic allows the rear seats to be folded flat to make a huge load space in the boot. The boot floor also has a bottom storage compartment which can be used for additional luggage if no space saving spare tyre is purchased.
  • Km/h to mph Switch - A dashboard mounted switch allows easy change over from mph to km/h for driving abroad. All digital information related to vehicle speed, range and fuel consumption is changed to km / litre.
  • Driver's Information Computer - The Civic has a well designed Driver's Information Computer which provides instantaneous fuel consumption in the form of a bar graph, digital readout of average fuel consumption (by trip), range to empty, trip distance and average speed (since last reset). The driver computer is toggled by pressing the "I" button on the steering wheel.
  • Electric Door Mirrors - The Honda Civic is a wide car at 2.046m (including door mirrors) so the electric door mirrors (standard on the Civic ES and EX) come in useful for parking the vehicle in a small garage.
  • Engine Start Button - Without doubt, it's cool to start the engine using the red button on the dashboard, even if it does take some getting used to!

  • Rear Door Access - The Civic's rear doors open to nearly 90 degrees to improve access for disabled passengers and to accommodate large items.

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  • Known Faults and Reliability - There have been several problems with my Civic which are detailed in Reliability, Faults and Problems below.
  • Cramped Rear Seats - Whilst the Honda Civic is a small family car it's less adept at carrying 5 adults in comfort on long journeys. 3 adults can get somewhat cramped in the back seat. The middle seat is very narrow and the seat cushion is raised for additional discomfort!
  • Interior Rattles - These were a problem on the 55 and 06 registration Honda Civic. Factory modifications on the 2007 Civic (56 registration cars) seem to have resolved rattles from the headlining on the ES and EX model (cars fitted with sliding glass roof).
  • Exterior Rattles - On my Civic, another rattle seems to be caused by the external plastic cover at the base of the windscreen which is in contact with the glass. This noise then transmits into the car through the windscreen, especially when the car goes over bumps in the road.
  • Rear Visibility Problems - I am pleased to say that I've had no problems with rear visibility when reversing my Honda Civic into parking spaces. The rear visibility is quite adequate for purpose and the large door mirrors make up for any slight visibility restrictions. However, I find the rear window mounted spoiler (half way up the glass) more annoying on the motorway where it significantly restricts the view of traffic behind.
  • Fuel Economy - The actual fuel economy of the 2007 Diesel Civic is really rather disappointing, with many reports saying that it is not much better than the 1.8 petrol derivative. I tend to agree - but don't forget that you are getting lots more torque with the diesel engine, which translates to much better driveability. There's lots of mid-range power available for rapid overtaking, so the diesel may still be a worthwhile choice. Incidentally, the brand new Civic (2012) has better fuel economy by around 15% and more power (148PS). This means lower road tax too - currently £20 - £30 a year!

    It's worth noting that the car takes about 10,000 miles to achieve its best fuel economy - so don't buy a new Civic if MPG matters to you! After the engine is run-in it is possible to achieve around 60mpg on long journeys with favourable (warm and still) weather conditions and a light load on board if you have drive very economically with smooth acceleration and braking and keep your speed down to around 60mph.

    The best economy I have ever achieved is 68mpg (on the trip computer) on a trip to Nottingham on a warm still day.

    If you drive with a heavy right foot then don't expect much more than 40mpg and cold start short journeys will further reduce fuel economy, down to around 35mpg in winter. Honda's published fuel economy figures for the 2006 Honda Civic don't seem to tally with any form of real world driving. Nor, in fact does the fuel computer which shows the economy to be around 4mpg better than it really is!

In Car Entertainment System

Honda Civic - In Car Entertainment

The 15W stereo fitted to the Honda Civic works well with good radio sensitivity even though the radio aerial is internal - in the rear window glass. Sound quality is reasonable although not class leading and 4 speaker are fitted. Separate tweeters provide excellent clarity of treble sounds.

The CD / MP3 player reads most CD-R and CD-RW media types and a 12 digit alphanumeric display shows individual track names on MP3 CD's (where programmed). Individual MP3 folders can be selected by name using the manual tune knob on the radio.

Radio, CD MP3 Player: Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Build Quality Problems

The build quality of my particular 2007 UK specification Honda Civic is marred by problems with interior trim rattles. The hard ride of the car makes the problem seem worse. Based on my initial ownership experience, Honda have some way to go to eliminate annoying rattles and squeaks from the cabin of the Civic. Build quality is shocking!

A road test revealed several problem areas (particularly on 55 and 06 registration ES and EX cars) including a poorly designed and fitted interior headlining with more rattles emanating from the internal black plastic surround on the rear hatch. My Civic also had a particularly annoying resonance (buzz) from behind the dashboard at an engine speed of around 1900 rpm (70mph in 6th gear).

That said, the interior finish of the car is good with high quality materials used throughout.

Build Quality : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Diesel Civic Performance & Economy

Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI engine

You'll find that the Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi engine has excellent performance and I highly recommend buying the diesel car rather than the 1.8 V-TEC, even though there's a small price premium. Residuals are likely to be better on the diesel Civic as it has much better mid range power delivery than the 1.8 V-TEC petrol engine, even though both engines deliver 140PS.

The 2.2CTDi Honda Civic is supposed to be around 22% more economical than the 1.8 V-TEC engine models, delivering around 39mpg around town and 55.4mpg in the combined cycle fuel economy tests. That said, the fuel economy is poor compared to a small engine diesel like the Ford Focus 1.6 tdci.

The fuel economy of my 2006 Honda Civic Ctdi is relatively poor (for a Diesel car) at around 44mpg with a mixture of short journeys and motorway runs. Around town, on the urban cycle I achieve around 35mpg - again quite poor compared to Honda's official fuel economy figures. If you have a heavy right foot, then expect to get around 30 - 35mpg if you drive the car in a 'spirited fashion', even on motorways. It's also worth noting that the car's fuel computer seems to over-read by about 5 to 6mpg, so the car actually does less MPG than the Civic fuel computer average shows!

Economy aside, there's no doubt that the diesel Civic has awesome mid range power reducing the need to change down the gears and an impressive acceleration figure of 0 - 60mph in 8.6 seconds, making it a very fast Diesel car.

If you are seeking performance and driving thrills, then the Honda Civic Type R with its 2.0i V-TEC engine still offers combined fuel economy figures of around 31mpg and 215g/km of CO2, along with a 146mph top speed!

To achieve greater engine efficiency the Diesel Common Rail Injection system runs at very high pressures of up to 1000 bar, using solenoids that release just the right amount of fuel to each cylinder at precise computer controlled timings. For more technical information on Common Rail Injection click here and don't forget to watch the official Honda video for lots of information about the 2.2 CTdi engine.

Performance & Economy : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Interior Space & Practicality

UK Honda Civic Boot

The UK Honda Civic scores well on practicality. It has a large boot of around 485 litres capacity, considerably larger than the Ford Focus which offers 385 litres.

To boost practicality, the Civic has both 60/40 rear seats and a unique folding rear seat arrangement that allows maximum use of space when carrying large or bulky items. The rear seats drop perfectly flat for large items, giving a huge 1352 litres of boot space - example here.

It's not all good news though, as the car's rear seats can be cramped for 3 adults.

The car has a large, air conditioned glove box and decent size driver and passenger door pockets. There are some additional storage bins in the driver armrest and two cup holders adjacent to the handbrake.

Space & Practicality : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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The Euro Honda Civic scores reasonably well on safety with a 4 star EURO NCAP rating and an ISOFIX child restraint mechanism. There are 6 airbags with front driver and a passenger airbags, 2 side airbags and curtain airbags front and rear. Please note that a child car seat should never be placed in a front seat of the Honda Civic as an SRS passenger airbag is fitted.

Safety : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Running & Servicing Costs

Depreciation on the Honda Civic is fairly low and the car is expected to retain around 50% of it's original value after 3 years. Servicing intervals are annual or 12,500 miles on most models and the 16 inch low profile tyres are around 70 each to buy. With an expected fuel economy of around 45mpg, annual fuel costs should be low.

If you want cheap servicing, don't buy a Honda Civic! With the first service costing £181 and the subsequent service £230 (including VAT), Honda is taking advantage of their servicing monopoly. Get your Civic serviced somewhere else and risk voiding the Manufacturer warranty if non-Handa parts are used. Be warned!

The Insurance Groups for the 2007 Honda Civic is 9 or 10 for most 1.8 V-TEC and 2.2 CTDi models. This means cheap car insurance for all models. I paid around 240 in January 2007 for 12 months insurance with Direct Line.

Running Costs : Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Reliability, Faults & Problems

The previous Honda Civic has been very reliable and Honda are offering a 3 year, 90,000 mile warranty on the 2007 Civic so they must have a high level of confidence in the mechanicals of the car.

Unfortunately, in the 4000 miles covered in my 56 registration Civic, I've had problems with the bump stops on the Front Shock Absorbers and with the fuel filler release which refused to open despite pulling on the release catch in the car. These are both common faults with the Honda Civic and modifications to fix these issues are available from Honda. The shock absorber problem results in a knocking noise when going over bumps and is a common fault on the Civic, which is usually covered under the manufacturer's 3 year warranty. To fix the Front Shock Absorber fault is a 2.5 hour service operation.

For more information on car problems and fixes, try the Euro Honda Civic Forum.

Reliability: Honda Civic 2.2 CTDI
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Honda Civic CTDI Review Conclusion

The eighth generation Honda Civic is a cool car which is exciting to drive and stands out from the crowd through its beautiful aerodynamic styling. The Civic handles well and has sporty performance from its refined and powerful 2.2 CTDi diesel engine, which also delivers 50mpg fuel economy.

The car proves comfortable on all but very rough road surfaces. The Civic's clever design means that it is extremely practical as a family car and all models come well equipped. There's a quality cabin with upmarket materials having been used throughout the range.

However, when buying a second hand Honda Civic always check for trim and headlining rattles on pre 2007 production cars, particularly if you're looking to buy an ES and EX specification car fitted with the sliding glass roof.

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