RAY MASSEY: Honda gambles on a new diesel-powered civic

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With the demonisation of diesel cars by scaremongering politicians leading to a slump in sales, why would you launch a new diesel car now?

Add to that the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ scandal, in 2015, over rigged emissions tests, and the recent use of monkeys by German carmakers to test exhaust fumes, and the picture is far from rosy.

But Honda is boldly adding a new diesel variant to the line-up of its British-built Civic. Is it mad? Bosses don’t think so. 

Frugal: Honda'  diesel-engined version of their tenth generation Civic does a claimed average of 80.7 mpg

Frugal: Honda’ diesel-engined version of their tenth generation Civic does a claimed average of 80.7 mpg

Modern diesels that are cleaner, leaner and more fuel-efficient are still in significant demand, particularly for high mileage drivers, Honda insists.

Though sales have dipped, they will still account for a third of Civics sold by 2021 and will be a necessary stop-gap before electric cars have the range to make them truly practical. 

Built at Honda’s Swindon factory, the new tenth generation five-door Civic hatchback has already established itself as a solid choice with sporty looks, and the high-performance Type-R has claimed a clutch of awards.

The ‘comprehensively revised’ 120 bhp 1.6 litre i-DTEC turbo-diesel engine now joins the two existing 1 litre and 1.5 litre petrol engines in the line-up.

There are four trim levels and it meets the latest Euro 6 emissions rules, making it cleaner than many petrol engines. 

It’s a smooth operator — particularly on motorways — and drives and handles well with ample pulling power and a precise six-speed manual gearbox. It goes from rest to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds and on to 125 mph.

Fuel consumption is its trump card with a claimed average of 80.7 mpg.

Prices start from £20,120 for the Civic S, a premium of up to £1,300 over the petrol versions.

DIANA JAG IS CAR SHOW STAR 

A one-off 150 mph Jaguar XJ-S cabriolet built for Diana, Princess of Wales, with rear seats for young princes William and Harry, will be a star attraction among more than 700 cars at this year’s The London Classic Car Show.

It’s shown here with the Princess. Organisers of the event, which runs at the ExCeL from February 15-18 (thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk), say: ‘Not only was this one of the most photographed cars of its era, it was also unique, built to the Princess’s own specification. 

All other 5,012 cabriolets (1983-1988) were two-seaters. This has two small rear seats for the princes.’

Mercedes-Benz last night unveiled its new A-Class super-mini.

The five-door hatchback promises levels of technology similar to the German car giant’s flagship S-Class limousine, including semi- autonomous self-driving.

Mercedes-Benz last night unveiled its new A-Class super-mini. It is priced from about £22,000 and will be  available with new 1.4 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines

Mercedes-Benz last night unveiled its new A-Class super-mini. It is priced from about £22,000 and will be  available with new 1.4 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines

Mercedes-Benz last night unveiled its new A-Class super-mini. It is priced from about £22,000 and will be  available with new 1.4 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines

A new ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recognition system, similar to Siri, will allow the driver to interact with their car.

Priced from about £22,000, it’s the fourth generation of the upmarket hatchback, which is available with new 1.4 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engines. First deliveries in June.

  • New Aston Martin owners are to be offered a ‘birth certificate’ for their vehicle — as the firm now charts each car’s journey from conception to delivery. Cameras at the factory in Warwickshire will capture key moments which are then lavishly packaged in a book with the certificate — for £450.

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