October 30th

Honda’s Diesel – Fuel for Thought

Honda is proof that not all diesels are created equal – from the ultra-lightweight, original N22A engine in 2004 right up to the über-efficient, present-day i-DTEC.

And with a new Civic joining Honda’s diesel fleet later in 2018, which you can check out here, the latest i-DTEC engine is more refined, quieter and cleaner than ever before.

Noteworthy details, like  the use of cast iron ribs on the cylinder block to improve rigidity, or across the board compliance with the EU’s latest  air quality regulations (Euro 6), are testament to Honda’s pioneering vision.

So confident are they in the quality of their product, that Honda even offer a guaranteed minimum future value – meaning you’ll know exactly what your diesel CR-V, HR-V, Civic, Civic Tourer or all-new Civic will be worth in three years’ time.

It was no surprise then when, in 2015, two ordinary blokes from Honda’s European R&D division took the Civic Tourer on a record-breaking road trip…

It was a hot sunny day when Honda Associates Fergal McGrath and Julian Warren, pulled into Honda HQ in Swindon. They turned off the ignition and breathed a sigh of relief. They’d done it. They’d driven 8,387 miles through 24 contiguous EU countries – the equivalent distance of the UK to Australia – in just 25 days. They had also set a new Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency, averaging 100.31mpg in their Civic Tourer and only stopping for fuel nine times. This is how they did it…

Fergal and Julian had always wanted to go on a road trip; they’d been talking about it for years. But there was only one thing stopping them: they couldn’t find the right car. It wasn’t until 2014 when they helped the Honda Civic Tourer win the UK MPG Marathon by a country mile, that they found what they were looking for. Elated with the Tourer’s performance, they set up a meeting with Guinness and scheduled a world record attempt for the following year.

First on the agenda: planning. Lots and lots (and lots) of planning. “It took loads of recon, loads of car prep and loads of organisation,” Fergal says. “It was basically a case of making sure everybody knew what to do and when. Some days we would be at the wheel for more than 12 hours – not counting the time it took to process all the evidence at the end of each day. The pressure was immense.”

Six months later, they were ready. Mostly. So on Monday, 1 June they set off from Belgium on the adventure of a lifetime. And immediately hit traffic.

However, it wasn’t long before the boys hit their stride. Within days they’d driven through Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Spain.

Around the midway point, they met up with Honda’s World Touring Car Champion driver Norbert Michelisz in – where else? – a Hungarian pub. This is where the boys’ memory gets a bit fuzzy, but, according to Julian, Michelisz “was a really nice guy, totally unfazed.”

As amazing as it sounds – cruising around Austria, Sweden, Slovenia and beyond – it wasn’t all glitz and glamour. “It started to feel a lot like groundhog day towards the end,” admits Fergal. “When you’re doing that kind of drive you’re really concentrating every moment. Even as a co-driver you’re focused on directing your man. You can’t just switch off.”

But their determination paid off. Twenty-five days after setting off from Belgium, they arrived in Swindon with a brand-new Guinness World Record for ‘lowest fuel consumption – all 24 contiguous EU countries (all cars).’

For every highlight, there were hundreds of hours of driving, which, thanks to the Tourer’s “incredible fuel efficiency”, was a sheer delight. “Honda UK was responsible for the development of the car. So, we knew all too well how impressive it was in terms of fuel efficiency,” says Fergal.

Exactly how impressive? Well, we told you that Fergal and Julian recorded a whopping 100.31mpg in the Civic Tourer. But what we didn’t tell you is this: the 25-day, 8,387-mile adventure cost them only £459 in fuel!

So it makes sense that you’ll find state-of-the-art i-DTEC engines in the rest of Honda’s current diesel range too – including the CR-V (from 64.2 mpg) and HR-V (from 70.6 mpg).

We also mentioned that Honda’s entire diesel family complies with the EU’s latest regulations, geared towards improving air quality. But it’s worth noting that – unlike many other types of diesels, which have to top up their engines with Diesel Exhaust Fluid – Honda’s cars get the Euro 6 green light by using smarter technology.

Enough science already.

Let’s just say that if you fancy a fully-compliant Euro 6 car capable of class-leading mpg and low running costs – and that excels at everyday driving and high-mileage adventures – look no further than Honda’s extended diesel range.

Ah yes – and if you’re interested in seeing Fergal and Julian’s record-breaking Civic Tourer for yourself, head on over to the British Motor Museum, where it’s a regular fixture in a 300-plus collection of historic vehicles.