Last weekend me and my family went on a day trip to Barry Island in Wales (UK) as we had wanted to go for ages since we watched the whole series of ‘Gavin & Stacey’ and really wanted to see if it really was the little picturesque town in Wales that you see on the TV.
We started off well – but as usual we spent mile after mile on the M5 doing exactly 50mph, of course no one was working on the motorway because it was a Saturday and I would hate to have crashed into a workman that was not even working that day – when actually he was sitting at home sniggering at the thought of us all doing 50mph for mile upon mile. Anyway after many hours and many toilet stops we finally arrived.
Barry Island or Barri as it says on some signposts is very nice and the beach is lovely – but parking was a problem and as I had no spare change, I was forced to call the phone&pay service which is frankly useless. I told it my car registration number, my card details and how long I wanted to stay for – but for some reason it kept getting the car registration wrong. I did this for about an hour of my life before it finally understood and I was able to join my family on the beach.
‘The Beach’ the green flags were flying and it was full of families all enjoying the sun together, but as I looked around there was a bit of a problem. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you come to the beach to be with the family and have a fun day? For some reason, pretty much every other person was either on their mobile phone or at least interacting with it. I even had to listen to the guy sitting on a patch of sand next to me talking about what he had been up to that week as he discussed this with somebody on the other end. Plus, and I can’t actually believe this – but people were actually standing in the middle of the sea using their mobile phones. Yes – that’s right – standing in the middle of the ocean while calling or texting someone.
Why do our mobile phones have so much control over us? As a family man I do all I can to distance myself from my mobile phone – but as soon as I turn around. Boom! There it is staring me in the face, with that little voice inside my head saying ‘come on pick me up! You may have missed a call or a random txt from someone you don’t know’
I’m not joking either – we all think the same way, we just can’t put them down.
Well finally I have and I now refuse to interact with my phone when I am out with my family. So – I light of this I have gone out and bought a five pound phone from Mr Argos which I will now carry around with me just in case there is an emergency.
Of course – If we were all to do the same as me – twitter & facebook will have a mini meltdown and random people we don’t even know, won’t know what we are doing or what we are currently eating at the dinner table.
This of course leads me onto the review of the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC EX. Honda have been producing great cars for a long time now and we should all remember the NSX and the S2000 that were frankly brilliant machines, but when Honda wanted to re-vamp the Civic, they needed a new edge. So, let me introduce you to the new Civic.
Power and Efficiency: The Civic is powered by a 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine that produces 120PS and 300Nm of torque, which made overtaking in many situations a doddle. As with most Honda engines its refined and pretty much perfect. 0-62 is also around 10.5 sec and a max speed of 128mph is achievable. Honda also wanted to make the Civic go as far as possible on the least amount of fuel and on a good run I managed a staggering 65.6mpg. I was not really trying either, I was just driving normal. Although the big green Eco sign on the dash, does lure you into keeping the right pedal at a very lean position – thus helping you to save all the Polar Bears.
On the road: First off – great chassis, along with a suspension setup that you know has taken Honda many hours of road testing to get just right. The corners are a breeze and the bumps and potholes are dealt with easily with no dramas. Go into a corner a tad fiercer and you can really feel that chassis working to keep you firmly on the tarmac.
Design and Interior: Honda have carefully crafted the new Civic it to give it a dynamic presence on the road and have introduced some neat bits like the sculpted headlights and a very wizzy rear spoiler which I am told will all help with fuel economy and lower emissions. I also like the look of the Civic with its sharp lines and bold edges. Inside; it’s all good. Quality interior and soft touch surfaces all round give a nice appeal. The driving position is good and there is a good amount of front and rear legroom. I do have one moan though; I think the digital speedo needs to placed a little bit more to the left, because sometimes it can be obscured by your hand if it’s in a certain position on the wheel.
Technology: The Civic is packed with Honda Connect technology like; AM/FM, DAB and Internet Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, internet browsing, satellite navigation and a rear-view parking camera.
Honda Connect is also compatible with Android 4.0.4, the world’s most popular smartphone operating system, and features the familiar pinch, swipe and tap functionality – all accessed through a seven-inch display screen.
Also, did you know that The Civic range benefits from Honda’s unique centre fuel-tank layout. The fuel tank is actually located under the front seats, allowing the Civic to offer unparalleled interior space and flexible practicality.
Safety: This is where Honda really gets it right. Driver and passenger front/side airbags. Along with EBD, EBA and vehicle stability assist with hill start assist and city-brake active system. Pay an extra £600 as an added option and you will get; forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, land departure warning, blind spot information and a whole host of additional safety features to keep you safe on the road. That is an option box that is well worth ticking.
To sum up: The Civic is brilliant machine from the people at Honda and it is a car I would recommend you take a look at.
Price: (from) £26,200 OTR as tested – including fitted options