I have a CDTi demonstrator for the weekend to put through its paces and have just been out for a few miles. Generally like it a lot
. In case anyone's interested in my first impressions:
Engine. Very strong pull, though with typical turbo lag. Slight delay on the throttle response which surprised me - not sure if this is right as I haven't heard anyone else mention this - perhaps a fault on this car? Otherwise, very impressed with the straight-line performance (worryingly so for my licence...), though I do miss the crescendo you get with a free-revving petrol engine - I imagine my Alfa Twin Spark engine is very similar in characteristics to the VTEC...all the way to the 7,000 rpm redline...
. Not sure whether to get the CDTi or the VTEC - it's going to be a company car, so the deciding factors include company car tax (diesel better), fuel consumption (diesel better), rental cost (petrol better). Otherwise, diesel is a bit smelly I suppose! When I do the sums over 4 years there's nothing in it cost wise...any comments on that choice would be welcome.
Handling/ride. Generally good, though it does roll a bit on corners compared to my current Alfa 156 (to be expected I suppose). Rides quite well (better than 156, also to be expected) over most surfaces/speeds but perhaps not as well as I'd hoped..a bit jittery at times but the demo car has 18" Storms on which might be a factor.. Despite the body roll the cornering ability is excellent however - didn't reach any of its limits on one very tightly curved sliproad with my right foot edging downwards....
Quality. Generally very good quality materials and construction, though there are a few very small areas where it is let down: door handles outside and inside feel plasticky, the silver trim on the inside of the door likewise, and the way the inside of the door moves when you use the electric windows. On all these points my Alfa beats it hands down (which might surprise some people), and I think if Honda are aiming upmarket they need to sort a few of these little things out.
Design. Still not sure 100% about the looks from some angles but overall I like the exterior and think it's an effective, bold, design statement. The interior is a very successful attempt at a futuristic design that actually functions very well. Seems to divide opinion overall, I guess between those who think flat-sided minimalist German cars are the epitome of good taste and style, and those (and I think I reside here) who think cars like the Civic, the Alfa 156, the E-Type jag, the original Mini and Fiat 500 are what epitomise stylish motoring, rather than yet another slab of Audi A6.
My only real gripe is the visibility through the rear window with the spoiler chopping everything in two and seeming to coincide with where cars are typically behind you on a motorway. I guess this is something you get used to though.
So any comments welcomed to help me make my mind up. Then it's off home tonight to see if the missus is convinced, and perhaps place my order on Monday and join the queue!