More than 10,000 fleet buyers are expected to opt for a Civic powered by a class-leading new Honda engine next year.
Due to go into full production at Swindon in December alongside the five-door hatchback model, the 1.6-litre diesel motor is the lightest in its segment. Developing120PS, it boasts combined economy of 78mpg with tailpipe emissions of just 94g/km.
“Having a diesel engine of this size is a significant asset in the corporate sector and one that we’ve missed for several years,” said Honda UK managing director Dave Hodgetts.
In an interview in Paris, he admitted the 2.2-litre heavy-oil Civic had failed to tick the box with many corporate buyers despite delivering good performance and CO2 figures.
“That’s all behind us now. This new engine is a particularly good match for the Civic, which was engineered to be aerodynamically efficient, and we expect it to be a big attraction when it becomes available in January..
“We have struggled to win new customers over the last few years, but I’m confident that many of the people buying the new model will be new to the brand,” said Hodgetts, who revealed that the CR-V – Honda’s second UK produced car – is next in line for the more efficient diesel motor.
The engine will be offered in September as an option to the two-litre petrol-powered sport utility model in front wheel drive form.
“Our aim is to get somewhere close to a £21,000 entry price for the diesel, which would put us in a strong position against smaller vehicles like the Nissan Qashqai.
“We think that level of pricing could give us a further boost in fleet by extending opportunities with those customers who like the size of the CR-V and its packaging but also like the prospect of greater fuel economy. In a full year, the option could provide us with another 3,000 registrations,” he said.