Honda has revealed the all-new Civic hatchback ahead of its official launch at the Paris motor show at the end of the month.
Two turbocharged petrol engines will be available when the car goes on sale in March next year alongside a number of trim levels. Fleets wanting a diesel option will have to wait until November however.
A lower roofline and wider body give the car an aggressive stance, but clever packaging means there is more room for passengers and a class leading 478-litres of luggage space.
“The market has become more competitive since the launch of the ninth generation Civic, from early development we realised the 10th generation had to be a big step forward,” said Katsushi Inoue, president and chief operating officer of Honda Motor Europe.
In order to achieve this Honda invested a further £200 million into its Swindon manufacturing plant, where the new Civic will be produced for Europe and North America.
Strong growth has been recorded by the brand and in the UK alone sales have risen by 16.5%, with European sales growing month by month – enough to make Honda the fastest growing mainstream car manufacturer in Europe.
One area where Honda has been less successful is Fleet with registrations reaching 16,000 year-to-date. It traditionally relied on 12 corporate centres for the majority of its fleet business but now 75% of the dealer network is trained to deal with corporate customers and the company plans to make that 100% by next year.
Phil Webb, head of car at Honda UK, said: “We’ve realised that our fleet operation was not as good as it could be and therefore have re-shuffled our corporate team to make sure we get it right.”
Despite launching the car without a diesel engine, Webb is confident the new Turbo VTEC units will attract fleet customers by offering attractive economy and emissions figures.
The numbers are yet to be revealed but the choice of engines is between a 1.0-litre three cylinder and a 1.5-litre four cylinder. The smaller engine is likely to be the most fleet-friendly and develops 127hp, the larger makes 179hp. Both engines can be twinned with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox.
Fleet News was able to get a passenger ride in the 1.0-litre version and it felt well composed with high levels of refinement. Unfortunately we will have to wait until January for the official press launch to give any further details on how the car drives.
The diesel motor will be a re-worked version of the existing 1.6-litre diesel in the current range. It will come with a single output of 118hp and the option of a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic gearbox.
To attract younger buyers a host of technology has been fitted to the new car, including a fully digital dashboard, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a wireless charging pad for mobile devices.
Honda’s SENSING system is also fitted as standard which incorporates; active city braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigation and blind spot monitoring – earning the car a five star Euro NCAP rating.
Honda will be displaying the new Civic at this year's Fleet Management Live show at the NEC Birmingham on 19-20 October.