Why the dramatic departure from the current car? Emotion – Honda wants to attract younger buyers, especially user-choosers who are more image and style conscious. It is determined to raise the retail-fleet split from 75:25 to 60:40, but without alienating existing buyers.
In addition to the striking new looks, new Civic will accommodate Honda’s superb 2.2-litre CTDI diesel and that will account for much of the sales increase – volumes are likely to rise from 35,000 to more than 40,000.
UK managing director Ken Keir, meanwhile, says the Civic will be “the backbone” of the Swindon plant and calls it “arguably the most important model we have ever produced”.
Owners will need to pay a little more than the current Civic – the car will be priced to compete with premium rivals BMW 1-series, Alfa 147, VW Golf and Audi A3.