Honda is launching its ninth-gen Civic next month, but the much-needed 1.6-litre diesel won’t arrive until November. As well as better dynamics and a bigger boot, the new Civic will feature a higher-quality interior and super-slippery aerodynamics that result in a 0.27 Cd. Engines will be improved and carry-over units include a 110g/km 2.2-litre diesel.
Honda Insight facelift
A minor model change to the Honda Insight in April will involve mainly cosmetic tweaks.
The new Focus fighter from Hyundai borrows its styling from the rakish i40. Roomier inside and featuring a larger boot than its predecessor, the Hyundai i30 comes with a full range of petrol and diesel engines from its February launch.
Hyundai i30 MPV
A seven-seat competitor for the Ford C-Max arrives next winter. Based on the new i30 platform, the Hyundai i30 MPV will also share its petrol and diesel engines with the hatchback. Expect conventional doors, which are cheaper to engineer, and easy access to the third row.
The four-door i40 saloon joins the range this month. Engines and trim follow the estate line-up. Prices start at £17,500. Read our full road test of the Hyundai i40 here.
A new Kia Cee'd is due to be revealed at the Geneva show as a five-door and featuring revised underpinnings and a sleek new body. The SW estate will follow in October and the three-door in 2013.
Based on the Hyundai i40, the Optima will compete in the heart of Mondeo/Passat country with a value-for-money offering. Just a single 1.7-litre diesel with manual or auto transmission will be offered from next month. Read our first drive review of the Kia Optima here.
Lexus CT200h F-Sport
Sports suspension — stiffer springs and higher-specification dampers — should raise the Lexus CT200 from the mundane to the interesting. Prices for the Lexus CT200h F-Sport start from a shade under £28,000 and it launches this month.
We’ll see the new Mazda 6 at the Paris show this autumn, but UK cars won’t arrive until early in 2013. Based closely on the coupé look of the Takeri concept, the new 6 will feature a complete suite of SkyActiv energy-saving technology, including lightweight steel body construction, a 170bhp 2.2 engine emitting 104g/km of CO2 and weight-saving transmissions.
The all-new Mercedes A-class, due in June, sits on a new modular front-drive platform and takes a major change in direction to become a more conventional premium hatchback rival to the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series. The seating position is as low as its competition, the styling is sharp and the petrol and diesel engines are either new or heavily revised.
An all-new B-class arrives in the spring. Lower, wider and roomier than the outgoing B-class, the new five-door hatch also has a higher-quality interior with cues from the range-topping SLS. The seating position is 86mm lower and more upright, and rear legroom is said to surpass that of the S-class limo. Boot capacity is also up, to a commodious 666 litres. The petrol engines are significantly upgraded ‘M270’ units of 1.6-litre capacity and 121bhp and 145bhp output. Diesels are 1.8-litre engines that make 107bhp and 134bhp. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox replaces the CVT. Read our first drive review of the Mercedes B-class here.
A Focus-sized hatchback version of the MG 6, the MG 5 is a variant of the China-only Roewe 550 and is due in 2013. Aspects of the styling and handling will be reworked for Europe. The suspension is struts and twist beam — less sophisticated than the multi-link axle of the 6. Engines are 1.3 and 1.8 petrols.