Engines on offer at launch are just two turbocharged petrol units: the 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5-litre four-cylinder VTEC units, with 127bhp and 180bhp respectively, and a choice of six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmissions. A 1.6-litre diesel engine will be offered later this year.
We tested both engines and both transmissions. The 1.0-litre unit will satisfy the vast majority of needs; it’s an impressive unit, light and peppy in its responses to the throttle, and one of the most powerful for its size, with a quoted 55mpg. The six-speed manual is undoubtedly the transmission to go for, unless you want to waft endlessly through undemanding traffic, in which case the smoothness of the CVT won’t go amiss. But in most UK conditions, the short-shifting manual gearbox will be a delight, engaging and satisfying, allowing you to extract the growl from that three-pot at high revs.
The suspension is an all-new set-up. At the front there’s the usual MacPherson strut, but the rear gets a new multilink suspension. There’s also the option of four active dampers.
What may sway most buyers, however, is none of the above, but the fact that Honda Sensing is standard on all models. This technology package gives you pretty much everything, including much that is an option on far, far more expensive models. We’re talking active cruise control, blind-spot warning system, traffic-sign recognition, intelligent speed limiter, collision-mitigating braking system, forward collision warning and the lane-keeping assist system (pretty close to autonomous driving). Which, I think you’ll agree, is pretty comprehensive. Oh, and you also get a tyre pressure monitoring system.