Honda has made a nine-speed automatic transmission available with the diesel version of its Civic small family car.

Available with both four-door saloon and five-door hatchback body styles, the combination of the 1.6-litre 120hp diesel engine and the new gearbox achieves an official combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg in both, and CO2 emissions of 108g/km in the four door and 109g/km in the five door.

With both models, acceleration from 0 to 62mph is achieved in 11 seconds, and the top speed is 124mph.

Honda says that the gearbox’s nine speeds allow for a wide spread of ratios, with a very low first gear ratio delivering a smooth and powerful launch, and a high top gear ratio resulting in a low engine speed while cruising, reducing fuel consumption and noise.

Depending on the engine speed and throttle application, the transmission is also capable of ‘skipping’ gears for a quicker response – for example shifting down directly from ninth to fifth gear or from seventh to fourth, in addition to one- and two-gear downshifts.

This is the first time that the combination of a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox has been made available with a Civic. 

Order books are open now, with the first cars arriving in showrooms next week.