While the 2013 Honda Accord is due for imminent release in the US, and is the ninth-generation model since the very first one rolled off the production line in 1976, Europe will get its first taste of the action with the new Honda Civic. The hybrid versions are due to be released early next year, but for Honda fans that might not see anything particularly special about the new models on the surface, it’s under the hood where the magic really happens.

The Honda website released details of its Earth Dreams Technology concept late last year, specifying just how it intends to achieve “top-of-industry fuel efficiency for every category within three years”, along with its 2020 deadline for a reduction by one third of CO2 emissions in its cars. To make their intentions clear, Honda showed off the Earth Dreams 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine in the new Civic at Geneva, where experts drooled over the fuel economy of 78.5mpg and a very efficient power rating. By making sacrifices to power such as reducing the size of the engine, carbon emissions come way down. Other enhancements developed by the boffins at Honda make Earth Dreams an extremely exciting prospect, and in its 1.6 litre guise, a suitable addition to the already very capable 2012 Honda Civic line.