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Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype Shows Promise in Geneva

Concept design paves the way for 5-door, Type R models

Manufacturer
Mar 1, 2016
Writers: Guy Hermann, Alisa Priddle

The continued rollout of the 10th generation of the Honda Civic continues in Geneva with the global debut of the hatchback concept.

The hatchback -- a core European model -- will actually go on sale in the U.S. first this fall before it goes on sale in Europe early in 2017. It will be built at Honda of the UK Manufacturing and will be exported to the U.S.

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy

Honda first showed the sportier look of the new Civic coupe last year at the New York Auto Show, and it goes on sale next week. The sedan went on sale in November. The lineup gets a new turbocharged engine and will also include two performance versions. Officials are not saying when the Si will go on sale.

The Civic Type R will finally be sold in the U.S., likely next year, and it will be a hatch. The design will reflect the functional elements that need to be added for the performance car, said Daisuke Tsutamori, Civic global design leader.

He would not confirm a hybrid in the future but said the platform has the flexibility to add it.

Like the rest of the family, the hatch abandons the cab-forward design that the Civic has had for years to give it a long hood and short overhangs. The new one is 5.1 inches longer, 1.2 inches wider, and almost an inch lower than the outgoing five-door. It has new larger and wider wheels.

Honda Civic Hatchback front three quarter Photo 8/18   |   Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype Shows Promise in Geneva

It's the largest member of the Civic family, and Tsutamori said it's also the sportiest because it targets a younger buyer with an active lifestyle who wants functionality and performance.

"This is the sportiest by far," he said in an interview at the Geneva auto show where the five-door concept debuted in gray with touches of the same bright green as the coupe concept.

"The Civic had become a more rational car which we didn't want," Tsutamori said. "That is the reason for the radical change." He said the Civic is a car that has been allowed to change dramatically with each generation.

It has pronounced double spoilers in the back. The top spoiler directs air to the bottom spoiler to stabilize the car at high speeds, Tsutamori said. The lower spoiler has been placed lower to not impede visibility. Most enticing: twin exhausts.

In front, there are new LED running lights and large air intakes. Along the side is a swage line that incorporates the door handles and flows into the C-shaped LED rear lights. A second, lower character line extends from behind the front wheels up through the doors and to the rear wheel arches.

Honda Civic Hatchback rear three quarters Photo 12/18   |   Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype Shows Promise in Geneva

Tsutamori said door handles were added "to underline the expectation of full-size rear passenger space in this car."

For the U.S., the Civic hatch, like the sedan and coupe, gets Honda's new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and choice of a six-speed automatic transmission or CVT (continuously variable transmission).

Honda did a full remake for the 2012 model year which was criticized for skimping on quality in both look and ride. Honda responded with an update for 2013 and made some powertrain changes for the 2014 model year.

The Honda Civic was the sixth best-selling car in the U.S. last year, with 335,384 sold, a 3-percent increase over 2014.

 

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