Honda upstaged the New York Auto Show on Wednesday with a sharp new redesign of its Civic and vows to take its popular compact car back to its performance roots. Honda opened a new chapter in the Civic's life with a very attractive and engaging concept heralding the car's 10th generation.
The concept car brims with performance hooks, such as aggressive air intakes up front and a big wing in back. In coupe format, the Civic concept features a short overhang in back and a thin roof rail dropping fast towards the rear deck. The rear of the concept features geometric shaping framed by the taillight, a single element that runs from fender to fender, crossing the rear lip. It all ends at a single, flat tailpipe that looks fit for a supercar.
"This is the return of the sporty Civic," says John Mendel
Honda's executive vice president in the U.S. The company also announced a new turbocharged engine and more variants of the design — including a performance version and hatchback — than ever before.
The new one is a little longer and wider. In front there are new LED running lights and in back, a new wrap-around taillight design. Yet even with the changes, the car still has the unmistakable look of a Civic.
Besides the longer front hood, the wheels are closer to the front bumper to give a racier feel. To also make the car look cool, the concept is being shown with huge 20-inch wheels, making it look even more substantial.
The goal was to create "the most charismatic, most ambitious and most fun-to-drive and sportiest Civic we've ever made," says Guy Melville-Brown, who led the U.S. design team in the creation of the car expected to sell around the world.
Honda's press release specifies a 1.5-liter engine for the Civic using a turbocharger and direct injection. That type of engine should produce ample power for the compact Civic. It gets mated to either a continuously variable transmission, the automatic option, or a six-speed manual.
The Civic's sales still grew in the past five years as US auto sales returned to pre-recession levels, but the car was unable to gain any market share against the competition. The Civic's share has remained constant at 2.2 percent, according to Autodata Corp. Sales last year fell 3 percent to just under 326,000, but the Civic was still the second-best selling compact. Toyota's Corolla was first.
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