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Frankfurt show: Sneak peek at next Honda Civic hatch

Hatched: The first undisguised image of Honda's next-generation Civic hatch shows the UK-built car will retain the current model's angular rear design.

Honda gives us a first glimpse of new Civic hatch without camouflage

Honda logo1 Sep 2011

By MIKE COSTELLO

HONDA has given us the first glimpse of its next-generation British-built Civic hatchback in which it is bereft of body cladding and camouflage – well, at least a glimpse at part of it.

The Japanese company has so far issued several disguised shots, three technical videos and other related images ahead of the car’s public world debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 13.

While the disguised images indicated the new hatch would retain the current Civic Si’s wedge-like profile, the single new undisguised shot appears to confirm it.

The large, triangular tail lights and split rear window bear a strong family resemblance to the CR-Z hybrid sports coupe – due here at the end of the year – which itself harks back to the CRX coupe of the 1980s.

Like the current Swindon-built Civic hatch, a strip of lights run the whole width of the rear of the car, although on the new model they are set into a small ‘spoiler’ that divides the sharply-raked rear window.

Honda calls this “a rear combination light that works as an aerodynamic spoiler, managing air flow over the top and sides of the car.”

15 center imageLeft: Disguised Honda Civic hatch. Below: Forthcoming Civic sedan, current Civic Si hatch and CR-Z.

The car also appears to sit on more masculine haunches, with noticeably beefed-up rear wheelarches. The image obscures the back doors, so it is unclear whether the ninth-generation hatchback will retain the Alfa Romeo-esque hidden rear handles of its predecessor.

Honda says that “nearly all the body components have been redesigned with particular focus on ride and handling, reduced CO2 emissions, interior quality, while preserving the class-leading cabin and boot space and flexible practicality.

The claimed improvements to ride and handling will need to get around the retention of the previous car’s torsion-beam rear suspension rather than an independent multi-link set-up although Honda says its new Civic hatch will employ liquid-filled compliance bushings to improve ride comfort.

As GoAuto has reported, Honda Australia is also considering introducing a diesel-powered hatch variant to its Civic range for the first time, though no decision has been confirmed.

The next-generation Civic i-DTEC will be powered by an updated 2.2-litre diesel engine that has been boosted to 110kW and 350Nm of peak torque while emitting a lowly 110 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Just two versions of Honda’s current Civic hatch are currently available in Australia – the three-door Civic Type R hot-hatch ($39,990) and the five-door 1.8-litre Si, the starting price of which was recently reduced to $29,990 driveaway.

Honda Spokesperson Melissa Cross told GoAuto that: "it is in our plan to take the new Civic Si (hatch), however timing has not been confirmed for Australia as the car has been specifically designed for the European market and the priority is to satisfy these markets first."The global debut of the hatch will follow unveilings of the latest Civic in sedan and coupe forms at the Detroit motor show in January (as prototypes) and New York motor show in April (in production form).

Honda also says that it will display the facelifted 2012 Insight hybrid hatchback at Frankfurt, although it has not released any further information on what these updates may be. Expect the changes to be minor since the current generation was only released in 2010.

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