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Paris show: Honda Civic wagon set to roll again

Civic pride: Honda’s new Civic hatch is set to spawn this wagon in Europe, possibly in 2014.

Honda teases Civic wagon and promises a concept in Europe next year

Honda logo1 Oct 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

HONDA is planning to bring back the Civic wagon in a move that raises the prospect of a born-again Civic Shuttle – the popular all-wheel drive small load lugger of the 1980s.

Honda Motor Europe president Manabu Nishimae flashed up a sketch of the small crossover vehicle at the Paris motor show, saying it would be a derivative of the European Civic and would be shown in concept form next year.

It is unclear if the crossover vehicle will come to Australia alongside the current eighth-generation Civic hatch that is also made in Honda’s Swindon plant in England, but as it will be made in right-hand drive for the UK, it seems distinctly possible.

Mr Nishimae announced the wagon as part of a Civic model expansion in Europe, also confirming a new-generation Civic Type-R for production in 2015 (see previous report).

The wagon teaser sketch shows an elongated Civic five-door hatchback with the same disguised back door handles in the C pillars as the current five-door hatch, and a roof line that extends out over the rear hatch in a form of spoiler.

While the current Civic hatch has a sloping, liftback rear hatch, the wagon gets a more vertical rear gate to increase load capability.

15 center imageFrom top: Honda Motor Europe president Manabu Nishimae 2013 Honda CR-Z.

Unlike conventional wagons, the Civic concept appears to show no glass side windows behind the C pillar, meaning rear visibility will be compromised.

Mr Nishimae also spelled out roll-out plans for the Honda's new Earth Dreams engine family, saying all existing petrol and diesel engines would be replaced in European models within three years.

Honda Australia will get the new 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine in both Civic hatch and all-new CR-V, with the diesel version of the latter exported Down Under from the Swindon plant in the UK for the first time from next year.

In Civic, the diesel engine will deliver what Honda claims are class-leading CO2 emissions of 94 grams per kilometre.

It says the engine will be the lightest engine in its class and deliver 300Nm of torque at 1500 rpm for “an exceptional mix of sprightly performance, agile handling and low emissions”.

The Civic wagon concept is likely to be unveiled at the 2013 Geneva motor show, ahead of a later 2013 or 2014 showroom launch in Europe.

No details of powertrains or performance were offered, but based on Mr Nishimae’s Earth Dreams engine timetable, it seems certain to get the new Earth Dreams line-up in both petrol and diesel forms.

The original Civic wagon – known in most markets as the Shuttle – was launched in the third-generation Civic range in 1985, first with front-wheel drive and then in part-time all-wheel drive.

In 1987 when the fourth-generation Civic arrived, the Shuttle gained Honda’s Real-Time all-wheel drive that employed a viscous coupler to transfer drive to the rear wheels when the front wheels slipped The Shuttle died with the fifth generation Civic in 1991, although the old model continued in production for a few more years in Japan.

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