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New York show: Honda’s concept recharges next Civic

Mojo returns: The tenth-generation Honda Civic includes Type-R and goes global late this year with sportier styling and a new range of engines

Honda confirms US production this year but stays quiet on Australian plans


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2 Apr 2015

HONDA aims to get its mojo back with a wedge-shaped Civic concept unveiled at the New York motor show now confirmed as heading for production later this year.

The coupe, displayed in show-stopping lime green, will be followed by a hatchback and a sedan and are expected in United States showrooms from late this year, but it is unclear whether this will be the same Civic Australia will eventually get.

A Type R version has also been confirmed for American buyers, while the hatchback fills a gap in Honda’s American line-up, after missing in action for several years.

The tenth-generation Civic is the first to be designed in the US, and it took three years of development by two Honda facilities – Ohio for engineering and California for styling.

The North American version of the sedan will be built in Indiana, USA and Ontario, Canada, the coupe will be produced at the same Alliston, Ontario plant, and the hatch will be sourced from the Swindon, United Kingdom factory.

The Civic is built on a new platform and will be powered by Honda’s Earth Dreams range of fuel-efficient drivetrains.

Already confirmed for the US market is a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, making it the first turbo Civic to be sold in the US.

The range of petrol powerplants under the Earth Dreams umbrella also includes an aspirated 1.5-litre unit – as fitted to the current Jazz – and a 2.0-litre donk. The company’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also an Earth Dreams design, but there will be the option of a six-speed manual on some variants.

Honda said in a release that it will target class-leading fuel economy, as well as benchmark levels of “dynamic performance, safety and manufacturing productivity”. It will also aim for “near-luxury levels” of ride comfort and cabin quietness.

Speaking at the New York motor show this week, Honda’s chief exterior designer Guy Melville-Brown said the new Civic was longer, wider and lower than before and had a longer bonnet line.

“It shifts away from the car-forward design,” he said.

“This vehicle puts a huge focus back on the fun of driving. It’s the most epic, sportiest, most high-tech Civic ever made.” Compared with the current Civic, the concept features a windscreen moved back from the front wheels, a short front overhang and a longer rear overhang.

The low-slung coupe in the official press images shows that the next Civic will feature smiley-face styling at the front end with LED headlights, Honda’s ‘Flying H’ grille and sculpted lower air intakes.

Safety features include the Honda Sensing suite of gear, such as lane-departure and forward-collision warning multi-angle reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, and a new-generation body structure.

Honda is hopeful that the new style will bring back younger buyers, following a drop in US sales of three per cent in 2014 while the segment grew by 2.4 per cent. But it was still the second-biggest seller in the segment after the Toyota Corolla.

In Australia the model fared worse. In 2014 the Civic sold 7878 cars, down a massive 44.8 per cent on 2013. Its segment market share went to 3.4 per cent from 5.8 per cent in the same period.

For 2015, in January and February, 742 Civics were sold in Australia, a plunge of 55.6 per cent in a segment that slipped 9.1 per cent.

The Australian Civic line-up consists of the Thai-sourced sedan from $18,490, plus on-road costs, and the UK-built hatch from $21,650.

Honda Australia was not available for comment so it is unclear whether this US-focussed Civic is confirmed for a local launch.

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