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Tenth-gen Honda Civic sedan is go for Oz

Civic duty: This is the American-spec Civic sedan, but expect the Australian version to carry slightly different design characteristics that will be unique to our region.

Completely new Honda Civic sedan set to arrive Down Under in mid-2016

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Honda logo18 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

HONDA has wheeled out its next-generation Civic sedan, and the sportier, more aggressively styled four-door is headed to Australia.

While the sedan revealed this week is the North American-spec version of the tenth-generation car, it will hit Australian shores in mid-2016 with design characteristics that will be unique to the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the skin is a new global platform that will underpin the car in international markets, a new suite of in-car tech, and major improvements to ride, handling and interior comfort.

Honda Nth America is calling the new-gen model “the most ambitious remake of Civic ever,” and it has lofty ambitions, stating that the new-from-the-ground-up design was “intended to recapture the sporty character of Civic while creating the world's best compact car”.

In the United States, the Civic will eventually be offered in sedan, coupe and hatch guise and, for the first time, a Type R variant will be offered in the region.

As the coupe is not built in right-hand drive configuration, it will not be made available in Australia.

However, the as-yet unseen hatch will almost certainly find its way Down Under, but timing is unclear. The wild Type R hot hatch that is based on the current-gen hatch is also yet to be locked in for an Australian launch.

A pair of new powertrains will be offered in the US starting with a 2.0-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder unit matched with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in lower-grade variants.

Higher-spec versions get a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine – Honda America’s first ever turbo – paired with a “unique” CVT. This engine will sit under the bonnet of Australian-spec versions.

The Japanese car-maker is yet to announce performance figures, but it says it is targeting fuel economy ratings of about 40 miles per gallon, which roughly equates to 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

Currently in Australia, the ninth-gen sedan is powered by a 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol unit – except for the Sport, which uses a 114kW/190Nm 2.0-litre engine.

The use of ultra high-strength steel in the body means torsional rigidity has improved by 25 per cent over the outgoing US-spec model, aerodynamic performance has lifted by 12 per cent thanks to the use of underbody covers, while the body is 31kg lighter than before.

Noise-reducing elements such as a flush-mounted acoustic windscreen, triple-sealed doors and a more tightly sealed engine compartment have made for big improvements in noise, vibration and harshness levels, which Honda is calling “class leading”.

Hydraulic compliance bushings are aimed at providing the car with a more refined ride quality and better dynamic performance, while other new chassis tech includes variable gear ratio steering, bigger anti-roll bars front and rear and an Agile Handling Assist torque vectoring system.

The Civic’s cabin gets a complete overhaul too, with more space than ever before, including 50mm more rear legroom, ultra-thin A-pillars for improved forward visibility and a boot that offers 74 litres more volume.

While specification will vary depending on the region, the US Civic gains the Honda Sensing suite of active safety tech that includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and a lane keeping aid.

The new Civic also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, operated via the 7.0-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen.

In terms of exterior styling, the Civic carries design cues from the Civic coupe concept that was revealed at this year’s New York motor show, including the C-shaped LED tail-lights and the new LED headlights, and its aggressive low-slung sporty stance and chunky wheel arches.

The hip point in the new Civic sedan is 25mm lower than before, its overall width has grown by 50mm, it is 25mm lower, and has a wheelbase 30mm longer, while incorporating shorter front overhangs and a longer nose.

While more details and local specifications are expected leading up to its arrival, it is believed Honda Australia will continue to source the Civic sedan from Thailand. The hatch is built in the United Kingdom.

The current model went on sale in early 2012 and the hatch arrived a few months after it.

Civic sales have fluctuated since the arrival of the ninth-gen version, with Honda selling 11,442 in 2012, its first year on sale, before hitting a high of 14,261 in 2013, which dropped by almost half to 7878 last year.

So far this year Honda has shifted 3019 Civics, a 47.8 per cent tumble over the same period last year. This has no doubt been impacted by the runaway success of the HR-V compact crossover that lobbed earlier this year and which has quickly gone on to be one of the segment’s top sellers.

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