Honda unveils stunning new Civic
NEW YORK — 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.
“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 10th-generation appearance abandons the cab-forward design that the Civic has had for years to give it a long hood and sense of more power. 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.
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.
While only a concept version of the coupe was shown, the first next-generation Civic to go on sale will be the sedan in the fall. Mendel said the production version of what he calls the “epic Civic” will hew closely to the looks of the concept. The coupe and hatchback will follow.
While he would not confirm that a hybrid version will be made, Mendel said that a Civic Type-R, a sport version found outside the U.S., will be coming to American showrooms. Among the engine choices in the Civic will be a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. It will also come with a CVT, or continuously variable transmission.
Honda Civic remains one of the nation’s best-selling cars. Honda sold 66,722 in the first three months of the year, down 6.2% from the same period a year ago. But through the years, its image has bounced from compact and exciting to reliable but dull.
With the new one, analysts say Honda could help put Civic’s styling doldrums behind it. “The 2016 Civic should correct that trajectory, offering styling and performance that will stand out in the crowded compact car segment,” says Karl Brauer, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.
Besides the longer front hood, the wheels are closer to the front bumper to give a more racy feel.
To also make the car look cool, the concept is being shown with huge 20-inch wheels, making it look even more substantial.
“We really tried to go beyond the superficial of the current car,” Melville-Brown says.
Source: USA TODAY