Great Civic reception
Honda’s latest concepts get a good reaction, writes Craig Duff
THE next-generation Civic will put Honda back in the smallcar game, judging by the reaction to the sedan and coupe concepts released at the Detroit Motor Show.
Honda Australia spokeswoman Melissa Cross says only the sedan will be sold here, starting late this year, but confirms the car will be available in petrol and hybrid versions.
Australian prices haven’t been set and the concepts were shown in ‘‘shell’’ form without an interior fitout, despite the fact the cars will go on sale in the next few months.
A rendering of the interior shows the familiar dual-cowl cockpit design with a digital speedo sitting above an analogue tachometer.
The cars have been designed by Chris Bangle, who left BMW in 2009.
Both concepts display a Bangleinspired edgier exterior look, influenced by his ‘‘flame’’ approach with BMW.
The windscreens are heavily raked with a pair of sculpted character lines sitting low along the sides and higher along the shoulder line.
The show cars have 19-inch rims, but the massive wheels are expected to be reduced when the cars go into production.
The coupe is clearly the sportsoriented version, with a centre exhaust outlet, rear diffuser and rear spoiler.
The sedan is a more conservative design, but still far more progressive than the current model, which has sold 1.5 million units since its launch in 2005.
The grille uses the traditional chromed Honda ‘‘ H’’ emblem, mounted in a solid bar and extending into the mesh-style grille.
Strip daytime running lights enhance the horizontal look at the front and the roof line flows straight into the short boot.
Honda didn’t reveal specifics about the engine, but says the petrol-electric hybrid model will use a lithium-ion battery for the first time, along with Eco-Assist technology to tell drivers when to change gears to maximise fuel efficiency.
‘‘The Civic is known for providing a balance of ‘just-right’ packaging, funto-drive character and outstanding fuel economy, at a price that even first-time buyers can afford,’’ Honda sales vice-president John Mendel says.
All Civic models with be fitted with electronic stability control, so will be eligible for a five-star rating if their other safety features pass the ANCAP testing criteria.
Plenty of interest: the Honda Civic concept on display in Detroit.