Great Civic re­cep­tion

Honda’s lat­est con­cepts get a good re­ac­tion, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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