New Honda Civic concept previews style rethink

The uniquely ‘humpbacked’ stance of the current Honda Civic will be consigned to history next year, when an all-new model goes on sale based on the styling concept pictured here.

The new-look Honda Civic has been previewed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and Auto Express was granted an early interview with the chief designer to find out more about the upcoming 10th-generation hatchback.

While the Honda Civic concept car you see here is strictly for modelling purposes, it gives us a good idea of how the new model will look when it hits showrooms in February next year. 

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Principal designer, Diasuke Tsutamori told Auto Express: “This prototype is already on a very close level to mass production. When you see the final car, you will probably think it’s still the prototype.”

Honda Civic concept – Geneva show front with lights

It’s a stark departure from the current car, which has often been criticised for its divisive styling. At the front, you’ll notice the short overhangs and large air intakes, as well as all-new LED headlamps that give the car a fresh look. Unfortunately, the green foglights don’t meet current EU legislation!

Along the side there’s a sculpted line that runs the length of the car, breaking by the rear door handle to emphasise the rear haunches. A high bootlid and that familiar visibility-sneering spoiler finish it off, but Tsutamori insists that the now one-piece rear window will make manoeuvring infinitely easier than before. 

“The current Civic has two weak points”, he said. “One is the rear visibility and the other is the high stance from the rear view.

Honda Civic concept – Geneva show side

“These two points were eliminated with the new design. We have lowered the rear spoiler and reduced its thickness. The window is now just one sheet so you do not have obstacles limiting your rear view.” 

New 10th generation Civic Type R ‘under consideration’

Distinctive C-shaped LED rear lights mark out the car at night, while the dual exhausts are likely only to feature on the most powerful Civic Type R versions. And while Tsutamori and his team wouldn’t confirm a hotter 10th-generation car, he hinted that such a car is under consideration. 

“You can take it as a fact that this Civic hatchback already has enough material and talent in order to make a Type R out of it”, he said.

Honda Civic concept – Geneva show front/side

It takes its inspiration from the US-market Civic Coupe, adding a pair of doors and a useful hatchback at the rear. It certainly looked the part in our Frankfurt studio, though the true test will come when it sits alongside mainstream rivals on UK and European roads later down the line.

Tsutamori told us: “We knew we needed to create a striking and stand-out exterior design that challenged conventional European styling. The result is a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality.”

Improved practicality and versatility for the new Civic

As this car is a prototype, Honda has left out a few key components. If you’re wondering what it looks like inside, you’ll need to wait a little longer – this car doesn’t have a dashboard or even seats. We therefore can’t comment on interior design, quality or even headroom, for our model’s doors were firmly locked.

That said, like Tsutamori insisted earlier, the new car will offer practicality and versatility on a par with its closest rivals. The new car is 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer than the current car. Bosses assure us the large wheels and long wheelbase of the prototype will remain, hinting at a sportier yet roomier family hatchback. 

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Honda Civic concept – Geneva show full front

“The decisive factor is the human being. We believe the amount of space in this car is absolutely sufficient in order to fulfil that requirement. Practicality is always key in our design.”

The show car is without engine either, though Honda has confirmed the production car will be the first in its range to feature the new 1.0 and 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engines, along with a heavily revised 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel. 

It’ll be built at the brand’s manufacturing facility in Swindon, UK, and confirms a £215m investment in new technology and processes that will be in place when the car goes into production later this year.

Get all the latest news from the 2016 Geneva Motor Show here…

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