This, minus the concept car fripperies, is the all-new tenth-generation Honda Civic hatchback. It will go on sale in the UK and the rest of Europe in early 2017 and be built in Swindon, following a 270 million euro investment in the Wiltshire plant.
Seem a little soon for a new Civic to arrive? You can blame the late introduction of the Civic Type R and Civic Estate for that, because the current car has actually been around since 2011. This concept isn’t quite the full-fat shock it seems either – sedan and three-door coupe versions of the new Civic were revealed in the US late last year and are already on sale across the Atlantic. This, as you will have noticed, is a five-door hatch, very much tailored to our particular European tastes.
So, what can we glean from this first look? The rear door handle is not longer hidden in the C-pillar for one, but more broadly speaking it’s a far sleeker shape compared to the current model’s clunky silhouette. To put that in numbers, it’s 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer, which means even more space inside, as well as the lower-slung look.
You can forget the twin-exhausts, gaping air intakes and under body extensions on the boggo petrols and diesels that most of us will buy, but they are good clues to how a new, less chavvy Type R could look. We’re fans of those bold C-shaped taillights, though, connected by a brake light that spans the rear screen, obscuring rear visibility in true Civic style.
There’s news under the bonnet too, because even Honda can no longer resist the lure of turbos. Joining the 2.0-litre already fitted to the Type R is a pair of new VTEC Turbos – a 1.0-litre three-pot and a 1.5 four-cylinder. In fact we’ve already driven a 127bhp prototype version of the former. The existing 1.6 i-DTEC is tweaked for less friction and better fuel efficiency, too.
Daisuke Tsutamori, design leader for the project had this to say: “We knew that we needed to create a striking and stand-out exterior design that challenged conventional European compact styling while staying true to the original Civic’s core values. The result is a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality.”
So, what do we think readers? Could this be a big win for UK manufacturing, or has Tsutamori and his team played it too safe?