Concept previews Honda’s larger, roomier and more efficient family hatchback
Honda’s 10th-generation Civic hatchback has been previewed at the Geneva motor show with a closeto-production concept car. The new Civic hatchback previewed by the Geneva concept will be closely related to the 10th-generation coupé and saloon, which have already been launched in other markets. It will have a range of turbocharged engines and will grow into one of the biggest cars in its segment.
Honda says that it is 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer than the current car, making it 140mm longer than a Focus and 245mm longer than a Golf. Those dimensions should result in a far more spacious cabin. The concept is being shown without an interior, but it is understood that the design is similar to that of the saloon and coupé, which have a touch-sensitive central display and an instrument display incorporating a TFT screen. Don’t expect the basic production version to share the concept’s 19-inch alloys or vast brake calipers, but aerodynamic details such as the twin rear wing elements (one high and one low) are likely to make it to production.
The Civic will be launched with three engines, of which the two petrol ones are new. These are both turbocharged VTECs, with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder. Power and economy figures haven’t yet been released, but the 1.5-litre produces a quoted 174bhp in the US-spec Civic saloon and it’s understood the 1.0-litre will be at least as potent as the 100bhp 1.6-litre engine in the current base Civic. The smaller petrol engine should emit under 100g/km of CO2. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine will continue in the new car, albeit with more power and a lower CO2 output than the current car’s 120bhp and 94g/km.
A six-speed manual gearbox will be standard, with a CVT automatic as an option. The Type R will use a development of the current model’s 300bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged motor. All five-door Civics will be produced at Honda’s Swindon plant, with sales starting in the first quarter of next year. There’s no official line on pricing, but a £17,000 starting price is likely.
Driving the Saloon
The Civic’s staggered launch means we’ve already driven a prototype version of the 10th-generation saloon in the US, sampling both the new 1.5-litre engine and CVT gearbox. The motor is impressively sweet, revving without obvious lag and pulling hard. The CVT gearbox is less impressive, slurring its gearing and sending the engine revving when asked to accelerate, but we can expect the European Civic to be substantially retuned.
It feels impressively fast, though, with far more low-down torque than any previous Civic has managed. What we don’t know is whether the European 1.5 will have as much power. The chassis will need work before the hatchback is launched here, with the US Civic having limited front-end grip when pressed and lots of roll under hard cornering. The basics are good, though, with decent steering feel behind light assistance and an excellent ride over broken surfaces. The saloon is impressively quiet at cruising speeds. It was also spacious and had a real sense of solidity.