EXCLUSIVE 2015 New York: Honda steals the show with new Civic Concept, announces Type-R coming to US

If you have been following the New York Auto Show and, like us, were a bit disappointed with the lack of surprises, we feel your pain. Thankfully, Honda had something rolled up their sleeve Wednesday afternoon, and it emerged in the form of a concept that offers a pretty clear glimpse of the next-generation Civic Coupe.

The lime green Civic Concept takes the design language of the five-door hatch that is already available in other markets and repurposes it well for a 2-door profile. Honda called this the most “dynamic and stylish” Civic ever built, and while we’re not completely convinced of that claim, the concept certainly represents a step in the right direction after the current generation’s stale appearance.

While the coupe has been a historically US-centric affair, the project’s chief exterior designer, Guy Melville-Brown, was quick to point out that the concept was designed to complement versions of the car offered around the world, including the hatch which will be sold on our shores beginning early next year.

“I think a real Civic is a car that should be for everyone,” Melville-Brown said. “As soon as you start to design too much for one demographic or these guys over here or over there, as much as it would appeal to them, it would no longer be a true Civic.”

Honda plans to expand the range even further in the US by finally, at long last, bringing over the Type-R. That renewed focus on performance and enthusiasm is palpable in the concept’s design.

“When you look back at Honda’s history…it’s had such a past in motor racing, they’ve always been these very sporty, fun-to-drive vehicles,” Melville-Brown added. “What we wanted to do with this vehicle was make it just as much of a heart purchase as a head purchase.”

Of course, looks alone don’t dictate sportiness, but at the moment Honda is remaining silent on the production coupe’s powertrain and chassis. What we know for sure is that the Civic range will feature an optional 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo mated to either a conventional 6-speed manual or CVT.

Another thing we know for sure: this screaming green concept (sans finished interior) certainly turned heads at the Jacob Javitz Center. And if Honda can follow that solid debut with a Civic that is engaging to drive for the first time in years, they’ll have a winner on their hands.

–Adam Ismail

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Honda Debuts Sportiest Civic Design in Brand History with 10th-Generation Civic Concept at New York International Auto Show

– 10th-generation, 2016 model year Civic focuses on sporty, fun-to-drive dynamics

– Civic lineup to include Sedan, Coupe, and 5-door Hatchback body types, as well as Si and Type-R versions

– First Honda model to apply new VTEC® Turbo engines in North America
Civic, America’s most popular small car is designed, developed and produced in North America

Today Honda unveiled its ultra-sporty Civic Concept at the New York International Auto Show as the brand prepares to launch its completely reimagined 10th-Generation Civic models beginning this fall. With a sharper focus on spirited performance and class-leading versatility, the new Civic lineup will include Civic Sedan, Coupe and Si models along with the return of the Civic hatchback, followed by the launch of a new Civic Type-R as the performance flagship of the Civic lineup. The new Civic also will be the first U.S. model to apply new VTEC® Turbo engines from the company’s Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrain series.

“The new Civic will be, flat out, the most dynamic, the most technologically advanced and the most refined and stylish Civic we’ve ever made,” said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “In every way, this will be an epic Civic.”

The Civic Concept provides a tantalizing glimpse forward to the thrilling design direction for the all-new 10th-generation Civic lineup launching in the U.S. this fall. Featuring a longer wheelbase and lower, wider stance, the new Civic emphasizes its aggressive personality and the engaging experience it will provide behind the wheel. Proportionally it boasts a longer hood, a shorter front overhang, a more set-back greenhouse and a shorter rear deck, lending the Civic a more athletic and “in motion” appearance.

The low and wide proportions are underscored by its more aggressive wheel-to-body relationship and pronounced fender arches. Its sporty and expressive face is highlighted by bright new LED headlights flanking the “Flying H” Honda grille which is supported by deeply sculpted lower air intakes.

“Charismatic, connected and athletic, our goal was to create a design that is emotional and sporty yet with a sense of timelessness and simplicity,” said Guy Melville-Brown, Chief Exterior designer of the Civic concept, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. “In this we set out to create a vehicle that goes beyond the superficial and embraces the very philosophy of what a true Civic should be; it’s a real game changer.”

The 10th-generation Civic is based on a compact platform that targets benchmark levels of efficiency, dynamic performance, safety and manufacturing productivity. Leveraging this new platform in conjunction with new Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrains – including a new 1.5-liter VTEC® Turbo engine with direct injection, a short-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, and a new, more sporty and efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) – the Civic will target class-leading fuel economy ratings and fun-to-drive performance with near-luxury levels of cabin quietness and ride refinement.

The new Civic will also target class-leading levels of safety performance and will offer the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control and Honda LaneWatch™, along with Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure.

The new Civic marks the first time that global development of both the sedan and coupe models is being led by a North American R&D team, with design led by a team from Honda’s Los Angeles design studio and development centered in the company’s Raymond, Ohio vehicle development center. The North American version of the Civic Sedan will be produced in Greensburg, Indiana, and in Alliston, Ontario. The Civic Coupe and Si models will also be manufactured in Alliston. The VTEC Turbo engine will be produced in Anna, Ohio with engines also produced in Alliston. The CVT will be produced in Russells Point, Ohio. Together, these four Honda plants have invested in new equipment, processes and training to prepare for new Civic production, which will use domestic and globally sourced parts. Production of the five-door hatchback will take place at the company’s Swindon, UK plant.

Honda is in the midst of a series of major product launches that began with the freshened CR-V – 2015 Motor Trend Sport Utility of the Year – and continues with the spring launch of the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V crossover and the summer launch of the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot SUV. This will be followed by the new Civic release beginning this fall.