Honda has announced full details of the tenth-generation Civic, which will make its official debut at the Paris motor show later this month.
It features all-new styling, sits on a brand new platform and packs a fresh range of turbocharged, VTEC-equipped petrol engines. And significantly for those who saw previous generations as a step away from Honda's engineering heritage, the rear end is once again independently suspended.
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Styled by Daisuke Tsutamori, the latest Civic's shape was penned with European tastes specifically in mind. While the concept was initially a little difficult to stomach, the shape has mellowed in the production car - though it's still closer in spirit to the wild shapes of the last two generations than the more mature look sported by cars like the VW Golf, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane.
It's better-proportioned than before though, thanks to a 30mm wider, 130mm longer body, while it's also 20mm lower. LED daytime running lights are of course present and correct, and higher-spec versions will have full LED headlights too.
The shape liberates more interior volume, and despite the new rear suspension setup boot space has barely decreased, from 487 to 478 litres. There's a higher-quality look than before (though again, there's more visual clutter than in many rivals) while a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Functions can also be controlled by a thumbpad on the steering wheel.
Under the skin the changes are even more significant. Despite a 52 per cent increase in torsional stiffness the shell is 16kg lighter than that of the old car, while suspension, for the first time since the seventh-generation Civic, is once again fully independent all-round, with struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear. Bushes are fluid-filled to the benefit of ride and NVH. Adaptive damping will be available on some models.
Two engines will initially be available, both petrol-fuelled and both using both turbocharging and Honda's VTEC valve timing and lift control.
The entry-level unit is a 1-litre, three-cylinder unit producing a healthy (for a 1-litre) 127bhp at 5500rpm. Torque, at 148lb ft from 2250rpm with the manual gearbox, is also strong for its capacity, and should give Honda a suitable challenger for Ford's 1-litre EcoBoost-powered Focus models.
The 1-litre is also available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven simulated "gears", which has a slightly lower 133lb ft torque peak, but spreads it all the way from 1700-4500rpm.
For the time being, a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged VTEC unit will top the range. With 180bhp it offers significantly greater punch than the old 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol model (and it's not far off the 200bhp of the seventh- and eighth-gen Civic Type Rs). It's torquier too, with 177lb ft from 1900-5000rpm with the six-speed manual, and 162lb ft from 1700-5500rpm with the CVT.
And what of the Type R? That too should continue, and we may even see a concept version of the next Honda hot hatch alongside the production car in Paris. Pricing and full specification will be available nearer to the car's launch.
Visit our sister site Carbuyer for a review of the current standard Honda Civic.