Tenth Generation Honda Civic Will Be Revealed This Fall
With the 10th-generation Civic on the way for 2016, Honda’s taking a step back to rethink the approach it’s taken to this car, and there are some surprising changes in store—including the imminent demise of the 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid and the CNG-powered 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas.
Wait, seriously? The manufacturer that introduced the world’s first hybrid and prides itself on offering an eco-friendly vehicle lineup is dumping its alt-fuel versions?
According to a recent Honda press release, it is true. Honda’s going to be concentrating on improving fuel efficiency through conventional means. The new Civic will also feature Honda’s first turbocharged engine. That’s not a huge surprise; other manufacturers, including Mazda, Ford and Mini have all produced small cars with hybrid-challenging fuel economy using conventional methods. And in the marketplace, the lower cost of non-hybrids often wins out. Honda, long an innovator in small engines, seems to be going in the same direction with the turbo Civic. The company says the gasoline version of the next-generation Civic is expected to return 40 mpg or more on the freeway. At that point, the $7,000 trade-off for another 7 mpg in the Civic Hybrid is hard to swallow!
Additionally, the Civic Hybrid was a relatively low-profile car, especially when compared to the Toyota Prius, the electric Nissan Leaf and range-extended electrics like the Chevy Volt. It appears that many hybrid buyers want to wear battery power on their sleeves, so to speak, and the low-key Civic Hybrid suffered the same cost penalties as other hybrids without offering the same green-snob appeal. Honda does plan to continue improving the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, so it’s not walking away entirely.
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Why it matters
As for the car itself, the updated styling direction is clear from the 2015 Honda Civic Concept, unveiled at the New York Auto Show this year. The lime-green coupe shows off sleek styling and an aggressive front end with a wide, one-piece grille and headlight combo similar to what we’ve seen on the Accord, CR-V and Honda’s larger SUVs.
The new Civic sports sculpted body sides and, on the concept car at least, a dramatic side-to-side taillight unit that would look pretty amazing on the road, should it make it to production. Expect the upcoming Civic Si, which gets a boost in performance, to look a lot like the Civic Concept, and the working-class coupe and sedan models to feature slightly toned-down versions of the look.
The Honda Civic could use a win. It’s not so much that the perennial best-selling compact’s star has dimmed—it’s just that all the other stars have gotten so much brighter. After many years of having only the Toyota Corolla to compete with in terms of volume production and quality, the Honda faces a subcompact market that has exploded in the past decade, as well as a new generation of premium compacts that are raising expectations across the board. Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Chevrolet have all dramatically improved their subcompact game, so there are more serious alternatives to the Civic than ever.
This fact doesn’t seem to be lost on Honda, and it looks like it’s pulling out all the stops to reclaim the spotlight with this car. We’ll find out for sure this fall!
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