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.

Continue reading for the full story.

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!

2015 Honda Civic Concept

2015 Honda Civic Concept Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review here.

Press Release

As we take major steps to further strengthen and align our product portfolio around the changing preferences of our customers, growth opportunities in the marketplace and the needs of society, we are rolling out incredible new products that are creating the strongest and most fuel efficient lineup in our history.

This effort is keyed to a new generation of powertrain technologies, including more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions and new hybrid systems. As a result, our high-volume products of today including Fit, Civic and Accord on the passenger car side and HR-V, CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey on the light truck side, are already achieving best-in-class fuel economy.

We will further advance this leadership with the launch this fall of an all-new 10th-generation Civic that will deliver fun-to-drive performance in concert with top-in-class fuel efficiency and safety. With two new engines on the new Civic, including our first turbo engine, we are targeting class-leading fuel economy for Civic, with EPA highway fuel economy a few ticks above 40 miles per gallon.

Due, in part to this ability to advance fuel economy through conventional engine technology, the Civic lineup will no longer include a hybrid or a natural gas model, as we will discontinue production of both of these products with the end of the 2015 model year.

Honda has promoted CNG-powered vehicles for many years. For most of the past 15 years we have been the only automaker with a dedicated CNG vehicle. Despite this commitment, the infrastructure for natural gas refueling and consumer demand remains a challenge. Production of the Civic Natural Gas model has been completed at our Indiana plant, but we will continue to provide a high level of service to our existing customers through CNG-certified Honda dealers.

The Civic Hybrid has played a very important role in helping promote customers’ appreciation for hybrid technology and is presently the only hybrid variant of a mainstream compact sedan. For the future we will place our focus more on our two-motor hybrid system, where we feel we can meet the needs and expectations of customers for hybrids and achieve greater reduction of CO2 emissions.

We will not be offering a plug-in version of Accord going forward as we look toward the scheduled launch of a new dedicated plug-in model. But we will expand application of our innovative two- and three-motor hybrid systems in the coming years. The Accord Hybrid is already the most fuel-efficient 5-passenger sedan in America, and the new Accord Hybrid set to debut in early 2016 will raise the bar with the next-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system for even greater fuel economy and performance. Further, enhancements to production methods for the two-motor system will help lead to a strong increase in Accord Hybrid sales.

We are also working to advance electrified vehicles to meet the diverse needs and wants of environmentally conscious customers. We are developing an entirely new generation of vehicles starting from the introduction in 2016 of our next-generation fuel cell vehicle. This will be followed by an all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model.

So, Honda is committed to offering vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy today through a new generation of powertrain technology. We’re developing an entire new generation of electrified vehicles that will continue our leadership tomorrow. And in the process we are creating the strongest and most balanced vehicle lineup in our history.

We remain committed to our vision for more sustainable mobility, and we are excited to be introducing a fantastic lineup of products that are more fun and more fuel efficient than ever before.

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