The hot hatch we’ve been waiting for is closer than ever to returning to the U.S.

It’s been 11 years since a hatchback version of the Honda Civic terrorized the streets of America. The years have definitely piled up and for a while, it appeared that the Civic hatch would be left well out of reach of American customers. But just as it started feeling like the hot hatch would be one of our unicorns, Honda flipped the script an announced that the 10th-generation Civic hatchback will in fact head across the Atlantic. This brings is to the 2016 Geneva Motor Show where Honda finally pulled the covers off of the model. It’s described as a prototype, but we all know that this version is about as close to a production as any version of the new Civic hatchback is going to be.

For now, let’s refer to it by it’s official name: Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype. After all, Honda hasn’t made any concrete statements regarding the future of the car. The new Civic Hatchback Prototype comes with an array of upgrades over its predecessor. These upgrades help the hot hatch exudes a stronger, sharper, and more imposing presence as it prepares to venture in certain markets and regions it hasn’t been into for a little more than a decade now.

As good as the Civic hatchback has been for Honda in the past 11 years, it’s still considered a relative mystery by certain pockets of the American population, a lot of whom probably don’t remember what the last iteration looked and felt like. Well, the mystery is about to be answered as Honda showcases the 10th-generation Civic Hatchback Prototype in Geneva.

Moving forward, Honda expects the new hatchback to be available in Europe by 2017. Models headed to the U.S. should follow suit in a matter months after its European debut.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype
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    1.0 L
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
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2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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The obvious takeaway from the Civic Hatchback Prototype is how big and awesome it looks. Granted, spy shots of the car doing some test runs have given us hints on what to expect, but without any camouflage obstructing our view, we can see clearly now how dynamic the car really is.

The new hatchback is 5.1 inches longer, 1.8 inches wider, and 0.7 inches lower than the model it'll eventually succeed

For starters, the new hatchback is 5.1 inches longer, 1.8 inches wider, and 0.7 inches lower than the model it’ll eventually succeed. As for its design, the front end bears an obvious similarity with the sedan version. The LED headlights and the daytime running lights running underneath them are all there. The radiator grille and the chrome louvre are also present in the hatchback version. That said, there are a few exceptions, including the sharper front bumper that houses the larger air intakes and the fog lamps. The hatchback also has a bit of an overhang with the intakes, but all it does is add to the sportier look of the hatchback compared to the sedan. A front spoiler lip also adds to that aggressive appearance.

The side profile of the Civic Hatchback Prototype is nearly identical to the sedan version. It’s got the same character line that runs from the front wheel arches and passes through the door handles before settling in on the taillights. The more distinctive can be found from just behind the wheel, rising up to through the doors all the way to the rear wheel arches. Honda says that these lines help emphasize the hatchback’s forward-leaning stance. We have no disagreements there.

Moving to the rear, we immediately see a super aggressive bumper that has angular creases and enormous vents. This design further emphasizes the sporty intentions of the hatch, echoing what Honda has done on the front and sides of the car. The hatch also uses the same C-shaped LED taillights that Honda found a way to somehow integrate into the rear spoiler, creating a smart and unified look. One big difference between the sedan and hatchback versions of the Civic is the positioning of the tailpipes. Whereas the sedan had them on opposite ends of the rear, the hatchback version has them neatly positioned together in the middle, right below the rear fascia.


2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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In a bit of a surprise, the windows of the Civic Hatchback Prototype have been blacked out, rendering it nearly impossible to get a good look at the car’s interior. This has raised a few questions about what Honda’s plans are for this section of the Civic hatch. On the one hand, it’s possible that the cabin will retain a lot of the features of the sedan version. That should include the touchscreen display, the digital instrument cluster, the layered dashboard, and the plush seats. But here’s the thing. If it’s really that similar, why the need to keep it a surprise? Clearly, Honda’s keeping something about the interior under wraps, leading us to think that there’s more to the Civic Hatchback Prototype’s interior than what Honda’s letting us on.


2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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the car will receive three different engines, including two new gas-powered engines and a revised diesel unit

Give Honda some credit in this regard. Despite the secrecy behind the prototype’s interior, the automaker has announced that the car will receive three different engines, including two new gas-powered engines and a revised diesel unit. The first is a direct-injected 1.0-liter engine that can produce north of 130 horsepower. The second is a bigger 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC TURBO engine that could potentially have 200 ponies. The last is an improved take of Honda’s popular 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel engine that puts out 120 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

It’s unclear if the output numbers will be similar on Civic Hatchback or if U.S.-spec versions would receive the same engines. There’s a possibility that the engine options for Civic Hatchback models earmarked for this region could include the 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s already available in the LX and EX trims of the Civic sedan. That engine produces 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque.


2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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With the hot hatch segment becoming more and more popular these days, I’m still baffled that Honda didn’t bring the Civic hatchback to the U.S. a lot sooner. But yes, the saying “better late than never” applies here and I’m over the moon excited to see the model make its long-awaited return. As far as the prototype is concerned, I have a suggestion for Honda. Keep it the way it is. Don’t change anything! The design is the embodiment of what a hot hatch should be, even though it doesn’t have the Type R badge yet. Speaking of which, can you imagine what the new Type R model is going to look like? Is it too early to dream, Honda?

  • Leave it
    • What’s the deal with the interior?
    • Is it too early to ask for the Type R?
    • Timetable still uncertain
Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Prototype of the next-generation Civic hatchback makes global premiere at 2016 Geneva Motor Show

2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Assertive stance and provocative new design establishes 10thgeneration as the sportiest Civic ever
Low, wide proportions and long wheelbase promise engaging driving dynamics while maximising interior space
First European vehicle to be available with Honda’s all-new 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engines Further improvements made to existing 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine
New Civic hatchback will be available in Europe early in 2017 and will be built at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM)

The next-generation Civic hatchback makes its global debut in prototype form at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The design of the prototype heralds a significant step-change from previous versions of Honda’s core European model, focusing on provocative design and rewarding driving dynamics.

Jean-Marc Streng, General Manager of Honda Motor Europe, Automobile Division, commented: “The Civic is a core model for Europe with a strong sales and manufacturing heritage in the region. For many European customers, Civic is synonymous with the Honda brand. The all-new Civic hatchback continues this tradition, and we hope will continue to be a key volume pillar for the European business. We are excited to be developing this next generation model and look forward to its introduction in early 2017.”

A distinctive design and sportier Civic

The all-new Civic hatchback will be 30 mm wider, 20 mm lower and 130 mm longer than the current generation. New larger and wider wheels and tyres give a feeling of an assured stance, while the long wheelbase, short overhangs and sleek cabin area further add to the dynamic feel of the exterior.

At the front of the car, a short overhang with large air intakes presents a sharp and aggressive interpretation of Honda’s family face. LED headlights and daytime running lights flow from beneath the boldly sculpted bonnet into accentuated wheel arches.

2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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The sleek and swept-back body lines continue along the side of the car with a swage line that incorporates front and rear door handles before culminating in the distinctive C-shaped LED rear lights. A second, lower character line extends from behind the front wheels up through the doors and meets the rear wheel arches, emphasising the car’s dynamic forward-leaning stance. At the rear, the bumper incorporates angular creases and vents, designed to echo the aggressively styled nature of the rest of the car.

Daisuke Tsutamori, Project Leader for the styling of the Prototype provides an insight into how the distinctive design was conceived and realised: “We knew that we needed to create a striking and stand-out exterior design that challenged conventional European compact styling while staying true to the original Civic’s core values. The result is a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality.”

New turbocharged powertrain options deliver improved driving experience

The all-new Civic Hatchback will feature a range of three powertrain options: 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engines, and a revised 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel unit. Civic will be the first European model to feature the two all-new petrol engines.

The all-new engines are part of Honda’s growing Earth Dreams Technology range and aim to deliver a combination of dynamic performance, a class-leading output for their displacement and excellent fuel economy.

Based on a completely new engine structure and harnessing newly developed turbo systems, the petrol engines feature variable valve motion technology to reduce friction and achieve class-leading output and environmental performance. A turbocharger with a low moment of inertia and high responsiveness, together with direct injection technology seek to achieve an optimum balance between high output and torque, above those of conventional naturally-aspirated engines.

A revised version of Honda’s popular and efficient 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine - unique to European Honda vehicles– will be offered alongside the two new petrol engines. The common rail turbo-diesel unit incorporates extensive technologies that reduce friction, improve emissions and increase fuel economy. The engine features a small, high-efficiency turbocharger, low-pressure EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system and a high-intake flow, high-swirl cylinder head port. A new high-strength, lightweight slender crankshaft and all-aluminium, open-deck, high-pressure, die-cast engine block makes the unit lightweight while ensuring high levels of durability.

2016 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype High Resolution Exterior
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10th generation Civic hatchback to be built in Europe and exported globally

Honda’s European production facility, Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM), will become the global production hub for the 10th generation Civic hatchback. Honda has confirmed investment of €270m in new production technologies and processes to prepare for the new model, which will be exported around the world, including the US. The investment is part of a long-term vision for the European plant in Honda’s global operations.

Jason Smith, Director of HUM, commented, “By establishing HUM as a global production facility for the all-new Civic hatchback, Honda is demonstrating its long-term commitment to manufacturing in the UK and Europe.

This is incredibly important for HUM and is a reward for the commitment and effort put in by Honda associates in recent years. As a global production facility for the Civic hatchback we look forward to making the most of the opportunity to export this model not only to our European customers, but also to key global markets.”

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