2017 Honda Civic revealed – plus exclusive Autocar images
The next-generation Honda Civic has been revealed in full; it’ll make its official debut at the end of the month, at the Paris motor show
The 10th-generation Civic has been created to “fight back”, according to Civic project boss Mitsuru Kiraya, who said at the Civic’s launch that the current car is “too conservative for younger buyers”. He added: “Markets have changed since this generation, while rivals have improved their offerings.”
The five-door hatchback will be followed by a new Civic Tourer estate and Type R hot hatch. However, the saloon and three-door variants, built primarily for the US market, won’t be offered in the UK. The current estate accounts for 20% of Civic sales and the Type R, a halo product for the brand, makes up 4%.
Like its predecessor, the new Civic will be built at Honda’s Swindon plant. The factory is the new global production hub for the Civic, with Honda confirming a £200 million investment in new production technologies and processes.
Previously, Swindon exported the hatch to Europe only. Now it will produce 40% of its Civic output for North America, 40% for Europe and 20% for the UK market.
These new processes include what Honda describes as a “high-efficiency joining technique”, where the entire inner frame is assembled first, followed by the outer frame and then the joints. This defies the conventional method of starting with body frame assembly.
Honda says the method contributes to the overall stiffness of the body. It claims the new Civic has 52% greater torsional stiffness than its predecessor while being 16kg lighter.
This is achieved with the new ‘unibody’ platform that uses front and rear bulkhead rings, which encircle the interior cabin space, as well as cross braces in front of the engine bay and between the bases of the A and B-pillars to create further platform rigidity.
The hatchback is 4497mm long, 1800mm wide and 1421mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2700mm. This makes it 130mm longer, 30mm wider and 20mm lower than the previous generation, with a 30mm longer wheelbase.
Honda is offering two new turbocharged petrol engines: a 1.0-litre triple with 127bhp and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with 180bhp. Both are available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT auto.
The existing 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel option, which currently makes up 50% of UK sales, will be carried over but tuned to improve its power output and CO2 emissions.
No hybrid is planned initially, but Kiraya confirmed to Autocar that the new platform could accommodate such a powertrain. However, an all-electric Civic is not possible with this platform.
Honda has aimed for a simple and sleek cabin design, which incorporates a 7.0in touchscreen display on which you can access its second-generation Connect infotainment and connectivity systems, which integrate with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also optional Garmin satellite navigation with free map updates for five years and different audio options, including a four-speaker, 160W system, an eight-speaker, 180W unit and a premium system with 11 speakers.
Interior space has improved, thanks to the longer wheelbase. Rear leg room has increased by a claimed 95mm and there’s more shoulder room in the front and rear. Boot space remains the same as before, at 478 litres, which is considerably more than the 360 litres of its Volkswagen Golf rival. Honda has ditched its socalled Magic Seats and instead reverted to a more traditional 60/40 rear seat split.
The Civic will have a host of safety systems fitted to all four trim levels. These include a Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and blindspot information.
Prices have yet to be announced, but expect a small increase over the £18,360 of the current entry-level model.
New Civic: a passenger ride in the car
We had a brief passenger ride in the American-spec Civic at Honda’s test track at its Swindon factory, amid a backdrop of endless new Civics waiting to be transported.
Our car was fitted with the all-new four-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo engine, driven by engineering project boss David McDonald.
While our time was very limited with the car, it set a good precedent for what’s to come, with impressive ride and refinement.
The one tight corner was taken too slowly to gain any real judgement of handling, but the straight to 80mph proved it was more than capable of replacing its 1.8-litre predecessor in the speed stakes. Optioned with the CVT ‘box, it did struggle to change up quickly at the lower end, so we expect to prefer the six-speed manual once we get behind the wheel of the car.
The interior is also greatly improved – with cleaner lines and, notably, a far less antiquated touchscreen than the current generation. It was also the base spec, built primarily for the US market, so we expect UK buyers to fare even better.