In preparation for its Civic hatchback re-launch in North America, Honda has shown off a prototype of the 4-door hatchback that will come to market later in 2016.
It’s not the sporty 3-door we’ve been seeing in pics out of Europe, but it’s a decently sporty looking hatch that differentiates itself from its smaller sibling the Fit, as well as the other recently introduced model, the Chevrolet Cruze.
The sporty shell also houses performance to match, with a 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine linked to a 6-speed manual transmission (a combination Honda plans to roll out to all Civics), as well as a continuously variable automatic (CVT). It will be the only drivetrain combinations available to the 2017 Civic Hatchback.
“The Civic Hatchback wraps the 10-generation Civic platform and 5-door hatchback utility in emotional, Euro-inspired styling,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division of American Honda. “Offered with the first application of the 1.5-litre turbo engine paired with a manual transmission, this sportiest Civic to date will attract a whole new set of enthusiast buyers to the model and Honda brand.”
The design is straight out of Europe and Japan, with a swept profile highlighted by a sectioned crease flowing over the wheels and along the door handles. It sits boldly on large wheels set wide apart by a long wheelbase, which in turn produces short overhangs that add to the firmly-planted look.
“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,” said Daisuke Tsutamori, the prototype’s chief exterior stylist. “This vehicle represents a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality.”
The face is instantly recognizable as that of the new Civic, but with some mild changes to make it more aggressive. Among them, large bumper air intakes, squinty LED headlights, glowing fog lights, and muscular wheel arches. At the rear, crescent LED taillights at the bottom corners of the rear window are connected by a low spoiler. There is also a roof-mounted spoiler at the top of the rear window.
The rear bumper somewhat mirrors the front one, with wiped openings and a creased centre section with highlighted centre-mounted twin tailpipes.
The new car will be produced exclusively in Swindon, England. More information, including interior details, will be available closer to launch.