Honda Teasing a New Look for the Civic

Civic concept sketch

The next-generation Honda Civic, to go on sale this coming spring, will be based on a concept car (teased above) you can see at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The Civic has now been through nine iterations, and the last one, five years old, is getting tired. And by that I mean we are getting tired of looking at it.

Honda concepts generally do get produced without much change, says Autoblog, though it’s hard to imagine stodgy Honda building something like this for its bread-and-butter car. If the sketch is even close, it will represent a real turnaround for a company whose recent stylings have ranged from bland to bizarre. See our photos of the dreadful Acura ZDX if you’ve forgotten how bad it looks.

The new Civic has a face midway between a smile and a growl. Everything seems to be in good proportion. “Reports” say diesel and gas engine options will be available, plus a new dual-clutch automatic. We say, “Build it, guys, build it!”

New CivicThere are a lot of negative comments here (scroll down) in response to this concept—which may indicate just how far Honda has fallen in the opinion of enthusiasts. And a Middle East website ran spy photos (right) and a video claiming to show the real 2011-2012 Civic testing in Dubai: It looks bland, generic, even Jetta-esque, nothing like the concept sketch.

Speaking of the Jetta, a shopping site called the Gilt Groupe is offering three $15,995 cars for sale at $5,995 each, today, tomorrow and Friday. If it isn’t exactly clear why Gilt and Volkswagen are doing this, consider the lousy reviews the Jetta has been getting. A Chicago Tribune writer said, “The compact sedan has the visual flair of a beige ceiling and the steering feel of a Novocain smoothie.”

And, as you may have read and forgotten, VW is giving away 275 New Beetles to audience members who attend Oprah’s annual Favorite Things show. This sounds like another desperate attempt to push Volkswagen into becoming the U.S. sales leader, its announced goal being to triple its sales to 800,000 cars annually by 2018.

What are these guys smoking? So far, the 2012 Civic, even in sketch only, would be the hands-down winner in any contest with the Jetta… or the New Beetle.

Do you think the new Civic, as sketched, will become the actual 2012 car?

—jgoods

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