Honda Heats Up the Civic

Civic Coupe concept, shot 1

Honda has sold more than 18 million Civics since the car’s 1973 debut, making it the sixth best selling car of all time, according to the Cheat Sheet. One of the many reasons for the car’s popularity is its versatility—over the years, the Civic has been available as a sedan, coupe, hatchback, and wagon with power output ranging from a measly 50 hp in its first generation to 276 hp in the most recent version of the Type R (which hasn’t been available in the U.S., but stay tuned!), and won over passionate fans ranging from mileage-focused greenies to tire-shredding tuners. So perhaps it’s fitting that one of the most watched debuts at this year’s New York International Auto Show was of Honda’s new Civic Coupe concept.

Civic Coupe concept, shot 2

Decked out in a brilliant green and featuring the most distinctive tailpipe we’ve ever seen on a Honda, the new Civic Coupe concept drew and held a big crowd of media types from all over the world. The concept looks much more aggressive and sportier than the current Civic, with a more sloped cabin roof, shorter front overhang, and a mean-looking front fascia. Its unveiling was well-received, garnering lots of gasps and big smiles among attendees and strongly positive comments in the automotive press.

The auto press and enthusiasts will probably find lots more to like about the new Civic than its looks, too, as Honda revealed that the car will be available in 5-door hatchback form for the first time in the U.S. and that it will be the first Honda to offer a direct-injection turbocharged VTEC engine in the U.S. The base engine should be a 2-liter 4-cylinder VTEC, and the upgrade will be to a 1.5-liter Earth Dreams turbocharged 4-cylinder. High-performance Si versions will be offered, but best of all, Honda confirmed that the high-performance Type R will finally be available in the States. Based on the Type R concept unveiled in Geneva last month, the Type R will likely use a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 305 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and should get from 0 to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, with a top speed of 167 mph.

Civic Coupe concept, shot 3

Given that Ford will add another high-performance version of the Focus to its roster in the form of the RS and that the Mazda3 keeps getting stellar ratings from drivers and the press, it’s no surprise that Honda plans to soup up the Civic, particularly since the ninth-generation redesign hurt sales and public perception. Spy shots of a coupe testing in California suggest the concept’s full-width taillights will likely make it to production, and at least one fan has already created a design study of the hotly anticipated Type R version. Honda’s “official site” for the Civic Coupe concept invites fans to sign up for updates, so if you’re looking forward to the new Civic as much as we are, you can easily keep up to date.

Would you be most interested in a Honda Civic in sedan, coupe or hatchback form? Would you consider a Type R?

Note: You can see lots more photos and cars from this year’s New York International Auto Show in the NYIAS web site’s Vehicle Galleries.

-hollerin

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