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New Civic hatchback prototype brings the hot back to Honda

Although still officially in prototype form, the Civic hatchback we saw at the Geneva Motor Show this year promises to be the hot hatch we've been pining for.

Hatch lovers, rejoice! The venerable Civic hatchback has returned, at least in prototype form.

The lean, mean Ford Focus fighting machine debuted today here at the Geneva Motor Show, and joins the coupe, Si and Type R as future iterations of the Civic coming to US shores.

Honda has a history of keeping its production models looking very much like their concept vehicles, and hopefully that remains true with this prototype. The hatch looks sporty without veering into that Honda "tuner-boi" look that may alienate some customers. The front remains unchanged from the sedan, save for the large air intakes. The back bumper is combined with a diffuser and dual, center-mounted exhaust pipes, making for an aggressive rear fascia.

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We'll take one hot hatch and a side of fries, please.

Josh Miller/Roadshow

With all these performance styling cues, we can only hope the hatchback will be available in at least an Si performance variant.

While the rear glass slopes down dramatically, it doesn't appear as if any headroom is lost for rear passengers, but it looks like you'll sacrifice a bit of cargo space behind those rear seats.

Our European pals will get their choice of a 1.0-liter or 1.5-liter VTEC turbocharged gasoline engines, or a 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel variant.

In the States, we'll probably get the same engines currently offered in the Civic sedan: a 1.5-liter turbo putting out 174 horsepower or a 2.0-liter good for 158 horsepower. If transmission options remain the same, then a six-speed manual will only be available in the base model 2.0-liter. Let's hope that Honda recognizes the enthusiast market for hatchbacks and offers a manual with the turbo engine as well.

We'll get our first glimpse of the Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype on March 22, just before the New York International Auto Show. Pricing has not been announced, but if it follows along the lines of the sedan we can expect a starting price of just over $18,000.

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