New Honda Civic enhances youth appeal

At the 2015 New York auto show, Honda unveiled a concept version of the next-generation Civic, its performance and sport styling hinting at a much more engaging Civic model in the near future.

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NEW YORK -- Honda's compact Civic model, a mainstay of its line-up, spent the last generation looking rather mundane. At the 2015 New York auto show, Honda opened a new chapter in the Civic's life with a very attractive and engaging concept heralding the car's 10th generation.

The concept car brims with performance hooks, such as aggressive air intakes up front and a big wing in back. In coupe format, the Civic concept features a short overhang in back and a thin roof rail dropping fast towards the rear deck. The rear of the concept features geometric shaping framed by the taillight, a single element that runs from fender to fender, crossing the rear lip. It all ends at a single, flat tailpipe that looks fit for a supercar.

As a high-tech cue, the Civic concept uses LED headlights. Honda notes that the production version will offer a number of driver-assist features, such as adaptive cruise control and a rearview camera.

Honda Civic Concept
The Civic concept unveiled in New York looks feasible for production. Sarah Tew/CNET

Honda's press release specifies a 1.5-liter engine for the Civic using a turbocharger and direct injection. That type of engine should produce ample power for the compact Civic. It gets mated to either a continuously variable transmission, the automatic option, or a six-speed manual.

Honda says that the next generation of the Civic, based on this concept, will come in a full range of trims and body styles, such as the Coupe, Sedan, hatchback and Si performance model. More exciting, Honda promises a Type R version, with high performance that should match the newly released European Civic Type R.

Production cars often bear little resemblance to the concept cars that precede them, but Honda has generally not deviated much from concept to production. As the next-generation production Civic should be unveiled this fall, the Civic concept likely will undergo little change in production. Much of what was shown in the concept is feasible and desirable for production.

We'll be looking for the 10th-generation production Civic at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the fall.