• Oct 26, 2009

2009 Honda Civic – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you introduced an '80s-era Honda Civic to its modern counterpart, it couldn't recognize what it's become. But after decades of growing dimensions, Honda's going back to the drawing board for the next-gen Civic.

The change in direction was reportedly ordered last year before the global economy took a nose-dive by product chief Tsuneo Tanai who observed a rise in oil and raw metal prices. Once the financial sector hit rock bottom, the Civic emerged as a strong player, out-selling the Ford F-Series pickup as the number one vehicle in the United States in May 2008. Not satisfied with sitting back and seeing how things shape up, though, Tanai ordered his engineers and designers to scrap their plans and redesign the next-gen Civic to be smaller, cheaper, lighter and more fuel efficient.

The move coincides with Honda's re-strategizing vis-a-vis hybrids and electric vehicles, not to mention the cancellation of its V8 and rear-drive programs. But despite having put more people on the job, the decision to restart the Civic's development halfway through the process is sure to be a major setback for the company's lifecycle schedule. And not just for the Civic itself, but also for vehicles that share its platform, including the CR-V crossover, the Element sport-utility-box, the JDM Stream and European-market FR-V minivans, to say nothing of the upcoming CR-Z, Acura RDX, and of course the all-important Canadian-market Acura CSX.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]


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      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm really looking forward to this, but what I really want to see is this treatment applied to the Accord (it's too bloated, even though it's still relatively fun to drive (compared to competitors)).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyway, this talk of lighter and smaller has me concerned.

      The only way cars can become smaller and lighter is that the drivers in this country need to become smaller and lighter - and I don't see that happening in my lifetime..
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think there's a slight interpretation error. I think Honda means that originally they planned the Honda Civic to be bigger than the current one, and that they will make the next gen smaller and lighter than the originally planned (Ie. future Civic) and not in relation to the current model, so it could be similar to the dimensions of the current generation but lighter (Hopefully it's true). I really like the current generation Civic -- I have a 07 sedan -- and if Honda puts out good looking, good fuel economy, fun to drive products (Unlike the Crosstour *ahem*), I wouldn't mind trading in my 07 for a 11/12 Si. Or even keep my current car and buy a CR-Z.

      We can only hope for now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's about time! I never got the concept that each new generation of a certain model had to be bigger and heavier.

      Good engineering should mean a car can become smaller and lighter while regaining or growing interior room. Smaller and lighter, of course, mean smaller and more efficient engines could be used.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I must agree with poster rockstonesteel, don't go cheap by making the "hardware" cheaper and degrading an already "best in class" handling car into another econo-box handling car like the Corolla.
      I was at the Miami Int'l Auto Show this past weekend and Honda's interiors are looking cheaper and cheaper especially the Insight which the interior was a sea of ridiculously cheap plastics and thin cheap feeling cloth almost like a Hyundai of the 1980's!!!! . Most people aren't going to notice any changes to suspension, etc - for they buy the Civic for basic transportation and reliability but what about us enthusiasts? Are we going to be betrayed? I HOPE NOT!
      Honda remember the competition is getting fierce from Korea who are catching up in lightning speed and , in some cases, are starting to surpass Honda!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda is slowly becoming Suzuki!! Woot Woot

      In all seriousness, I hope Honda doesn't decide to kill off the Si/RSX type cars. They need to keep a semi "fun" car in their line up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Last I heard they're retuning the K20 for 215-230hp in the next gen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just as Ford and GM think they're going to have a "good" small car (the Cruze and next-gen Focus), Honda will come in with the next Civic and totally change the game. And Detroit will be caught with it's pants down, one step behind the transplants. Again
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd actually take a Sonata over an Accord. After all, they're both generic transportation units. Even if you accept Honda's numbers which are quite optimistic for Accord depreciation and very pessimistic for Sonata resale, there's no way to make up the difference in transaction price, and the Accord isn't really offering much more than the Sonata anymore.

        Elantra to Civic I'd have to agree with you, the Elantra is not a pleasing vehicle.

        Like you, for my own vehicle I wouldn't have either unless required to choose between Honda and Hyundai. I drive a Subaru Legacy for now, though I'm afraid Subaru has left me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hyundais - outside the Genesis - aren't really aspirational cars here. Neither is a Civic on 15" steelies. The affordable family car isn't an aspirational segment.

        Hyundai's recent product is competitive, their quality is outstanding, and their relatively low labor costs - both in Korea and Alabama - let them undercut everyone else on price. Their sales growth has reflected that.

        You may not be interested in a Sonata, most people on this website aren't. I guarantee you Honda and Toyota are.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Bob-omb: Call me a snob if you wish, but I drive a Bimmer. I'm not missing out on anything Hyundai offers, thank you very much. And no, I could care less that my small 3-series cost the same as a Genesis.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nobody cares what you won't drive, Luis. If you don't want to own a Hyundai, you're missing out, plain and simple. And I own a '07 Civic.

        The problem with the next Civic going smaller is that there is currently a whopping size difference between the Civic and Accord. So if the Civic is gonna essentially become a Fit sedan, the next Accord is gonna have to go smaller, too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I assume that in the category of small cars, GM falls into the "Korean counterparts" section.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @cit09 - unfortunately the Cruze was due about 5 years ago. I've seen them on the streets on my recent trip to Oz and I was unimpressed. It's an aged design that will be severely outdated when it's finally released here. Not to mention in 2015 when the same model is *still* on sale.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Average lateral driver size plays its role too....
        • 5 Years Ago
        The current generation Civic is quite heavy for a car of its size and it's felt during acceleration; a diet would certainly help even if they carried over the same 1.8L motor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Honda's other recent products - new Accord, new CRV, new Pilot, Insight - haven't exactly been gamechangers. Outside of the Fit they haven't even been good.

        Sure they're better than Detroit at segments Detroit ignores. But they sure haven't outdone - arguably haven't even kept up with - Toyota or Hyundai.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish VW would do the same with the GTI.
        • 5 Years Ago
        VW was the company that started the grow-with-the-customer trick. The Golf used to be the smallest car, then it got too big and expensive so they released the Polo, which in turn ended up bigger than the Golf it originally accompanied, so it was joined by the Lupo...
      • 5 Years Ago
      taking a page out of the European Mazda and the lotus handbook by making it lighter. Chances are the American version will still be to heavy though. I'm no big Honda fan, and unlike many people, I actually want to see GM and Ford do better, so I hope it is worse than the Fiesta and Cruze. Even if it is, I'm sure it will sell better. As long as it is more interesting than a Corolla I'll be happy. If it is a fat Accord, Honda will officially be off my list of good car companies.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In Israel, there are two different Honda Civics. The have the awesomly-stylish Euro Civic and the North American style Civic. All of the North American style Civics are upmarket because they are the Canadian Acura CSX with the same tail lights, upgraded interior and same facias.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering that today's Civic is bigger than the original Accord it's about time the Civic goes back to it's roots as an affordable economical SMALL car. Not that the current Civic is at all bad, it's not. It's just not small anymore. The Fit I thought was the new Civic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The original Accord didn't have to pass 21st century crash tests. It didn't have to fit 50 pound kids in child seats either.

        The current Civic is about as small as our current laws permit a highway comfortable sedan with a useable back seat to be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the Accord is full-size now and the Civic gets smaller, won't there be a pretty big hole in between that competitors will fill?

      (That's what she said - saved you the trouble)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I take it that there aren't any Honda city's in America.
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