• May 26th 2010 at 8:29PM
  • 128
Honda Civic: A History in Pictures – click above for a high-res image gallery

Honda Vice President John Mendel recently admitted to AutoWeek that the next-generation Civic will be delayed from the Fall of 2010 to sometime in 2011. Mendel said in the interview that the Civic was delayed because of tightening emissions standards and he also noted that changing market conditions were partly to blame. AW also notes that the Civic's design was changed along the way, as Honda's second biggest selling model was originally scheduled to be larger for 2011. Happens all the time, right? Well, not to Honda it doesn't.

Bill Visnic over at Edmunds Auto Observer has taken a deep-dive look at the broader implications of the Civic redesign, and came up with some very interesting points. For starters, Krebs speculates that the next Civic was delayed in part because it wasn't competitive compared to the new, vastly improved competition from companies like Hyundai, General Motors and Ford. While some analysts feel that the Honda redesign shows that the Japanese automaker is willing to swallow some humble pie and get things right, Krebs counters that going back to the drawing board shows that Honda has lost its touch with the car-buying public. Further support for her theory centers around the lackluster greeting for the Insight by both consumers and pundits, Acura's polarizing styling language and the love/hate Accord Crosstour and its embarassing social media launch efforts. Analyst John Wolkonowicz of Global Insight appears to agree with Krebs, saying that Honda is living off of its reputation from the 1980s and 1990s.

Where do we stand on the Honda Civic design pushback? We're thinking that as long as the Civic continues to sell in big numbers with relatively small incentives, Honda is smart to head back to the drawing board, especially as it is still selling strongly five years into its lifecycle. However, we've been worried that Honda has been losing its engineering-led focus for a while now, so we'll be looking to the next-gen Civic for some level of redemption.

Be sure to take our poll and check out our high-res gallery of Honda Civic history before heading over to the Auto Observer for some very interesting analysis.

Has Honda lost the plot?
Yes, they have 6434 (49.7%)
No, they haven't 1318 (10.2%)
Not yet, but they're showing signs of slipping 4744 (36.7%)
Undecided 440 (3.4%)

[Source: Auto Observer]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda has been cheaping out on interior build quality for almost 10 years now. And what's disturbing is that the same goes for much higher priced Acuras. It's appalling that Acura dares to charges $45k for an MDX when a VW half its priced is better screwed together inside.

      Infiniti has vastly improving their interiors with recent iterations. But honda has been busy cutting costs, trying to fool people by making materials "look" nicer through clever design tricks. No wonder Acura is still considered second-tiered luxury cars.

      I bought an 05 accord hoping to own it for 10 years. I got rid of it after 3 years. They lost me as a customer for years to come.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, yes, yes, Honda has lost the plot. Look at the current lineup: the Fit, the Civic, then a fleet of overweight V6 gas guzzlers. What happened to fuel economy? Honda gave up the double wishbone suspensions, let their engine tech get stale - 20 year old VTEC vs GDI/GDTI, gave up on style, gave up on interior quality. Their new products used to be a generation ahead, now they come to market barely at par. Could Honda even make an NSX or S2000 anymore? They are off in the weeds answering questions that no one is asking - CR-Z, FCX Clarity, Crosstour, just like GM used to.

      I have owned 2 Acuras and a Honda, but I see nothing in the current lineup that gets me excited.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're seriously accusing Honda of belittling fuel economy?!

        Aside from the aformentioned Fit & Civic, you've got the Civic hybrid, Insight, upcoming CR-Z, FCX Clarity.

        Gas-guzzling V6s? You mean the Accord, Pilot, Ridgeline, Odyssey? The ones with VCM to shut down unneeded cylinders? The ones with class-leading real-world fuel economy? Those ones?

        Snap out of it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, a 4-door first-gen Civic. We didn't get those here. That would've been a hit. The second-gen CRX was a great car, too. The Dull Soulless? Not so much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda saw the new Elantra. that is all.


      new H is in town.

      • 5 Years Ago
      There is one subject matter that the writer failed to tackle...

      • 5 Years Ago
      put the double wishbone front suspension back into the Civic would be a first step in going back to their engineering-first roots
      • 5 Years Ago
      I used to love Honda. My favourite cars were my '01 S2000 and '04 S2000. Everything they make today is boring, ugly and uninspired.

      The CRX made me really, really excited. I thought "Hey, Honda might have a winner!" and then they gave it a paltry power output.

      • 5 Years Ago
      bottom line is this.

      • 5 Years Ago
      To beg the question does not mean "to raise the question." (e.g. "It begs the question, why is he so dumb?") This is a common error of usage made by those who mistake the word "question" in the phrase to refer to a literal question. Sadly, the error has grown more and more common with time, such that even journalists, advertisers, and major mass media entities have fallen prey to "BTQ Abuse."

      "Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

      A simple example would be "I think he is unattractive because he is ugly." The adjective "ugly" does not explain why the subject is "unattractive" -- they virtually amount to the same subjective meaning, and the proof is merely a restatement of the premise. The sentence has begged the question.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My 2008 Civic Ex is cheap. You can hear the outside, tires, wiper motor drives you crazy and you can't see what time is it in the daylight. I paid 21,000.00+ new . Not worth 15,000.00 new. Buy a Sonata next
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why would you pay 21k+ for an Ex civic?
        I bought my 2009 4dr Si for 19,400 with 4mi on it.
        Car salespeople love taking advantage of nitwits.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you wait a few more months, all those Sonatas filling up the rental car lots will be flooding the market and be really really cheap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @J-Rhyme... I was surprised when I checked the pricing of the Civic Si, it was cheaper than every EX on the lot. The EX with auto, leather and Nav easily hit $24k sticker. The dealers had at least 20 of those on every lot, and there was only 1 Si in the entire county. Of course if you dont get Nav they are about the same price, and if you get a stick without leather the EX is cheaper. But I felt the Si was a bargain, all of the good stuff with none of the extraneous crap. But the profit is in the EX-L-NAV, and thats what most buyers these days care about... so Honda gives them what they want. I personally think anyone who buys an EX over the Si cannot be a real enthusiast... there is not enough gain in price or mileage and talk about a boring drive! Now if you are trying to save money and get an LX, I understand... but not the EX...
        • 5 Years Ago
        thanks for the note. Sanatas has the best warranty 5yr. 60,000 bubper to bumper 100,000 powertrain. Hyundai Motors has it together.So does Kia. I lease my Civic and will be glad to give it back to Honda.
      • 5 Years Ago
      who the hell is Krebs?? The name just appeared out of nowhere.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think asking whether Honda has lost the plot at this point is relevant, in any way, shape or form; it is a given that they've lost it.

      Personally, I'd say they began to lose the plot back in 1999, and completely lost it in 2006.

      I pick those years specifically because 1999 was when the Odyssey was redesigned (much larger) and 2006 was when the Civic was redesigned (much larger as well). From then on, Honda has been producing a greater amount of larger vehicles that contradict most of what they had in the past. like the CR-V (which I give them credit for not up-sizing in the way that Toyota up-sized their RAV4), Preludes, Accord wagons, CRX and whatever else.

      With the advent of the CRZ, I would hope that Honda can use that car as a guideline as to where it was, where the future of automobiles is going, and where they should be as determined by their history.

      I wish them good luck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yet again, the Civic has always used IRS.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you remember when you didn't know the difference between SOHC and OHV? Because I remember. That right there should show how much you know. Or when you made the comment that engine weight and height were irrelevant? I remember that, too.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Only euro civics lost the IRS, us and JDM still has a arms in the back.

        I don't think BMW ever had rear double a arms.. they went from semi trailing to 5 link.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Er, unless you're in the UK, the JDM and USDM Civics use independent rear multi-link suspension.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look, neptronix, I'm not gonna get into it ALL OVER AGAIN with you but you just don't get it. Remember the conversation about the Vette's motor? By every qualitative performance measure it stacked up better than any "high-tech" motor you could compare it to. You eventually just stopped responding because everyone took you to school.

        So yeah, there is something wrong with throwing around technology buzzwords and not having any idea why they help or if they even do help.

        And you just made the same mistake here with the suspensions. You're no more an engine expert than you are a suspension expert.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I said 'basically' instead of 'exactly'. I am no suspension expert. But i've owned both a '99 Civic, and a '96 e36 and the suspensions looked similar, compared to modern economy cars where they are using a rear beam.

        I also used the term 'IRS' incorrectly. My bad.
        But the reviews of the newer Civics going cheap on the suspension speak for themselves. That was the fun part of a Honda; it might have not been the fastest car in the world, but it had good dynamics... modern ones just don't have that. Cept maybe the s2000... which is discontinued.

        Per emperorkoku.. engine technology provides results, thus i am interested in the engine technology. Um.. for example, look at Hyundai's new 2.4 motor. They implemented all the latest, established technologies and got 198 horsepower, 184 ft-lb, and 30-40mpg out of a 4 banger that drives a ~3200lb car.

        Um.. so yeah, i'm interested in buying a car that gets good fuel economy and is fast. That's why i pay attention to current and upcoming engine technology. Because with a more efficient engine, you can have your cake and eat it too.

        Anything wrong with that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ironically enough, I think the 2005 Civic coupe was one of their best designs as far as the exterior was concerned. But I think their weak-sauce decision to remove the control arm suspension because of cost/packaging really hurt their appeal. That was one of the things that made the car so good and they threw it by the wayside for a cheaper suspension.

        However, I don't think we should get too far ahead of ourselves and commit to saying that a cheaper suspension is a worse suspension; Cobalt SS Turbos, Mustangs and GTIs wouldn't take kindly to that.

        Emperorkoku, I believe the 5 also uses McPherson struts upfront as well. I'm recalling the the G8 uses it, and as far as I can tell the 5-series was the template for that car. Maybe even the 7-series uses McPherson struts, but don't quote me on that.

        Neptronix, tech is all well and good, but at the end of the day, the results are dependent upon the people using it. Case in point are the earlier Hyundai 4 cylinders which returned abysmal power, milage and NVH results while using the same tech as other manufacturers of those earlier times.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not only has BMW not been using double wishbones in the rear, for most of the cars (bread-and-butter 3-Series at LEAST) they've had simple MacPherson struts up front, as well.

        The tech is often less important than the tuning. Look at Mustang with its axle compared to Challenger/Camaro with their IRS'.

        Neptronix, I've noticed you seem to always be more interested in the "tech" (DI, DOHC, turbo, double-wishbone, etc.) than the actual results.
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