The 2012 Honda Civic has long since made its American debut, and we've scored seat time in a variety of versions. Our Civic is different than the one our European friends get to drive, however, and the updated Euro-market Honda Civic has been revealed to the awaiting crowds at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Differences between the U.S. and European Civic models become immediately apparent with just a quick glance. The face of the European car is much more assertive than the North American variety. Fender flares are more pronounced, and the entire exterior package looks far more sporty than the version we can buy here.

European customers will have a choice between three engine options; a 1.4-liter or 1.8-liter gasoline four-cylinder, or a 2.2-liter diesel unit. All three are available with a six-speed manual transmission and the 1.8-liter is also available with a specially prepared five-speed gearbox. The aforementioned diesel engine is good for 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Read the full press release posted after the jump to learn more about the car your European counterparts will have the chance to buy.
Show full PR text
THE NEW HONDA CIVIC

Honda announces the new Civic at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. Developed specifically for the European market, the Civic will be offered exclusively as a five-door hatchback and will compete in the C-segment. It will reach European showrooms in early 2012.

Introduction
The Civic team led by Mitsuru Kariya, the 'Large Project Leader' (LPL), were given the task to create and develop the new Civic. With the current Civic being known for its unique exterior styling and interior practicality within the C segment in Europe, Mitsuru Kariya and his team were keen to further understand the needs and desires of the European customers. The current Civic became the benchmark focus for their research to create a car that was even better.

"... when evaluating the requirements of our customers, we recognised that the European customer desires are demanding and unique in many aspects. We have focussed our development on fulfilling these expectations and through this process we have taken our development standards even further to a new level." (Mitsuru Kariya, LPL)

With the current increase of fuel prices across Europe and the environmental targets set to achieve low emissions, it was concluded from the European customer survey that the current Civic customer not only considers modern styling and performance to be important but also advanced technologies to create a Civic that was even more cost efficient to run and eco-friendly.

The development period for the new Civic spanned over four years. Nearly all of components are new to the Civic or have been further developed with areas of focus on the suspension set-up to improve the ride and handling, the interior materials to improve the overall interior quality, the new design styling and aerodynamics for a refreshed image and improved efficiency, and the engines for improved performance and reduced CO2 emissions.

Overall the new Civic builds on the core strengths of its predecessor and takes them to an appreciably higher level. It also is one of the sector's best in performance against low CO2 emissions – the diesel model produces just 110 g/km with 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque.

Background and Research
The current Civic originally launched in 2006 saw a change in the type of layout approach with the development of a unique platform based on a "centre tank" layout designed to offer practical benefits such as large cabin space meeting the needs of Europe's "C" category customers. The Civic was designed and developed for the European market receiving positive feedback in areas such as design and versatility/practicality which have helped define the current Civic as having 'road presence' with its 'futuristic looks;' and having a 'multi-purpose' function with the large boot space and multiple seat arrangements offered by the 'magic seats'.

As research commenced, the development team for the new Civic considered these key milestones achieved with the current Civic and opted to maintain and even look to enhance the current Civic model qualities. The team wanted to create a new emotional design with the ability to surprise and provide the unexpected in terms of roominess and other practical features whilst also improving the visibility and widening the field of vision to enhance the overall ownership experience.

The current Civic had already achieved superior interior space with an unbeatable boot capacity among its competitors. Focus now was on maintaining this class leading interior space whilst improving the overall packaging and space efficiency in the attempt to reduce overall dimensions. This would lead to a new exterior design, improved aerodynamic performance, reducing weight that play a role in raising the car's overall performance envelope.

Focused research was conducted to determine the latest and most important requirements for the European market. European and Japanese designers and engineers worked together closely throughout the development process. Testing was carried out first in Japan and then repeatedly in Europe to ensure suitability for the world's most demanding C-segment customers.

"the car had to be safe and easy to handle, affordable and so on ... premium in terms of having a good balance of affordable performance." (Mitsuru Kariya, LPL)

The Civic development team turned to drivers, dealers and the media to evaluate the existing Civic and define the essential 'must keep' features and qualities, as well as the priorities for the new model. Drivers appreciated the distinct styling and form of the car, with its futuristic looks and practicality. However their feedback suggested that the car's rear design could be more sophisticated and that rear view could be improved. Inside the Civic the modern and user-friendly cockpit design was appreciated, as were the spacious cabin and versatile 'magic seats', but users demanded an improvement in the quality of the materials used. Drivers were impressed with the driving experience, but noted that suspension noise could be reduced and ride comfort increased.

Research revealed that the typical Civic driver is attracted to unique, fresh design with sporty performance and advanced technologies. The environment was defined as a high priority, with customers demanding high fuel economy and low emissions.

Concept and development
Initial ideas for the new Civic explored the realm of the car having a 'Lean Energetic' design. 'Lean' was to emphasize the environmental-conscious world existing today, and 'Energetic' to express Honda's vitality. This design direction translated into a 'Clean-Dynamic' design concept.

The design team often referred back to their sources of inspiration to help define 'Clean- Dynamic', a 'blended body' airplane in which fuselage and wings blend into a single body for superior aerodynamic performance, quietness and habitability. Other inspiration was swimwear and track outfits worn by the athletes which provide low resistance.

Initial sketches focused on elegantly flowing designs taken from the 'blended body' airplane (a concept model designed by engineers at the University of Cambridge) and low resistance swimwear with no obvious borderlines between surfaces with bumper and fender lines blending seamlessly into the body.

This concept was a clear break in a new direction, rather than relying on sheer strength and engine power to convey a sporty image, a 'blended body' with reduced resistance would demonstrate a smarter image for the new Civic.

The team returned to these sources over and over again during the design process, using them as a touchstone when they needed to reaffirm their direction.

Drive trains
The new Civic will be offered with three engine options: a 1.4 l petrol unit, a 1.8 l petrol unit and a 2.2 l diesel unit. All the engines are combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, ECO Assist, advanced fueling control technology and Idle Stop. They are also equipped with Hill Start Assist. The 1.8 l engine can be paired with a specially designed 5-speed automatic transmission.

The chief goal in the engine and transmission development was to maintain the high performance driving experience whilst improving the overall efficiency of the engine resulting in lower running costs.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 61 Comments
      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like the design.
      adam512
      • 3 Years Ago
      TBH alot of people here in the UK prefer the look of US market cars. Most people find the camry very good looking and especially the current civic coupe. Its quite wierd how all americans want the european cars and vica versa but the truth is the automakers know exactly what they are doing. The camry although very nice just didnt sell well at all in europe.. and the Mazda 6 which is fairly popular in europe doesnt sell aswell in USA.
      NightFlight
      • 3 Years Ago
      This should have been OUR Civic, and add the sedan as an option. This is much better, inside and out, than the model that we have now. A diesel Civic in the US would have been a great competitor to the Jetta TDI and I've heard great things about Honda's 2.2 liter diesel.
        seanleeforever
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NightFlight
        until you learn the price difference. you get what you pay for, a 30k civic surely look a lot better than a 18k civic. the same can be said to everything else.
          brian
          • 3 Years Ago
          @seanleeforever
          Until you realize that the 30K includes VAT, and our US prices don't include tax.
          Christopher Glowacki
          • 3 Years Ago
          @seanleeforever
          i don't know what the transaction prices for top spec U.S. Civics are, but it is easy to build one on their website and get the MSRP sticker price up to 26-27k
          Christopher Glowacki
          • 3 Years Ago
          @seanleeforever
          otherwise, this looks nicer inside and out with the exception of the ridiculous back end
        recharged95
        • 3 Years Ago
        @NightFlight
        No thanks. But looking at all the cars (and this), 2012 is the year of the *prominent wheel arch*
      founerra
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anyone notice similarities in the Headlights between this car and the new CR-V concept?
      Kiiks
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really think the Spartan helmet front end styling could really sell in the US. IT would certainly suit the Si better than what it has now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      UncleWhippin
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I saw this beautiful car my first thought was, "man I am getting a new Civic," but when I read that we are not getting this style or version my thought was, "man Honda dropped the ball." Why can't I get a bold sexy Honda product here in the States. Honda, I am putting you on notice. The next RSX is your last chance with me!!! :(
      drbyers
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet another Honda product beat down with the ugly tree...
      Travis C. Vasconcelo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Welcome to the American car market where GM sets the bar. The reason we don't get hatchbacks and other niceties from Europe and Japan is because we have traditionally bought 4-door cars and aschew hatchbacks. Why? Because Old GM told us we didn't want them and the Government bailed them out....so they KEEP telling us we don't want them. Foreign makers seem to lose money on them because we turn our backs on them. I don't...but I am not the entire car buying public. If people would realize the versatility of a modern hatchback and forget the uselessness of the old GM hatchbacks (Vega, Monza, Oldsmobile Forenza, etc) perhaps people would start buying them. However, the only hatchbacks we seem to want around these uneducated shores are monster utes...and we bitch about the price of gas? There you have it...we are fat, we want the space, and we don't care what they charge for gas because we are hooked like crack addicts....we will pay it and we don't care!
        AngeloD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travis C. Vasconcelo
        Blaming GM for the unpopularity of hatchbacks today is ridiculous. Every car company who had a presence in the US market during the 1970s and 1980's sold hatchbacks. The hatchback is unpopular today because of the collective American memory of the legions of noisy, cramped, slow, cheap hatchbacks sold by Datsun, Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Honda, Plymouth, Dodge, Isuzu, Hyundai, Chevy, etc, etc, etc. Get over your GM derangement syndrome amigo.
        Basil Exposition
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travis C. Vasconcelo
        Your theory that GM controls the minds of Americans is bunk. Just because you prefer a hatchback doesn't mean that other's don't have good reasons for their choices. After numerous break-ins, I chose a sedan because the security of a trunk was important to me, not because old GM told me to or because I am uneducated. You are entitled to your opinions but degrading everyone who doesn't share them is pretty childish.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travis C. Vasconcelo
        [blocked]
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travis C. Vasconcelo
        "we have traditionally bought 4-door cars and aschew hatchbacks" Indeed. No bankruptcy necessary. Hint: it's "eschew". Whatever "aschew" is, I'm sure only a minority do that...
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Travis C. Vasconcelo
        Yeah, just like how GM told us that no one wanted sporty coupes when they discontinued the Camaro and Firebird in 2002. They thought we all wanted little retro pickups like the SSR and big SUVs. Now looking back nearly ten years later, how do you think GM feels about those decisions? If your tin-hat theory held any water, the SSR would have been a smash hit, and we would all still be driving around in sport utility vehicles. In reality, tastes changed, and GM had to adapt to meet those different demands. GM, like all other cars companies, is in the business of selling cars they think will sell, not mind control.
      Albert Ferrer
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's interesting that if a car is sold or designed in Europe Americans in autoblog want it regardless of anything else. It doesn't matter if it's good or not, if it has a hatch, a manual and a diesel, it's a score within American petrolheads. Why? This is at most average in Europe...
        reattadudes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Albert Ferrer
        Albert, I call it the "bring it, bring it, " crowd. they wanted the Saturn (nee Opel) Astra, and then didn't buy it when it arrived in basically unchanged form. then we had the Fiesta. Ford was stupid enough to believe all of the internet "interest" in the car, so it was (again) sent over with minimum "Americanization", like making space available for the half-gallon cups Americans love to take with them. Ford was gearing up for 500,000 sales per year (all that internet "interest", remember?), and now the factory in Mexico is running at half-speed, and dealer lots are clogged with them. not much market for a teeny little $20,000 car. Americans have consistently shown they hate hatchbacks, starting back in the 70s. we had more in the 80s, more in the 90s, and then they just went away. they still keep sending them, and we keep saying no, like with the Mercedes-Benz hatchbacks, BMW hatchbacks, and Mazda 6 hatchbacks. there will be more casualties along the way again. they buy one, and that's it. nothing says "cheap" like a hatchback. and for those who don't believe it, just wait about three years. 80% of the ones now available will be gone.
          Tirac
          • 3 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          Amen finally a realist on this site. All those saying to bring wagon diesels with manual transmissions won't buy it when it comes stateside. They will always find an excuse to loud, to ugly, to bland, to expensive, to slow to foreign. We need to face that ford is currently is throwing a lot of bones when it comes to euro and performance vehicles and if we want these to keep coming we better put our money where our mouth (keyboard?) is.
          Albert Ferrer
          • 3 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          And it's not even only that, but your Civic has the fully independent rear suspension set up, while this makes do with a torsion beam rear suspension. The diesel is not even top of the class, I want to see what the rear visibility is like and the previous gen was quite an expensive car. Certainly not a class leader. Furthermore I'll gladly give you the diesels in exchange for the V8s. Does the average American petrolhead really want to put up with massive fuel price and slow cars with bad (worse than petrols anyway, despite progress) sounding diesel engines? I don't understand it frankly. Take the Golf GTD. Will gladly accept the Mustang BOSS 302 in exchange, I promise.
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          On one hand, I reluctantly agree. On the other, I can't help but notice all of the Mazda 3 hatches, VW Golfs, Ford Focus hatches and Toyota Prii and begin to second guess the notion that Americans simply don't want hatches. Personally, I cannot understand how people see a hatch and think "cheap" in comparison to all of the Chevy Aveo, First Gen Focus, and Toyota Corolla sedans I see on our roads. Aside from looking rather dopey and disproportionate as sedans, most compacts of this layout come across to me as the car of choice for old women or young single mothers on a budget, or simply just people who are passionless when it comes to cars. A sporty hatch makes me think that at least its owner has some taste.
      George Boyter
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a car styling disaster and doesn't bode well at all for Honda's proposed NSX update. If they can sign this off for production anything can happen.
      Saminlp
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is Honda doing the thing were you fire your design department to save money and just let the engineers design the vehicles. This is beyond frumpy and fussy and is just plain ugly.
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