Honda Civic Hatchback prototype unmasked

This thinly veiled future production model is heavy on the sharp lines and aggression.

The US hasn't had a Honda Civic hatchback since the seventh-generation model on sale from 2001 to 2005, and over the past 11 years we've watched from afar as Honda cut and polished the Euro-market Civic hatch into a gem of lusty beauty. We will get our turn in 2017 with the tenth-generation model, about to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show as a "prototype" that is a thinly-disguised production model.

Compared to the ninth generation currently on sale over The Atlantic, this concept is stronger, sharper, and more sculpted throughout, but especially up front. The curving hoodline on the current car that falls in an undisturbed arc down to the bottom of the front bumper gets straightened out, sitting atop a bluff face packed with jutting features. Sheetmetal peaks and troughs carve up the sides, and the rear hatch emphasizes the angular and distinctions between features like the tailgate and arching boomerang containing the C-shaped lights. Production features on a base model will undoubtedly be toned down, but we could see this concept making for a fine Si or Type R trim, if we're being especially hopeful.

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Proportions increase a smidge, the new car 5.1 inches longer, 1.8 inches wider, and sitting .7 inches lower. That puts it about 1.2 inches shorter than the Civic Coupe on sale in the US. The European launch goes down early next year, the US to follow after that. You'll find a little more info in the press release below, we'll have live shots from the show floor as soon as we can.

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• Prototype of the next-generation Civic hatchback makes its global premiere at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show
• Assertive stance and distinctive new design establishes 10th generation as the sportiest Civic ever
• Low, wide proportions and long wheelbase promise engaging driving dynamics while maximising interior space
• New Civic hatchback will be available in Europe early in 2017 and will be built at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM)

Geneva, March 1, 2016 - The next-generation Civic hatchback makes its global debut in prototype form at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The design of the prototype heralds a significant step-change from previous versions of Honda's core European model, focusing on provocative design and rewarding driving dynamics.

The all-new Civic hatchback will be 30 mm wider, 20 mm lower and 130 mm longer than the current generation. New larger and wider wheels and tyres give a feeling of an assured stance, while the long wheelbase, short overhangs and sleek cabin area further add to the dynamic feel of the exterior.

At the front of the car, a short overhang with large air intakes presents a sharp and aggressive interpretation of Honda's family face. LED headlights and daytime running lights flow from beneath the boldly sculpted bonnet into accentuated wheel arches.

The sleek and swept-back body lines continue along the side of the car with a swage line that incorporates front and rear door handles before culminating in the distinctive C-shaped LED rear lights. A second, lower character line extends from behind the front wheels up through the doors and meets the rear wheel arches, emphasising the car's dynamic forward-leaning stance. At the rear, the bumper incorporates angular creases and vents, designed to echo the aggressively styled nature of the rest of the car.

Daisuke Tsutamori, Project Leader for the styling of the Prototype provided an insight into how the distinctive design was conceived and realised: "We knew that we needed to create a striking and stand-out exterior design that challenged conventional European compact styling while staying true to the original Civic's core values; a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality."

Designed and developed for the European market, the 10th generation Civic is scheduled for a European launch early in 2017. The five-door hatchback variant will be produced by Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM), and will be exported to global markets including the United States.

Honda Civic Information

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