It wouldn’t be too unfair to say that Honda has realised it is largely perceived as brand for the older customer.
As attempt to broaden its appeal, it’s unveiled a whole raft of improvements to the Civic at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
The 2015 Civic and the Civic Tourer are going all sporty on us with a number of enhancements such as new headlamps with integrated – and now essential – daytime running lights and a new sleek front bumper. Meanwhile, the Civic hatchback is also being treated to a new rear bumper, side skirts, a rear spoiler finished in black, and LED rear lamps.
The sporty upgrades aren’t limited to the outside either. The interior will benefit from some new seat fabrics and stitching on the headrests, new door trims that now have chrome door handles and a control panel that’s been nicely finished in a metallic black.
What’s probably of much greater interest than a few cosmetic adjustments to the normal car is the introduction of a new Sport derivative to the range (that’s the blue without the red stickers on this page).
The Civic Sport is based on the normal Civic hatchback and it’s powered by either the 1.6-litre, 118hp diesel engine or the 1.8-litre, 140hp petrol engine. The new model also gets the usual ‘sporty’ enhancements of 17-inch alloy wheels and a colour-coded rear spoiler, as well as a few styling cues that have been borrowed from the upcoming super-sporty Type-R model.
It’s all about connectivity and infotainment these days and the 2015 Civic will be the first car in the range to get Honda’s Connect in-car audio and information system.
Honda Connect’s key features are DAB digital and internet radio, Bluetooth, internet browsing, satellite-navigation and a rear-view parking camera. These features may not exactly be unique in the current market, but this system denotes another significant forward step by Honda in making its products more appealing to a younger demographic – and anyone who likes a good bundle of gadgets to fiddle with in motorway queues.
Interestingly, while some competitors like Peugeot have systems like this that are heavily weighted toward Apple’s iOS software, Honda Connect runs Android 4.0.4 and features the familiar pinch, swipe and tap functionality of a smartphone on its seven-inch display.
Technology will also make the car safer. Every 2015 Civic will also now come with Honda’s City- Brake Active (CTBA) system as standard, which is designed to help avoid or mitigate low speed accidents using radar technology to scan the road ahead, automatically applying the brakes if an imminent risk of collision is detected.
What’s under the bonnet?
There’s nothing exciting happening as far as engines are concerned for the 2015 model year. The same 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrols are carried-over from last year, along with the 1.6-litre diesel.
There is plenty to get excited about with the new Civic Type-R that is on display in Paris and we now know will feature a new 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine from manufacturer’s next-generation ‘Earth Dreams Technology’ series.
Producing more than 276hp, Honda is making some pretty striking claims about the new Type-R. The company reckons the new model is set to deliver unmatched performance against any previous Type-R as well as the iconic performance-oriented versions of the Integra, Accord and yes, even the legendary NSX. If you’re a sportscar fan you’ll know that’s quite some claim.
Perhaps the most notable thing we know at the moment about the new Type-R is that it will be the first one to forego a normally-aspirated engine in favour of turbocharged one to boost the car’s low-end power delivery.
Another thing that is new to the Civic Type-R is the ‘+R’ button that will be located to the side of the steering wheel in the new car.
To all intents and purposes it’s a sport model like we have seen on serious performance cars from other manufacturers for some time.
Pressing the ‘+R’ button will sharpen the engine’s responsiveness, and give a more aggressive feel to the Type-R’s acceleration. At the same time, the steering will become more responsive which along with the new four-point Adaptive Damper System, should deliver a driving and handling experience like we haven’t seen before from a Honda.
When can I have one?
The refreshed 2015 Civic, the Civic Sport and the new Type-R all make their debuts at the Paris Motor Show in October, but it appears we will have to wait until early into the New Year before we start to see them in showrooms – and possibly into mid-late 2015 for the Type-R.
In a line…
Honda’s attempt at attracting the youth vote is looking in good shape with the new Civics.