Honda at the New York Auto Show: Home run!

26 Apr 2015 | 553 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Few people would question that Honda builds some of the most solid lineup of auto products in the industry, wdith sporty driving  and handling, rock solid reliability and resale value and popularity most companies would kill for. But one of  its biggest challenges is styling and design. The cars are attractive enough, but they have often needed that extra dash of design panache, that extra individuality and "gotta have it" appeal to keep up with the pack. A case in point was Honda's compact Civic, which had so much trouble on the styling point that the company rushed to make design change not long after the current generation was introduced. But at New York, Honda really knocked one out of the ballpark with a new Civic Coupe concept that both stunned and wowed the crowd on hand.  And many said that Honda had finally rediscovered its sports and styling roots. Civic Concept     With a sharper focus on spirited performance and class-leading versatility, the new tenth generation Civic lineup will include Civic Sedan, Coupe and Si models along with the return of the Civic hatchback, followed by the launch of a new Civic Type-R as the performance flagship of the Civic lineup. The line will include sedan, coupe and the return of five door hatchbacks along with Si and Type-R versions, and the company will make Civic the first of its lineup to use the new VTEC Turbo engines from Honda's EarthDreams Technology powertrain series in North Amrica. "The new Civic will be, flat out, the most dynamic, the most technologically advanced and the most refined and stylish Civic we've ever made," said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  "In every way, this will be an epic Civic." Civic Concept The Civic Concept shown at the show was designed to offer "a tantalizing glimpse forward to the thrilling design direction for the all-new 10th-generation Civic lineup launching in the U.S. this fall. Featuring a longer wheelbase and lower, wider stance, the new Civic emphasizes its aggressive personality and the engaging experience it will provide behind the wheel. Proportionally it boasts a longer hood, a shorter front overhang, a more set-back greenhouse and a shorter rear deck, lending the Civic a more athletic and "in motion" appearance," a company release said. The car's  wide proportions are underscored by its more aggressive wheel-to-body relationship and pronounced fender arches. Its sporty and expressive face is highlighted by bright new LED headlights flanking the "Flying H" Honda grille which is supported by deeply sculpted lower air intakes. "Charismatic, connected and athletic, our goal was to create a design that is emotional and sporty yet with a sense of timelessness and simplicity," said Guy Melville-Brown, Exterior Design Leader of the Civic concept, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "In this we set out to create a vehicle that goes beyond the superficial and embraces the very philosophy of what a true Civic should be; it’s a real game changer." The 10th-generation Civic is based on a compact platform that targets benchmark levels of efficiency, dynamic performance, safety and manufacturing productivity. Leveraging this new platform in conjunction with new Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrains – including a new 1.5-liter VTEC® Turbo engine with direct injection, a short-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, and a new, more sporty and efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) – the Civic will target class-leading fuel economy ratings and fun-to-drive performance with near-luxury levels of cabin quietness and ride refinement. The new Civic will also target class-leading levels of safety performance and will offer the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control and Honda LaneWatch™, along with Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. The new Civic marks the first time that global development of both the sedan and coupe models is being led by a North American R&D team, with design led by a team from Honda's Los Angeles design studio and development centered in the company's Raymond, Ohio vehicle development center. The North American version of the Civic Sedan will be produced in Greensburg, Indiana, and in Alliston, Ontario. The Civic Coupe and Si models will also be manufactured in Alliston. The VTEC Turbo engine will be produced in Anna, Ohio with engines also produced in Alliston. The CVT will be produced in Russells Point, Ohio. Together, these four Honda plants have invested in new equipment, processes and training to prepare for new Civic production, which will use domestic and globally sourced parts. Production of the five-door hatchback will take place at the company's Swindon, UK plant. Honda is in the midst of a series of major product launches that began with the freshened CR-V – 2015 Motor Trend Sport Utility of the Year – and continues with the spring launch of the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V crossover and the summer launch of the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot SUV. This will be followed by the new Civic release beginning this fall.  

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