Honda has done away with the bland looks of the current Civic and will unveil the latest version of its subcompact range at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Wider, lower and shorter than the current car, the new Civic is unashamedly sporty!

Honda has done away with the bland looks of the current Civic and will unveil the latest version of its subcompact range at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Wider, lower and shorter than the current car, the new Civic is unashamedly sporty!


When Honda unveiled a striking concept of the new Civic at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the company's president, Takeo Fukui, announced that the range would spearhead the brand's move into the luxury segment of the subcompact market.


And, as can be seen from these pictures, Honda has retained many of the revolutionary (for the Civic!) design cues it showcased in Geneva. Following its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Show next month, the new Civic will go on sale early in 2006.


To date, the Civic has accounted for roughly one-third of Honda's worldwide sales total. The latest incarnation of the subcompact is claimed to be "sporty, emotional and fun-to-drive" and has a distinctive wedge-shaped forward cabin.


The new Civic is 35 mm shorter and 35 mm lower than its predecessor, but Honda has increased the overall width by 65 mm and the front and rear tracks are up by 34 mm and 45 mm to enhance the new car's sportier on-road presence and improve handling. Its front end is distinguished by a wide, chevron-shaped "see-through" grille, which houses both the headlights and side indicator units.


Despite being shorter and lower on the outside, the new Civic is reportedly more spacious inside. The instruments feature the "Dual Link" concept, in which some driving information, such as vehicle speed, is displayed in the upper, receded section of the facia and other readouts in the forward section of the instrument binnacle, which also includes a red engine ignition button.


The rear doors' handles are integrated into the window frame surrounds, a feature first seen on Alfa Romeo's 156 and 147 five-door models. The rear seats can be tipped upwards to form a second storage area in the passenger compartment and also have a one-motion, fold-down feature to create a flat loading space. The total volume of the luggage compartment is 485 dm3 and the cargo floor can drop down to reveal an under-floor compartment.


The Civic's initial engine lineup will comprise 61 kW 1,3-litre and 103 kW 1,8-litre petrol and 2,2-litre 103 kW turbodiesel units mated with 6-speed manual transmissions. Six-speed automated manual transmissions will be optional on the petrol-engined models.


The range's standard safety specification includes ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), a vehicle stability assist system (designed to assist the driver in maintaining control during cornering, acceleration and sudden manoeuvres by applying brake force to the right or left hand wheels as necessary and managing the throttle and brake systems), a seat belt reminder function for the rear passengers, double pre-tensioners for the front passenger seatbelts, active front head rests and side curtain airbags.


Honda SA announced on Monday that it was "currently studying the model lineup and timing for the introduction of this ground - breaking new model on local shores in 2006".


The company's managing director , Hiroaki Shibata , said: "This model represents a real opportunity for us to move the Civic up into the premium segment of the market, both in terms of the number of features and overall styling of the vehicle.


"A lower-end budget version of the vehicle will no longer be available and we therefore foresee targeting this vehicle against competitors... such as the BMW 1-Series and the Audi A3," he added.