New 2017 Honda Civic prototype unveiled in Geneva

Published: 03 March 2016 Updated: 03 March 2016

► New prototype previews 10th-gen Civic
► British-built Golf rival arrives early 2017

► New 1.0 and 1.5 petrols, revised 1.6 turbo 

This is Honda’s new tenth-generation Civic hatch. Well, officially this Geneva motor show car is billed as a prototype of the next version of Honda’s evergreen hatch, but 99% of what you see here will reputedly be coming down the Swindon production line early next year.

It’s a global car for Honda and it joins the recently unveiled four-door saloon and three-door coupe. A Tourer-badged estate is also expected by mid 2018.

Of arguably more interest is the news that a Type R model is expected to arrive much more early on in this model’s lifecycle, compared to the current Type R whose arrival at the hot hatch bash was more than fashionably late. Expect its tyre-smoking debut by the end of 2018.

Made in England for a global market

The Civic is a big deal for Swindon, which has just benefited from a £21m upgrade to handle 10th-gen production for all markets including America, an injection that brings total investment in the plant to a hefty £2.25b. Boosted by the arrival of the recent arrival of the Jazz and HR-V, Honda is hoping the Civic will push annual European sales north of 160,000.

The new Civic, now in its 40th year, is exactly that – new. It’s built around a brand new chassis architecture that’s allowed lead Civic designer Daisuke Tsutamori to create a car 30mm wider, 20mm lower and 130mm longer. The result is a car that looks significantly chunkier and, in Prototype guise, notably more aggressive than the outgoing model. ‘We wanted to shock our customers and move them away from traditional evolutionary styling,’ says Tsutamori.

New turbocharged petrol power plants

Power comes from a pair of new 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre VTEC turbocharged petrol engines, which make their European debut in the Civic, and a heavily revised 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel unit. No word on performance or economy, but Honda promises they’ll be exceptionally competitive.

CAR magazine’s guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

Civic prototype

What else is Honda bringing to Geneva 2016?

  • The Clarity Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered saloon, first shown at the Tokyo show in autumn 2015, will make its European debut. We’ve driven it in Japan – read CAR’s review here.
  • Honda Jazz ‘Keenlight’ concept – a personalisation special, packed with decals and a one-off ‘keenlight’ paintjob. 

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

2016 Civic prototype

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars