Honda Civic Si Concept

Honda Civic Si Concept

While Honda highlighted the youthfulness of its Civic franchise at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda, chose his words carefully when introducing the new Civic concept — saying it was designed for the "young at heart" — so as not to offend the company's more seasoned clientele.

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More than 30 percent of Civic drivers are under 35, which leaves a large contingent of middle-aged folks for Honda to keep happy. And in that regard, the Civic is a good fit; it feels more mature than other small cars.

The new Civic lineup will offer the same variety as before, with multiple engine choices and trim levels, as well as a hybrid that will feature the first application of a lithium-ion battery in a Honda.

Meanwhile, the obscure natural-gas powered Civic GX, previously sold in only four states, will be available nationwide. "The Civic GX is darn near zero-emissions like an electric car, and it's here now," Mendel said. "In fact, we've had it in the lineup in the U.S. since 2008."

View Pictures:  New Honda Civic


Honda Civic Si Concept Coupe and Civic Concept Sedan

Click to enlarge pictureHonda Civic Concept (© Rod Hatfield)

Honda Civic Concept

Click to enlarge pictureHonda Civic Si Concept (© Rod Hatfield)

Honda Civic Si Concept

Click to enlarge pictureHonda Civic Concept (© Rod Hatfield)

Honda Civic Concept

What is it? A preview of the 2012 Honda Civic's exterior styling.
What makes it special? While the new Civic will have more flair than ever before, it won't lose any of the maturity that made previous versions such a hit. At first glance, the new design might seem like only a mild update because it has the steeply raked windshield and overall shape of the existing model — what Honda calls the "one-motion mono-form." The front-end styling isn't a huge departure, either. But the car is indeed all new. It's more compact on the outside but no less roomy on the inside. And the sporty Civic Si Concept coupe has more aggressive styling than the Civic Concept sedan, with a more angular front end, a rear air diffuser, a center-mounted exhaust outlet and a rear decklid spoiler. Both concept cars have huge 19-inch wheels.
When will it be available? Spring 2011.
How much will it cost? To be announced. But it probably won't be much different than the current Civic.
MSN Autos' take? Honda has managed to make the Civic look more sophisticated give it a more premium feel without losing its youthful flair. The new design is a well-executed evolution of an iconic shape that defines one of Honda's most popular models.

Watch Video:  2012 Honda Civic

Matthew de Paula wanted to be an automotive journalist ever since reading his first car magazine in grade school. After a brief stint writing about finance, he helped launch ForbesAutos.com and became the site's editor in 2006. Matthew now freelances for various outlets.