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When I joined the Honda team in 1999, I was assigned a bright red manual transmission Civic hatchback DX as my first demonstrator and instantly fell in love.  The first items listed in the brochure for the top of the line 1999 Hatchback DX  was a low fuel warning indicator and a seat back pocket.  Taking the guesswork out of when I need gas and somewhere to store my Y2K survival pack?  Awesome!  No power windows.  No power door locks.  No CD player.  Did it have new car smell?  YES.  “I love it!”

The Europeans also loved it.  Probably more than Canadians since it never vanished from Honda’s lineup across the pond, it just got more features, faster and cooler looking with every year.  Back in Canada it came as no surprise to anyone working on the showroom floor why the sales of the original hatchback were less than stellar.  It was so bare-bones on standard features that by the time you added air conditioning (that’s right, it never came with standard A/C) customers could get a Civic sedan with standard A/C, power door locks and that new fangled “keyless entry” system everyone was talking about, at a lower price.  So Honda phased out their little classic but for years customers still came in looking to be shown a Civic Hatchback option.   Now that desire for a Canadian version finally matches up with European style expectations.  The 2017 Civic Hatchback should be here this fall and based on Honda’s history of not straying far off their concept plans, it’s not about to lose those runway good looks.

Earlier this year Honda’s new CEO Takahiro Hachigo, unveiled the new prototype in Geneva.  Shortly after that, it was announced at the New York auto show that not only would this European beauty be coming to North America but it will also be available in a 1.5-litre turbo mated to a sporty 6 speed manual transmission.  Read the entire New York press release below.

This fall I’ll relive my past in my next demo: a bright red, top of the line, manual Civic Hatchback.  I’m going to assume it will come with that fancy “low fuel indicator light“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda’s New York Auto Show Press Release:

 

 

 

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype Brings Sporty, Euro Styling to North American Debut in New York

NEW YORK, March 22, 2016 – The next-generation Civic Hatchback, with its striking design and the promise of a sporty, European-inspired driving experience, today made its North American debut in prototype form just a day before the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Honda also confirmed that it will marry the all-new 1.5-liter turbo engine to its 6-speed manual transmission for more sporty and dynamic performance. The arrival of the production 2017 Civic Hatchback later this year marks the continued rollout of the 10th-generation Civic lineup, the sportiest and most expansive family of Civics in the car’s 44-year history. The Civic Sedan was recently named the 2016 North American Car of the Year, and AJAC’s 2016 Canadian Car of the Year.

Hatchback prototype 6
Being built on the same world-class platform as the 10th-generation Civic Sedan, the 2017 Civic Hatchback will be defined by an unparalleled combination of sportiness, efficiency and utility, with distinctive styling and premium features that enthusiasts demand. The five-door hatchback will feature one powertrain for the Canadian market, a 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected Turbo engine that can be mated to either a sporty CVT or a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission.

 

Hatchback prototype 8

“The Civic Hatchback wraps the 10-generation Civic platform and five-door utility in emotional, Euro-inspired styling,” said Dave Gardner, senior vice president of Honda Canada Inc. “Offered with the first application of the 1.5-liter turbo engine paired with a manual transmission, this Civic to date will attract a whole new set of enthusiasts buyers to the model and Honda brand.”

 

Hatchback prototype 1
The Civic Hatchback will launch later this year as the third new Civic variant, joining the 2016 Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe. The 10th-generation Civic lineup will be rounded out in 2017 with the arrival of Civic Si variants and the radical new Civic Type R.

The 2017 Civic Hatchback was developed by the joint efforts of Honda R&D teams in Europe and Japan and is expected to bring new buyers into the Honda showroom in Canada.

 

Hatchback prototype 5

“We knew that we needed to create a striking and stand-out exterior design that challenged conventional European compact styling while staying true to the original Civic’s core values,” said Daisuke Tsutamori, chief exterior stylist for the 2017 Civic Hatchback Prototype. “This vehicle represents a marriage of distinctive and sporty design, rewarding driving dynamics and versatile practicality.”

 

Hatchback prototype 3

New larger and wider wheels and tires give a feeling of an assured stance, while the long wheelbase, short overhangs and sleek cabin area further add to the dynamic feel of the exterior. At the front of the car, a short overhang with large air intakes presents a sharp and aggressive interpretation of Honda’s family face. LED headlights and daytime running lights flow from beneath the boldly sculpted hood into the muscular front wheel arches.

 

Hatchback prototype 7

The sleek and swept-back body lines continue along the side of the car with a crease that incorporates front and rear door handles before culminating in the distinctive C-shaped LED rear lights. A second, lower character line extends from behind the front wheels up through the doors and meets the rear wheel arches, emphasizing the car’s dynamic forward-leaning stance. At the rear, the bumper incorporates angular creases and vents, designed to echo the aggressively styled nature of the rest of the car.

The 2017 Civic Hatchback will be produced exclusively at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) plant in Swindon.

 

Hatchback prototype 2

 

 

 

 

 Coming to the Halton Honda Showroom this fall

 

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