Japanese manufacturer will continue to prioritise practicality over sports styling, despite more outrageous designs like the new Civic Type R and NSX
Jim Holder
13 March 2015

Honda design will continue to emphasise practicality over head-turning looks, according to chief operating officer Testsuo Iwamura.

Honda's return to the sports car and hot hatch arena with the new NSX and Civic Type R had raised suggestions that the brand would adopt more sporty styling across its range, but Iwamura scotched the reports.

"Our styling principles have been about achieving maximum space for the driver and passengers while trying to create powertrains that can sit in the minimum space," said Iwamura. "Above all, our focus is on good visibility for anyone in the car.

"Accordingly, our styling is a bit different from that of some of our rivals. Some manufacturers try to go to extremes and create sharp, dynamic styling, but our principles - which are backed by our customers - are focused on visibility and the trends according to current styles.

"That is the way Honda thinking is. We are not shifting direction up, down or sideways. Our design is accepted by our customers and we will stick to those principles."

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Honda Civic Type-R
Honda's new Civic Type R is powered by a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine

Probably the most capable front-wheel-drive car in production today, with only limited edition specials getting close

Join the debate


13 March 2015

The Type R concept looked great, and very sporty. The production model looks like a Civic that crashed in to Halfords.

Why no wide arches? Why no mad rear lights? The concept was amazing.

13 March 2015

Our focus is on good visibility? Recent Hondas have had appalling visibility. How come they've suddenly made it their focus? They don't have a design language at the moment unless you call ugly a design language.


13 March 2015

Good visibility? What are Honda talking about?

Poor rear visibility was a prime reason why I didn't buy a last-gen Civic, along with mad dashboard ergonomics and a poor turning circle.

Add to those sins, downright ugliness for the latest version and I do wonder what is going on in the Honda design department.

I used to be a Honda buyer, but the days of good lookers like S2000, CRX, Prelude Gen 3 and 4 are long gone.

13 March 2015

I think he is talking about non european markets. Look at their Asian and North American cars. Its the bland practical styling from Hondas good ole days. Honda admitted themselves that in europe they would try something different, and go for "fascinating" designs. I hope his comments mean Euro Hondas will go back to the boring designs of old... then I might become a customer again. Before getting a Golf, I didnt even consider test driving a current shape Civic... its just soooo ugly.

13 March 2015

I am sure it would be possible to stick to the good principals of visibility and passenger space without surrounding the car mechanicals and occupants in designs that stop people from buying their cars. However i am not convinced the civic even does that.... Statements like this must be very depressing for people who work in Honda dealerships.

13 March 2015

I am afraid that is exactly what the Civic achieves, not to tidy at the front and then you catch the rear ugh. Don't know how they can even put forward this approach when the evidence contradicts it totally.

13 March 2015

jazz vs fiesta vs polo



Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart
  • MX-5 RF 2.0 160
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    The distinctive 'retractable fastback' roadster promises typical MX-5 dynamics coupled with better refinement. It achieves the former, but the latter isn't quite there yet
  • Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Facing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Country Road
    First Drive
    12 January 2017
    Infiniti’s premium mid-sized saloon packs a serious punch, but lacks the dynamic prowess of European rivals