30 November 2004

Almost a year ahead of its public unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show, here’s an advance preview of how Honda’s next five-door Civic will look. Taking cues from its maker’s hugely successful Jazz super-mini, the British-built Focus rival will represent as big an evolutionary step forward as Honda’s UK favourite has ever taken. Honda will offer two different body styles tailored for a broader appeal. Both will be based on a longer, wider version of the Jazz’s chassis, but the five-door version depicted here will be the closer match for its smaller sibling. Its tall glasshouse, upward kinked rear quarterlight and prominent V-shaped grille all echo the Jazz. Inside, the Civic will get rear seats that tilt and slide, and the fuel tank will be positioned underneath the front seats to maximise space.

By contrast, the three-door will be much lower and sleeker, trading on its sporty profile and more aggressive styling. Both cars are likely to benefit from Honda’s new pop-up bonnet, announced last week. This uses speed and impact sensors to lever the rear edge of the bonnet up by 100mm in the event of a crash, allowing a pedestrian’s head to be kept well clear of the engine bay’s hard points.

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