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Honda Civic unveiled

Civic successor: The revamped Civic features a tall stance and overtones of New Edge styling.

Honda's all-new Civic is due to make its Australian debut in less than two months

13 Sep 2000

HONDA officially launched the seventh generation Civic in Japan today.

The newcomer goes on sale in its home market on Thursday but is not due in Australia until early November.

Somewhat surprisingly, the new line-up comprises only sedan and five-door hatchback configurations - there is no three-door hatchback.

The Civic VTi-R Coupe also gets the axe but a spiritual successor - the hot Type R hatchback - is on Honda Australia's wishlist.

Even if it gets the green light, this variant is not due here until 2002.

Honda Australia sales manager Mr Tony Devers says Honda's price leader in the short to medium term will be the three-door HR-V, which starts at $21,250.

Further down the track - in early 2002 - a new three-door sub-compact will slot in at the lower end of the price scale.

Honda says the new Civic offers greater interior space along with superior driving comfort, fuel economy and safety levels.

There is as yet no official word on pricing but expect the base model sedan to cost at least $26,000. The equivalent hatch is likely to command a slight premium.

The Japanese car-maker says the 2001 Civic marks Honda's return to the original Civic "world car" concept.

Australian-spec cars will derive their motivation from a range of 1.5 and 1.7-litre engines. The range-topping models will feature VTEC variable valve timing and Honda's revised MultiMatic continuously variable transmission.

The 1.5-litre lean-burn VTEC engine is claimed to achieve class-leading fuel consumption figures of 5.0 litres per 100km.

A compact engine design and a newly developed high-performance strut-type front suspension enhance the Civic's packaging efficiency.

Like the Mercedes-Benz A-class, the new Civic features a flat floor, which maximises cabin space and facilitates entry and exit for rear seat passengers.

The rear seats have been positioned further back, made possible by the compact dimensions of the Rear Active Link Double Wishbone Suspension.

Honda says the Civic meets the highest safety standards, including frontal full-wrap collision at 55km/h, frontal offset collision at 64km/h, side collision at 55km/h and rear collision at 50km/h.

It also benefits from Honda's pedestrian safety technology.

Torsional and bending rigidity have been improved through the use of body frame parts with larger cross sections, the addition of stiffeners and the reinforcement of joints and connecting points.

This is likely to yield benefits in terms of improved ride and handling characteristics.

Noise and vibration are also claimed to be reduced with the extensive use of materials designed to block and absorb engine and road noise.

Inside, the Civic five-door features user-friendly touches such as a dash-mounted shift lever and larger seats.

The larger interior has boosted the Civic's cargo capacity - the Civic five-door has up to 732 litres of cargo space with rear seats folded. The sedan has a boot capacity of 450 litres - 40 more than the outgoing model.

Loading cargo is easier. The five-door tailgate opens to a height of 1880mm giving easy access for taller people, while the sedan gains an enlarged boot opening.

The Civic is also a greenie-s delight as more than 90 per cent of the car is recyclable.

In addition, the VTEC engine meets the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) exhaust standard, which is 50 per cent below the 2000 Japanese regulations.

Mr Devers is confident the new Civic will maintain the current model's sales volumes of about 700 cars per month, despite the unavailability of a three-door model.

Since its launch in 1972, Civic production has reached 13.3 million units and the model is sold in 140 countries.

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