A new 3-door Honda Civic breaks cover at the British International Motor Show in July. The Type S shares the same platform and overall dimensions as the 5-door Civic, but it has a sportier look and feel, with re-tuned suspension to deliver sharper cornering. The car will go on sale in January 2007.
Type S is aimed at younger customers wanting style and performance in a 3-door package. It joins the 5-door and Type R Concept to complete the Civic line-up for Europe.
Exterior styling is bold, with sculpted side skirts flaring towards both the front and rear wheels and blended into the wheelarch surrounds. These then flow into the front and rear spoilers to complete the lower body structure, all of which is finished in a gun metal finish.
Elsewhere, Type S exaggerates the coupe-like profile with a unique rear side window, the lower edge of which kicks upwards to give a distinctive tapering shape.
To give the Type S sharper steering response, improved ride and excellent cornering stability, the suspension has been specially-tuned, with revised spring and damper settings and a 20mm wider rear track. This broader stance, coupled with the deep front air intake and standard 17-inch alloy wheels, gives the Type S a particularly muscular, planted look.
Under the bonnet of the 3-door Civic sits either a rev-happy 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, or Honda’s highly-rated 2.2-litre diesel unit. Both engines produce a significant 140PS and can be combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 1.8-litre i-VTEC is also available with Honda's automated-manual i-SHIFT transmission.
Inside, silver-stitched black alcantara seats and a leather trimmed steering wheel join aluminium pedals to set a very sporting tone.
The cabin itself is focused around Honda’s unique Dual Link dashboard design - first featured on the 5-door Civic - which places key information in the upper part of the instrument panel. This means that important data can be viewed without compromising the driver’s concentration on the road.
Although the coupe-like styling of the Type S might suggest compromised cabin space, the interior instead succeeds in providing a high degree of flexibility and passenger accommodation. The distance between the hip point of front and rear passengers (803mm) equates to that of higher segment cars.
The rear seats also incorporate Honda’s familiar one-motion, dive-down feature that instantaneously creates a flat loading space. This helps create a massive 485 litres of loading space - the same as the Civic 5-door. A centrally-positioned fuel tank located beneath the front seats, rather than impinging on the luggage area, also plays a key role in achieving this packaging efficiency.
Two model grades will be offered. As well as 17-inch wheels and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) as standard, Type S gets air conditioning, cool box, remote audio controls and curtain airbags. The Type S GT model adds a panoramic glass roof, dual zone air conditioning, cruise control, front foglights, retractable mirrors, and automatic wipers and headlamps.
The comprehensive passive safety features include double seatbelt pre-tensioners on both front seats as well as active headrests for protection against dangerous whiplash injury. Front and side SRS airbags for front seat passengers and full-length curtain airbags are standard on all models. The instrument display also features an innovative seatbelt reminder for both front and rear seat passengers.
Honda anticipates a Euro NCAP result of 5 stars for front and side impact safety, 3 stars for pedestrian safety and 4 stars for child protection safety, making it one of the safest cars in its class.
The 3-door Type S will form the basis of the Civic Type R, which goes on sale in the UK in March 2007. The highly-anticipated Type R will offer greater sophistication without compromising the Type R philosophy of exhilarating performance through advanced engineering.
Aggressive styling, responsive steering, intuitive handling and greater in-cabin refinement will all be key characteristics. And although maximum engine power remains the same as the out-going Civic Type R, Honda’s engineers have further developed the 200PS 2.0-litre engine.
The Type R will also have a GT grade, which will offer extra equipment such as dual zone air conditioning and automatic rain and light sensors.Published 1 July 2006