|Honda to Unveil the New Civic 3-door in Geneva|
| Honda Motor Europe will introduce its all-new Honda Civic 3-door model in a world debut at this year's Geneva Motor Show (March 1-11), joining the 2-, 4- and 5-door body styles and completing the new Civic range.
The 3-door is to be built exclusively at Honda's Swindon, UK, plant, commencing in the summer of 2001.
Sporty styling, compact dimensions, generous interior space and a fine ride and handling balance mean it will appeal to a wide range of customers, but particularly to a younger audience. As well as 1.4- and 1.6-liter models, the range is headed by a new 200 PS performance flagship, the Type-R.
Honda's seventh generation Civic range has demonstrated that reduced dimensions overall do not necessarily equate to a corresponding reduction in cabin space. The 3-door variant is no different in this respect. While it is shorter overall by 45 mm with a wheelbase reduced by 50 mm-to the benefit of maneuverability-interior dimensions are either similar to, or improve upon, those of its predecessor.
The 3-door shares the same 'short nose' design as its sister models, achieved through clever packaging of the engine, compact front suspension and high-mounted steering gearbox. At the rear, a more compact, reactive link double wishbone suspension, plus a clever underfloor layout, result in a flat cabin floor without a central tunnel.
With class-leading levels of impact performance, the 3-door is anticipated to achieve a Euro-NCAP 4-star rating for both front and side collisions, and high levels of pedestrian safety.
The design imparts a strong sense of solidity. The character line along the side provides a strong, muscular appearance when viewed from the side. This is complemented by the high-curvature rear end in which the tailgate glass extends relatively far forward into the roofline to meet the standard rear roof spoiler.
The Type-R has a more overt, sporty appeal, thanks to a range of spoilers that enhance aerodynamics and a mesh-type front grille. A 15 mm lower ride height further signals the high performance intent.
The spacious, airy cabin reflects the Civic's excellent packaging. In terms of ambience, Honda has aimed for a sporty, high quality feel; excellent visibility, sporty three-spoke steering wheel and highly supportive seats are complemented by a high degree of practicality. With 10.5 liters of cabin storage space in total, finding a place for small items won't be a problem. A dash-mounted gear shift lever makes shifting safer and more convenient as well as providing a sporty feel.
Load space has been increased by 84 liters, to 313 liters (VDA), with a space saver spare tire fitted. Since extending the load area is potentially awkward in 3 door cars, the operation has been made as simple as possible. Push button catches, which can be reached either through the tailgate or from the interior, release the 60:40 split seat back that folds straight down onto the seat base to create a flat load floor. The rear hatch aperture width is a highly practical 1245mm.
The Type-R's aggressively sporting image is reflected in large, racing car-influenced seats which are firmer and provide even more support than those of the standard model. Additional flourishes are provided by white instrument faces, a titanium-effect gear knob, and an embroidered Type-R logo at the base of the headrest.
Designed for greater torque and driving flexibility, the Civic 3 door's 90 PS (66 kW) 1.4 SOHC and 110 PS (81 kW) 1.6 SOHC VTEC gasoline engines are highly efficient, aluminum alloy 16-valve units.
Compared to their predecessors, torque in the 1.4-liter rises from 126 Nm at 4,600 rpm to 130 Nm at 4,300 rpm, while in the 1.6-liter, 143 Nm at 4,800 rpm is increased to 152 Nm at 4,300 rpm, resulting in substantially improved fuel consumption. Both can be mated with either a 5-spee manual or 4-speed Grade Logic automatic transmission.
The 2.0-liter engine of the Type-R is part of the new family of highly advanced DOHC i-VTEC engines from Honda featuring Variable Timing Control (VTC) as well as the highly renowned VTEC system. Its 200 PS (147 kW) at 7,400 rpm and torque of 196 Nm at 6,500 rpm enables the Type-R to reach 62 mph in just 6.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 145 mph (233 km/h).
Complementing the engine is a new 6-speed close ratio manual gearbox with carefully spaced ratios to ensure engine speed remains within the power band throughout acceleration. An engine speed of 3,100 rpm at 100 km/h makes for comfortable cruising and improved fuel economy.
The 3-door model shares the same suspension arrangement as the rest of the Civic family, with toe control link MacPherson struts at the front and a reactive link double wishbone design, which offers toe-in characteristics under braking for greater safety, at the rear.
This arrangement-together with a better balance between front and rear roll centers, a more linear steering response and excellent body rigidity-means the Civic 3 door offers the driver an outstanding level of control and feel, a supple ride, and a highly agile chassis.
Additional stiffening in the form of a strut across the rear of the engine bay and a strut between the rear wheel arches gives the Type-R even greater tautness and precision. These measures are matched by firmer dampers and springs, and alloy wheels wearing 205/45 R17 tires. Also, larger front disc brakes than the standard Civic 3-door, with a firmer pedal action, ensure stopping ability to match the Type-R's high performance.
An electric power steering (EPS) system on all models provides a number of benefits including enhanced economy, programming flexibility and smoother operation.
Information correct at time of going to press
N.B: Specifications may vary from one country to another.