During the New York International Auto Show in April, Honda unveiled a sporty-looking concept that will, for all intents and purposes, be the 10th generation Civic launching in the fall. The venerated model has been enormously successful for the company — celebrating 17 consecutive years as Canada’s best-selling passenger car — and has been conceived in lots of shapes and sizes over its long career. The new lineup will include coupe, sedan and Si models, as well as the return of a hatchback. There is also talk of a high-performance Type-R variant joining the fun at a later date. Certain members of the 10th gen family will feature a VTEC Turbo engine powered by Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology.
In the meantime, let’s take a trip back and reminisce over some key moments in Honda Civic history.
When the Civic was first launched in North America in 1973, it was available as a coupe or three-door hatchback. Undergoing some minor changes to the exterior and under the hood during the initial run, this trailblazer will be remembered for its 12-inch steel wheels, two-speed automatic transmission and 50-something horsepower engine (later growing to 63 with the introduction of a CVCC motor.)
In 1988, the larger, more angular Civic hardly bore any resemblance to the originally tiny, bubbly car. New trim levels provided power options such as windows, locks and mirrors for those who could afford it. Customers had the choice between a sedan, hatch or hot wagon with four-wheel drive and a blazing four-cylinder 105-hp, 16-valve powerplant.
Adopting futuristic, aerodynamic sheetmetal, the vehicle now came in more trims than you could count, topping the list with an Si boasting a 125-hp Variable Timing and Electronic lift Control (VTEC) motor and standard sunroof. A coupe came back into the fray in 1993. Safety was becoming a major focal point for automakers and a passenger-side airbag and available anti-lock braking system was the result.
This model introduced in 2006 most closely resembles what we know as today’s Honda Civic. Sporting a fresh and modern design, consumers got to experience i-VTEC, a more intelligent and fuel efficient take on the classic VTEC engine. All vehicles came with a 1.8-litre, 140-hp version of the aforementioned mill except the Si, which had a tuned 2.0 L with 197 hp mated to a six-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential.