Detroit motor show 2011 - Honda Civic

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Honda revealed concept cars that, with only minor changes, will be the new 2012 Civic saloon and coupe at Detroit, but that merely left lots of unanswered questions as to how they relate to the next European models.

The current Civic for the American market is a much more bland affair than the over-stylised Swindon-built European hatchback, and while the next-generation US vehicles are a little more adventurous than those on sale today, they still lag a way behind the European Civic.

One reason is that in America Honda does not have to go chasing the younger buyers that the current European car was designed to try to attract – in the US, almost a third of Civic buyers are under the age of 35.

However, the current European Civic has never quite captured the younger audience Honda craves, and has been criticised for the way the horizontally-split rear screen hinders visibility. So, will Honda take a more conservative approach along the lines of the next US Civic, or be bold again?

We are likely to find out later this year when Honda will reveal the next European model complete with a range of overhauled cleaner and more powerful petrol engines, a new small diesel and new transmission options. There will also be another Civic hybrid, although it is not yet clear whether this will be a hatchback or a straight lift of the saloon that will be offered in America.

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