Despite extending development by a whole year, Honda still isn't ready to completely show off its ninth-generation Civic -- but the company is more than happy to preview the new compact range with a pair of concepts, which debuted this morning at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Honda officials tell us both the two- and four-door mockups on display in the Motor City are, more or less, dead ringers for the finalized production cars due later this year. That may disappoint those hoping for complete reinterpretation of the Civic's exterior form. Despite looking longer, wider, and lower than the current car, both designs are evolutions of the cab-forward profile introduced with the eighth-generation car. Much as we'd like to see Honda completely reinvent the wheel and adopt a radical new design, we can't exactly fault Honda for playing it somewhat safe -- after all, over 1.5-million eighth-generation Civics were sold over the past five years.
Designers did, however, manage to infuse both cars with a little more style than their forebears. Shoulders are a little more chiseled; rooflines bear a little more curvature; and both coupe and sedan alike generally appear less boxy than the previous car. Only one -- the red coupe -- wears Si emblems, but even the white four-door on display wears traditional Si touches, including an aggressive front fascia, tall side skirts, and smoked lamp lenses and aluminum wheels. We're interested in seeing just how much of this translates into the next base Civic, as corporate representatives suggest several of these points will change before reaching production.