Honda hybrid looks unhappy

9 September 2005

Civic IMA hybridAuto Express has had a quick drive around the block in Honda’s upcoming hybrid, the four-door Civic IMA. It came away reasonably impressed with the driving experience.
Fans of the pointy new Civic hatch will be disappointed to note that the saloon body looks about as purposeful as a pudding. Its grille might be modelled on a Samurai sword, but the overall effect is distinctly blunt-edged.
Will the sharper 5-door shape see a hybrid option? The message is far from clear. Honda UK has previously said it would offer the combination, but its web site currently pigeonholes the IMA motor as a four-door-only option. But, as Top Gear notes, the conventionally powered hatch comes with a capacious cubby under the boot floor where the hybrid batteries are clearly destined to sit.
Given that Toyota is currently making the switch from hybrids perceived as dull-but-worthy to hybrids offering extra oomph without extra thirst, as in the RX400h, one has to wonder why Honda is persisting in putting its leading edge technology into a pipe-and-slippers package.
The company must have got very badly burned with its oddball Insight coupé to have come over so cautious.

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