Honda's new Civic has achieved the maximum 5-star rating of the Euro NCAP, extending the Euro NCAP Advanced reward for the automaker's Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) technology. The rating system deals with the automobile's general safety performance, giving the customers an easy-to-comprehend single score.
This system takes into consideration the availability of driver aids, child protection, occupant protection and pedestrian protection. Since the launch of the new rating scheme of Euro NCAP in February 2009, all Honda models tested were able to obtain 5-star scores.
In addition, Euro NCAP has also extended the automaker's Advanced NCAP reward for its CMBS technology to take in the new Civic. Through this reward, the CMBS technology of Honda is recognized as among the best available safety innovations, providing demonstrated benefits. The Euro NCAP Advanced scheme was developed in order to respond to the rapid development of new safety technologies, wherein no independent assessment is available.
The CMBS is a radar-based autonomous emergency braking system that has been developed to help avoid collisions with automobile whether stationary or moving in the same direction. This system will alert the driver to an impending collision both at high speeds (a situation common in motorways and rural regions) and at low speeds (common in urban driving).
Basing on the accident statistics in Germany and in the broader European community, the automaker estimates that the annual number of accidents that could have been prevented or reduced (if all vehicles come with CMBS) will range from 200,000 to 250,000. The top safety rating and Advanced NCAP reward of the new Civic mirror the automaker's commitment to general automobile safety.
The omni-directional car-to-car crash test facility of Honda at the Tochigi R&D centre studies the impacts between models of various weights and sizes. It also creates solutions to reduce occurrence of injuries for pedestrians and passengers. The facility was opened in 2001. It is the first indoor facility of its type in the world.
In designing the new Civic, the team from Honda knew that while they wanted it to have a futuristic but elegant feel, they had to make sure that the sporty characteristic would still be there. As a start, the design team changed the dimensions, with the new Civic now wider by 10 mm and lower by 20 mm compared to the current version. Additionally, while the overall design reveals a practical side to it, the style used helps underscore the futuristic and athletic elegance of the model.
One consideration that the design team needed to look into was how to design the Civic with a 5-door that would not only have that athletic appearance but would also have a look that is similar to 3-door models and their sporty qualities. What the team did was to lower the glass area of the rear window. This allowed the quantity of the side glass to be lowered with respect to the side body’s surface and thus highlight the forward design of the model. In terms of appearance, this made the sleek cabin look small especially when compared to the usual cabins one sees on the 5-door models in Europe’s C segment.
Another focus is on how the body lines are designed to give the new Civic that planted and low appearance. In previous models, body lines of the sides have the peak point running in parallel with the vehicle’s door handle. For the new Civic though, this peak point is placed lower which is in the middle of the door panel. Thus we get a continuous and low line that starts from the bumper in the front, goes all through the side, before ending at the bumper in the rear.
This gives the new Civic a lower center of gravity. It does not stop there as looking at the body side’s upper portion, the use of a plain design actually works well as it is able to contrast with how the sturdy appearance of the lower portion. Combined with the side sills, this helps catch light and thus highlight the new Civic’s more planted appearance.
In many models, the way the wheel arches are designed makes it look as if it is sticking out of the body. It is different for the Civic as the wheel arches have a design that makes it appear as if it is gracefully flowing out of the body surface. With this, the new Civic gets that unique elegant and clean appearance. In addition, the borderline that divides the wheel arch and the body is so sleek that it makes it hard to determine where one ends and the other starts. It is no wonder then why the project leader in charge of the exterior design was more than happy with how the different surfaces, from the body to the wheel arches, have been integrated effortlessly.