Honda Motor Co. CEO Takeo Fukui introduces the redesigned Civic and Civic Hybrid in Tokyo on Sept. 22, 2005.
The 8th-generation Civic featured what Honda called a "bold one-motion form design, with a wide stance and extended wheelbase for a more expansive interior."
Honda said the latest Civic was designed to surround its occupants with "sensuous quality."
The Civic accounted for nearly a fifth of Honda's global sales at the time and, along with the company's best-selling Accord, was a lifeline in major markets worldwide.
Honda targeted annual global sales of more than 600,000 units, including 40,000 of the gasoline-electric hybrid model.
"We have developed the remodeled Civic to add new value to customers' needs in various regions in today's globalized society," Fukui said. "We are confident that it would exceed the expectations of customers in Japan and all around the world."
The latest Civic made its debut earlier in September 2005 in Honda's biggest market, the United States, where hybrid vehicles were gaining popularity as gasoline prices soared.
Honda aimed to sell 28,000 Civic hybrids a year in the U.S.
The latest Civic featured a lighter 1.8-liter VTEC engine that used fewer components to reduce costs. The engine also used a mechanism that helped it burn fuel more efficiently while enhancing driving performance, raising the new gasoline-only Civic's fuel economy by 6 percent.
The engine combined off-the-line acceleration on par with a 2.0-liter engine with fuel economy equivalent to that of a 1.5-liter engine.
The hybrid was equipped with Honda's three-stage i-VTEC Honda Hybrid system, and like Toyota Motor Co.'s Prius sedan, allowed, for the first time, the Civic to run solely on the electric motor at low cruising speeds.
Honda sold the 8th-gen Civic only in a four-door model in Japan, while the U.S. market offered both two-door and four-door versions. In Europe, Honda offered three-door and five-door versions.
"We want to strengthen our business in the four-door market [in Japan]," Fukui said. "We want to focus."