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LA Show: Say hello to the Civic Coupe

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Los Angeles — Honda gets a jump on the Los Angeles Auto Show festivities Tuesday by pulling the wraps off its all-new 2016 Civic Coupe, the second of a record five different models for Civic’s 10th-generation lineup.

The Honda Civic Coupe production model is shown at Honda’s Advanced Design Studio as part of the Los Angeles Auto Show, where it was unveiled Tuesday.

In its two-door wardrobe, the new Civic, to be unveiled at Honda’s Advanced Design Studio in downtown Los Angeles, will sport sexier lines than the volume-seller Civic four-door sedan. The Coupe will be built on the same all-new chassis as the sedan, promising to offer more nimble handling, a roomier and quieter interior, and a suite of technology upgrades over its previous generation.

While the Civic has been the perennial compact car retail sales leader, critics panned the car’s tired styling and couch potato handling as a detour from Civic’s sporty past. With the new chassis, Honda aims to win back its athletic reputation with a wave of more performance-oriented vehicles. The effort comes at a time when customers are trading in their small cars for small crossovers like Honda’s HR-V and CR-V. Together with a publicity campaign aimed at Millennials, Honda hopes the Coupe will help draw younger buyers into the showroom.

The Coupe comes loaded with Millenial-bait like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an iPad-like console display and compact class-leading fuel efficiency. Like the sedan, the Coupe will offer two new engine options, a 2-liter inline-four cylinder and 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder. The turbo is Honda’s first-ever forced-induction offering.

The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an iPad-like console display and compact class-leading fuel efficiency.

The Coupe’s styling also will give a tantalizing look at the coming Civic Type-R, a rowdy, 300-horsepower hot hatch that will be sold here for the first time in the U.S. That car already has motorheads drooling. The Type-R likely will be the final offering in the Civic lineup that also will include high-performance Si models and a five-door hatchback.

Honda also will unveil the Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle on Tuesday, the latest evolution of its alternative-fuel, five-passenger sedan. First shown in October at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Clarity embodies Honda’s belief that hydrogen fuel-cell technology is ultimately the best alternative to the gas engine because of its longer driving range and more convenient refueling times (three minutes) compared to a battery-powered electric car.

The Clarity, which has better performance and efficiency than the brand’s previous fuel-cell entry and boasts more than 300 miles of range, will go on sale in the U.S. market in 2016.

Henry Payne is The Detroit News auto critic and can be reached at hpayne@detroitnews.com.