We spoke to the new Civic five-door's design chief. Here's what he had to say.
Honda has always done things a bit differently, and it all began with founder Soichiro Honda. He wasn't born into a wealthy family but that didn't deter him from leaving home at 15 to work in a Tokyo garage for six years. Call it on the job training. Throughout his professional life, Honda defied the conservative Japanese business class and did what he wanted and what was right for his company. Not bad for a guy who once made only motorized bicycles.
Today, nearly 25 years after his death, Honda Motor Company still beats to its own drum. Speaking to the new Civic five-door's chief designer at Geneva last week, I was told that being a designer at Honda is unlike any other company. How so? Every Honda designer must also be an engineer by training. Daisuke Tsutamori, design chief for that kick ass new Civic five-door prototype, not only wanted it to be a practical piece of daily driving hardware, but also something fresh and tons of fun to drive. But hang on, isn't that the very nature of pretty much every Honda? Yes, but here's the kicker: one of Tsutamori-san's daily drivers is an S2000.
In fact, he bought the car immediately after joining Honda over a decade ago and still owns it today. He described his first impression of it as "driving through a city in an F1 car." Honda management couldn't be happier with that quote. They give their designers/engineers, like Tsutamori, plenty of freedom to develop sportiness in their mainstream lineup. "At Honda, how radical and extreme it (the car) behaves, gives inspiration and confidence (to drivers)," Tsutamori explained. "Everything is allowed." That's the Honda we love. So, how about that S2000 successor", I asked. "Anything's possible," Tsutamori-san replied with a smile.