This Retro-Inspired Honda EV Concept Looks Straight Out of the '70s, And We're Dancing on Our Shag Carpet

It's like what your middle school English teacher would drive on Mars.
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No, it is not your imagination: Honda's new Urban EV Concept, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show, looks like a cross between a late '70s Civic and an original Volkswagen Rabbit (called the Golf everywhere else in the world).


Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." So maybe Honda's designers are regaining their great form by stealing from a couple great cars as inspiration for the concept that previews Honda's planned 2019 production electric car.


“This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019,” said Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo.


At 152 inches in length, the concept is a scant two inches longer than that original '70s-vintage Civic, so the cars are similar in size as well as style.

1976 Honda Civic

The concept car's Honda badge is backlit in blue, a signature the company says it will use on all its EVs from now on.


Car designers love to use rear-hinged doors on concepts, but they are rarely used in production, so they are probably a show car indulgence on the Urban EV Concept. However, the car's use of center-mounted rear seatbelts looks like a great solution to the annoyance of clambering past seatbelts when entering or exiting the back seat of two-door cars.


It is too early for Honda to reveal technical information about this upcoming model, but it is never too soon for the company to reverse its styling malaise, so it is great to see the Urban EV Concept arrive as a wonderful return to form.