In typical fashion, Honda spent the past several months teasing the arrival of an all-new Civic sedan. Now, we’re getting the first close-up look at the 11th-generation model, albeit virtually, thanks to the COVID pandemic.
The 2022 Honda Civic adopts a new design that the automaker describes as more “simple,” “clean” and “modern.” It also adopts plenty of new technologies, both for infotainment and safety. Traditionally, this would have been the sort of formula that kept Civic high up on the sales charts. The question is whether the 2022 model can maintain momentum in a market where SUVs and CUVs, such as the Honda CR-V, have largely displaced conventional sedans and coupes.
“Civic has been the go-to choice for compact car buyers for almost 50 years and the all-new 11th-generation Honda Civic builds on that leadership with simple and sporty styling inside and out, best-in-class features and class-leading performance,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations for American Honda Motor Co.
Jumping in the wayback machine
The goal for designers was to reach back into the history of the Civic, which made its American debut in 1973. They were given a mandate to pick up on the brand’s original “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” design philosophy. That said, no one will call this a retro-mobile.
A “thin and light” body design adopts a low hood and front fenders, with a small grille above the front bumper, a larger one below giving the new Civic a more planted feel. The new Civic migrates to LED lighting, both front and back.
Subtle flaring around the wheels yield a more aggressive and premium feel, or so Honda designers contend. The windshield pillars, meanwhile, have been moved rearward two inches, the glass flowing into a coupe-like roofline that tapers into a short rear deck.
Even with the windshield pushed back, the new cabin offers reasonable space for both front and back passengers, especially considering competitors in the compact segment. The sedan’s low beltline and ample glass provide for good visibility and enhance the sense of spaciousness.
Changes to the interior
The low instrument panel is accented by a honeycomb mesh, Honda claims, “serves both form and function, creating a dramatic visual dividing line between the audio, information displays and the climate controls.” The approach also helps keep things feeling less cluttered by largely concealing the sedan’s air vents.
Honda says it adopted more premium materials for the 2022 model’s cabin. And it also upgraded the front seats on all trims, using a “body stabilizing” design that keeps driver and passengers firmly in place, whether on long trips or during aggressive maneuvering.
From a technology standpoint, base trims now get a 7-inch color touchscreen for an infotainment system that comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s an upgrade to a high-definition, 9-inch touchscreen that is paired with wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2022 Civic becomes the first to offer a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, and Touring models come with Qi wireless smartphone charging.
The push for more technology can be seen with the latest version of the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance systems. Along with existing features, such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, the 2022 Civic adds a new front wide-view camera, new Traffic Jam Assist and, on the Civic Touring, Low-Speed Braking Control.
The new model also adds what Honda describes as “groundbreaking” new front airbags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries. The 2022 model also becomes the first Civic equipped with side airbags for rear seat passengers.
Options under the hood
The 2022 Civic will offer two 4-cylinder options, like the outgoing sedan. That includes a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter package making 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque.
The powertrain now comes standard with stop/start capability, as well as a new catalytic converter. Paired with an updated CVT, it gets a bump up in fuel economy, according to the EPA. The LX trim is rated at 31 mpg city, 40 highway and 35 combined, as much as 2 mpg better the outgoing 2021 model.
The Civic EX and Touring get an updated 1.5-liter turbo-4 now making 180 hp and 177 lb-ft, up 6 and 15, respectively. The package is paired with a CVT offering Step-Shift programming. The Touring package yields 31 mpg city, 38 highway and 34 combined.
As is the norm for Honda, we can expect to see more Civic variants roll out in the next year or two, including the sportier Si and Type-R models. Whether the automaker will offer all the packages of the past, considering the decline of the passenger car market, does remain to be seen.
Look for the 2022 Honda Civic sedan to roll into U.S. showrooms later this spring.