2022 Honda Civic Sedan Up-Close! In-Person First Look Reveals a Sleek Stunner

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The all-new 11th-generation Honda Civic‘s debut is an auspicious one, and not simply because it represents the arrival of a fresh torchbearer for one of the most visible and famous nameplates in automotive history. Honda‘s announcement of a forthcoming next-gen car late last year caught us off guard: We remain so enamored with the 10th-generation Civic in all of its forms that its inevitable replacement didn’t even cross our minds. That is, until the bronze-orange Honda Civic Sedan Prototype rolled in front of our cameras in November 2020.

The prototype was just an appetizer. After recently spending some time in and around the production version of the new 2022 Honda Civic sedan, we’re hyped for the Japanese automaker’s new bread-and-butter compact. Really, really hyped: Nearly every complaint we had regarding the present Civic’s exterior or interior design—and we only had a few—is addressed with the 2022 redesign, which also retains much of what we love about the outgoing car.

Staying Ahead of the Sales Slump

Honda admits a new Civic wasn’t exactly critical to its business right now. Sales of the 10th-gen Civic increased even on the shaky terrain of the 2020 sales year, capturing a 27 percent market share compared to 2019’s 25 percent. But the 11th-gen goes a long, long way in rectifying the car’s polarizing design. Think of it as an aesthetic shift likely to pay even larger sales-volume dividends.

Aesthetically, the 2022 Honda Civic is a significant improvement. The previous car’s insectoid, Gundam-style angularity was a love-it-or-hate-it design, and we’re not upset to see the new version bring the Civic back to its reserved, clean-cut roots. The sleek new shape pulls a healthy dollop of stylistic inspiration from the Accord, retaining the outgoing car’s fastback-esque profile while smoothing out most of the zigzag edges. Our favorite change? No more massive “crab-claw” taillights, replaced now with the 2022 Civic‘s more traditional, integrated design.

Smoother, Sleeker, Sportier

Honda doesn’t hesitate to distance itself from the 10-gen Civic’s neo-Tokyo vibe. The press releases accompanying the launch of most redesigned cars promote just how avant-garde and revolutionary the new designs are. Indeed, in carmakers’ PR-heavy eyes, even the most mundane and segment-following members of a lineup are rolling sculpture. Honda, though, is straightforward about the 2022 Civic: It bills the new exterior duds as “simple, clean,” and the tranquilized interior as a “strikingly simple, clean, and modern take on classic Civic values.”

We’re tickled to report the 10th-gen Civic’s excellent bones remain beneath the latest model—not always a positive for a new car—but that doesn’t mean this is a copy/paste job, or that Honda simply smushed a lump of modeling clay over the existing version to smooth it out.

The lower, leaner appearance is no cheap trick. The A-pillars are pushed back by about 2 inches, with the front beltline lowered by about an inch to give the visual effect of a longer cowl. Compared to the current Civic, the 2022 sedan retains the same width and height, but adds an extra 1.3 inches in overall length and 1.4 inches to the wheelbase. Around back, the area just beneath the C-pillar drops by about 1.2 inches.

A Modernist Interior

Honda calls this increased focus on minimalism the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” philosophy, or M/M for short. You see it best with the new interior, a modern, unfussy space that owes much of its linear and airy design to the cheeky and adorable Honda e (yes, lowercase) compact EV sold outside of the U.S. Two of our favorite highpoints include the new thin-rimmed steering wheel design and the neato unbroken strip of hexagonal honeycomb grate stretching across the dash, elegantly hiding air vents behind its mesh.

The trim lineup is the same as the outgoing Civic’s. It starts with the LX and moves up through Sport, EX, and the range-topping Touring. Tech is one of the biggest areas of improvement for 2022, with the standard touchscreen infotainment enlarged from 5 to 7 inches, all with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Most of the impressive-for-the-segment tech is locked behind the Touring trim, including the 9.0-inch infotainment display and Qi wireless device charging, alongside a premium Bose sound system and all-digital 10.2-inch LCD gauge cluster—both of them Civic firsts. And yes, every new Civic once again sports a physical knob for the volume and tuning controls.

Daily Driver, Daily Thrills

This car should drive as good as it looks, too. We adore the current Civic’s excellent chassis setup and segment-leading surefootedness regardless of trim configuration. The new offering looks like the 2022 Civic has simply turned up the volume on our favorite song, building on the 10th-gen’s platform. Honda claims an 8 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity, complementing new low-friction ball joints on the front MacPherson struts and front damper bearings. A new front subframe is both lighter and stiffer, and the rear track is widened by 0.5 inch for additional stability. Along with revised suspension damping in the front and rear, the electric steering is recalibrated for more responsiveness, according to Honda. So, expect the new car to drive even better, even if you stick with the base car.

However, you shouldn’t expect any powertrain revelations. The familiar 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder buzzes away in the LX and Sport trims, offering the same 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque as before. The premium 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder also returns, uprated from 174 hp and 162 lb-ft to the outgoing Civic Hatch Sport Touring’s 180 hp and 177 lb-ft, alongside VTEC variable valve-timing integration. Regardless of trim or engine, all Civic sedans come with the same continuously variable transmission, though Honda revised both its programming and internal hardware. Depending on trim, fuel economy either remains the same or improves across the board, with increases between 1 and 2 mpg.

No Manual Transmission, for Now

Sorry, enthusiasts—there’s no more Civic coupe, and for the moment, no manual transmission. But it pays to have patience. Honda officially confirmed future plans for both Si and Type R variants—both with three pedals—and a five-door hatch similar to the existing Civic hatchback. If you just can’t freaking wait for those, Honda hotshots should stick to either the mid-level Sport or the top-level Touring, as those are the only ways to get the new Sport drive mode that juices up the CVT’s shift points and the engine’s throttle mapping.

Get a little too overzealous as you explore the new limits, and you’ll soon experience Honda’s new airbag design aimed at reducing the amount of cranial trauma that sometimes results from airbag impact. However, unless you’re blindsided, the 2022 Civic will do its best to make sure you never have to taste the fruits of Honda’s efforts; the package of Honda Sensing active safety systems is updated for the new generation, incorporating sharper cameras and refined programming for the automatic braking system. Low-speed braking control and front and rear false-start prevention are also available for the first time.

Overall, there’s a whole heap of Honda hotness to look forward to here—but the automaker still won’t spill the beans as to when customers might get their hands on a 2022 Honda Civic of their own, or how much (or little) they will pay for the privilege. Our guess? A modest bump from the 10th-gen car’s $22,245 base price and an availability of sometime late this summer. Stay tuned for more details.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan
PRICE $20,000 (est)
LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE  2.0L/158 hp/138 lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4; 1.5L/180 hp/177 lb-ft DOHC 16-valve turbo I-4
TRANSMISSION CVT
CURB WEIGHT 2,900-3,100 lb (est)
WHEELBASE 107.7 in
L x W x H 184.0 x 70.9 x 55.7 in
0-60 MPH 6.5-8.0 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON 30-33/37-42/33-36 mpg
ON SALE Summer 2021

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