Honda’s Civic gets seat at the grown-up table

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LOS ANGELES — The redesigned Honda Civic is getting a more grown-up design and feature set for its 11th generation as it battles to stay relevant amid America’s crossover surge.

Long popular among younger drivers as easy on the wallet and entertaining on the roadway, the Civic is not taking a radical departure in the new iteration. But it does take a step toward Honda’s more stylish Accord midsize sedan.

For the 2022 model, the Civic offers an all-digital instrument panel, a sport driving mode, a premium Bose stereo system and a tasteful metal honeycomb accent across the dash as part of a simplified interior design.

“Inspired by classic elements of past Civics, you can really see how the Civic’s new thin and light body has taken shape,” said Gary Robinson, assistant vice president of Honda Automobile Product Planning. “We’ve stretched the wheelbase and adopted a cleaner, more sophisticated look.”

The new-gen Civic was presented last week with a live concert on the streaming platform Twitch and separately with a product introduction video hosted by Robinson.

Civic sales fell 13 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with 2020. It remained in second place in the compact car segment with 55,903 deliveries, behind the Toyota Corolla.

“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,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations at American Honda Motor Co.

The car’s pricing will be released closer to its sales launch in the summer.

The Civic is the first of Honda’s redesigned models to feature a simplified interior that minimizes clutter and driver distractions while providing easy access to controls for infotainment, climate and other functions.

The door-to-door honeycomb accent creates “a dramatic visual dividing line between the audio, information displays and the climate controls, while the intricate flow-through design conceals the air vents that would otherwise mar the uncluttered and harmonious look,” Honda said.

The Civic, also available as a hatchback later in the year, offers new options on the high-level Touring trim, such as the all-digital instrument display measuring 10.2 inches, new 9-inch infotainment touch screen and a Bose premium sound system.

On the lower LX and Sport trims, the standard 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine produces the same 158 hp as the outgoing model but comes with a standard idle-stop system and new catalytic converter design to improve fuel efficiency by 1 mpg in city driving, according to EPA estimates.

On the higher EX and Touring trims, the Civic comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 180 hp, for a 6-hp increase over the outgoing model, Honda said. The turbo engine also gains 1 mpg in the city cycle, Honda said.

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