► New Civic hatchback debuts
► Revamped cabin and e:HEV powertrain
► On sale Autumn 2022, price TBC
Welcome to the 11th generation Honda Civic. And before you make any judgements, be kind – it’s turning 50 years old this year. In line with its milestone birthday, the Civic gets a new hybrid powertrain (completing the electrification of the Honda range), a redesigned cabin and a *marketing voice* comprehensive suite of advanced safety features offered as standard. But first, a word on the looks…
Less angles, more exhilaration
OK, maybe that second word was another piece of marketing speak, but there’s no doubt the Civic’s looks have changed considerably from the previous-gen model. The bonnet line has been lowered by 25mm, the wheelbase upped by 35mm, the front end disabused of most of its sharp angles and the rear recrafted entirely. If you were a fan of the last Civic’s styling then chances are you may be a little disappointed, but everyone else will no doubt be relieved by the less divisive appearance.
And the interior?
A little less controversial – it’s been given a much-needed upgrade and has come out looking all the better for it. The honeycomb style air vent that runs across the dashboard accentuates the width and space on offer, while slightly retro handles for the air vents add a sense of individuality. On the functionality front, a 10.2-inch LCD digital dash display debuts, as does a 9.0-inch central infotainment screen that’s been shifted upwards to reduce up-and-down eye movement.
Meanwhile, the multimedia software is powered by a faster processor and uses the same menu system as the Honda Jazz. Having tried this previously, it’s a much better package than what you got in the outgoing Civic which could often frustrate with its slow responses and clunky menus. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard, adding to the functionality.
Honda’s also keen to point out the Civic’s suite of advanced safety features and driver aids. Included is a new 100-degree front wide-view camera and enhanced recognition tech to improve the car’s ability to identify pedestrians, road lines and motorcycles. Sonar sensors also feature for the first time, while other systems – such as Blind Spot Information and Traffic Jam Assist – have been improved.
Will it drive well?
Chances are it will. Recent Civics have always delivered an engaging drive and this 11th gen model looks like it will continue that. The rear track width has been increased, while new low-friction ball joints and revised front dampers have been added.
Also new is the 2.0-litre e:HEV powertrain (the only one currently available with the Civic) featuring two electric motors that work together to transmit power from the engine to the wheels. It’s the hybrid system used extensively across Honda’s global range including the Jazz, with a tiny bit of pure electric running at manoeuvring speeds, hybrid power when the engine and motor work together for acceleration runs, and engine mode when the efficient Atkinson cycle engine helps the car steadily cruise.
THe system’s peak outputs are 181bhp and 258lb ft of torque. The latter is just 37lb ft short of the FK8 Civic Type R. No confirmed 0-62mph figures yet, but expect the regular Civic to be punchier than many rivals. There’s also four drive modes to choose from, with a new individual mode allowing various settings to be customised to the driver’s liking. One final noteworthy point on the driving side of things – all UK Civics will get some rather tasty Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres as standard from the factory.
How practical will it be?
There’s plenty of space up front, complemented by the usual array of handy Honda cubby holes and storage areas. Climb into the back and while legroom is good, headroom is less impressive (at least with the optional panoramic roof fitted). During our preview, it was tight for a 5ft 10 adult, likely down to the sloping roofline. Official boot space figures are yet to be released, yet over 400 litres is mooted, plus the hatchback boot provides a wide opening suited to bulky items.
What about the Type R?
We know very little concrete information about the Type R, save from the fact it a) will exist and b) is set to be debuted later this year. A 2.0-litre petrol engine with some form of mild-hybrid tech is highly likely, as is a continuation of the aggressive styling seen on the FK8.