by Jay Traugott
The Honda Civic has been a cornerstone of the Japanese automaker's lineup for nearly half a century. And despite the rise of crossovers, the Civic lives. However, the coupe body style has been dropped for the all-new eleventh generation model, leaving only the sedan and hatchback.
Today, the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan has arrived, which Honda claims is the most technologically advanced and fun-to-drive generation so far. It's packed with advanced safety systems, an upgraded chassis, powertrain improvements, and far less edgy exterior and interior styling.
As consumers flock in even greater numbers to crossovers, sedans like the Civic need to be better than ever in order to justify their existence. The 2022 Civic Sedan does this and so much more.
See trim levels and configurations:
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Instead of evolving the outgoing model's edgy exterior styling, Honda went in the opposite direction with a more upscale softer look. Described as a "thin and light" body design, designers opted for a low hood, front fenders, and horizontal beltline. The windshield pillars, for example, have been moved forward by almost 2 inches in order to have a longer hood and a more premium-looking silhouette.
The cleaner exterior is further augmented thanks to that lower beltline, door-mounted side mirrors, and gentle character line extending from the front fenders to the taillights. A secondary character line begins at the bottom of the front doors and smoothly goes upward across the rear doors and to the rear fenders. At the rear, a wider rear track is complemented by wider LED taillights, and a more aerodynamic trunk lid.
The LED headlights, DRLs, and parking lights are encased in an also-wide design. A total of eight exterior colors will be available (three are all-new) and 16-inch wheels are standard with optional 17- and 18-inch alloys. Four trims are available: LX, Sport, EX, and Touring.
One of the biggest criticisms of the outgoing Civic was its "busy" interior design. Honda listened and this is the result. Driver visibility was improved thanks to pulled-back A-pillars and hidden windshield wipers. The instrument panel looks fantastic thanks to a new metal honeycomb mesh accent that stretches across the dash. Honda says this helps to create a visual separation between the audio, information displays, and the climate controls. Greater use of premium build materials, specifically the switchgear and controls, is another welcomed upgrade.
LX through EX and higher trims receive a standard 7-inch color LCD display and an all-digital speedometer and tachometer. However, to the right of this is a good ol' fashioned analog speedometer. The Touring trim, meanwhile, enjoys an all-digital LCD high-definition and full-color 10.2-instrument panel whose displays can be controlled from the steering wheel. This highest Civic grade further comes standard with a 9-inch touchscreen. And yes, there's still a physical volume knob. A custom-engineered Bose premium sound system with multiple speakers strategically located throughout the cabin is also standard on Touring trims.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard across the board while the Touring has Qi-compatible wireless charging.
Honda has carried over the previous generation's four-cylinder engines and made them even better. The 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque remains standard. The EX and Touring trims have a turbocharged 1.5-liter four spitting out 180 hp and 177 lb-ft: an increase of 6 hp and 15 lb-ft.
Both engines are paired to a CVT that's been reprogrammed to enhance fuel efficiency and improved torque converter performance for the 1.5 turbo. There are three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport. The latter is interesting in that drivers activate it by using a toggle switch on the center console. It then alters the drive ratios for sportier handling.
Engineers retuned the suspension and, combined with steering upgrades, a stiffer body structure, and a 1.4-inch increase in wheelbase length, occupants will enjoy a smoother ride and more precise handling. Fuel economy either slightly improves or remains the same as last year for all four trims. The base LX, for example, now returns 31/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined instead of 30/38/33 mpg. Standard safety includes 10 airbags and an improved version of the Honda Sensing suite of active and driver-assist technologies.
Honda has not announced pricing though the outgoing model begins at $21,250. We don't expect a drastic change. Production will continue to take place in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. The upcoming hatchback body style will, for the first time ever, be built in Indiana.
The compact sedan segment remains very competitive but it's not what it once was thanks to the crossover revolution. Still, the 2022 Civic will face off against the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai Elantra, and the Kia Forte. Notice there's not a single American automaker competitor on that list; the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze have been discontinued. Neither Dodge nor Chrysler competes in this segment.
The Honda Civic helped write the book on what an affordable compact family vehicle ought to be and the eleventh generation model aims to continue that decades-long tradition.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Honda Civic Sedan: