It was once a fuel-efficient trailblazer, now it's about as standard as you can get.
New electric vehicles, trying to be as slippery as possible and adding more interior space, have pulled their cabins and A-pillars forward like the Chryslers of the '90s and 2000s. But the new 11th-gen, 2022 Honda Civic sedan is more traditional. It's a sedan, for one, which already makes it a throwback. It has a traditional engine in front, and to make that hood look longer and more elegant, it pulled the A-pillars rearward 2 inches. That's a subtle design element that emphasizes the Civic's more planted, grown-up look.
That, along with the new low beltline, the swept-up character line, new wider-set headlights and taillights and the stronger rear haunches are for people on the outside looking in. We can have the debate about whether it's better looking or worse looking than its predecessor another time. The 2022 Civic gets three new colors: Meteorite Gray Metallic, Sonic Gray Pearl and Morning Mist Blue Metallic. But the real action is inside the new sedan.
Interior dimensions are close to the outgoing model, but there's a tad more legroom, shoulder room and hip room. The cowl is the same height as the door sills and the mirrors have been moved away from the windshield to provide even better visibility, which Civics always excelled at. The coolest feature is the honeycomb grille that stretches from door to door. It acts as a visual breakup of the infotainment on top and the climate controls below. It also hides the vents for an extra clean look.
The new center console is textured and designed to resist fingerprints, and all new Civics get a new seat design using Honda's "Body Stabilizing Seat" approach, which should help on longer drives. The new seat features a new frame, a new support structure, a wider bottom, which results in more padding as well as an enhanced back that increases lumbar and pelvic support. We sat in them, they were fine, though not notably more comfortable that Honda's current seats, for our narrow, 5-foot, 10-inch frame.
On the tech side, all 2022 Honda Civics will get a partially digital dash with a 7-inch color touchscreen. Touring models will get a new 9-inch touchscreen along with digital instrument display. The Civic sedan will offer four trims: LX, Sport, EX and Touring. That 10.2-inch digital instrument display on the Touring model is customizable from the steering wheel.
Drivers can select traditional round gauges with a needle or bar graphs flanking the left and right of the screen. You can also decide what's in the middle, choosing between the current music selection, a trip computer or the status of the Honda Sensing safety and driver assistive systems. A cool trick is the little icon of the Civic in the dash display, which mirrors the vehicle with head and taillights, turn signals or open doors.
The cabin features a new row of buttons below the screen for skipping tracks, navigating the audio menu and selecting sources. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. We're also happy to report that volume and tuning knobs are back, now integrated into the central touchscreen. Previous models, before the mid-cycle refresh, had a hard slider for volume, which was a bane when trying to adjust while driving.
Engine choices remain the same for the new generation, with some improvements. Your two options are a 1.5-liter turbo four or a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four. The 2.0, standard on LX and Sport trims, makes the same 158 hp at 6,500 rpm and 138 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm. Fuel efficiency is improved by 2 mpg combined on LX and 1 mpg on the Sport trim. That's due to a new standard stop/start system, a new catalytic converter and a revised CVT with less friction than the outgoing model. We expect the next Honda Civic to come with some sort of electrification.
EX and Touring trims come with the upgraded 1.5-liter turbocharged four now making 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are up from 174 hp and 162 lb-ft. The 1.5 features Honda's VTEC (Variable Timing and lift Electronic Control) on the exhaust side, which improves fuel economy by a few ticks on those higher trims.
For the first time, in addition to Normal and Eco drive modes, the new Honda Civic will get a Sport mode too. Through a toggle switch on the center console drivers will get altered drive ratios and mapping, more throttle sensitivity and the gauges will change to red.
The 2022 Civic gets 1.4 inches of extra wheelbase and a 0.5-inch wider track for a smoother and more stable ride. MacPherson struts hold down the front while a multilink setup sits in back. The front features new low-friction ball joints and front damper mount bearings to improve steering feel and self-centering, according to Honda. Enhancements in the rear include new and larger bushings on the lower rear arms that should improve turn in and reduce harsh road shocks like railroad tracks. We're extra excited about the retuned power steering system that Honda claims will provide better feedback.
The Honda Sensing safety suite is also improved with a new camera that provides a wider view. That combined with new software and processor, allows the system to better identify pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles. It now adds Traffic Jam Assist with improved functionality "such as more natural brake application when using adaptive cruise control." Lane keeping should be better too.
We don't have pricing yet, but the current model starts at $21,250 and we expect this new sedan to stick close to that.