Honda has lifted the wraps from the 11th generation of its motoring mainstay, the Civic hatchback.
Coinciding with 2022 marking the Civic’s 50th birthday, the new model gets a stylish ‘fast-back’ design, a redesigned cabin, plus a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features.
Honda also took the same opportunity to tease a forthcoming C-sector SUV - more on that later.
When it goes on-sale in the UK in the autumn, the new Civic will only be offered as a hybrid model using Honda’s e:HEV technology. Powered by Honda’s new 2.0-litre e:HEV powertrain featuring a 72-cell lithium-ion battery, two electric motors, it’ll be mated to a CVT gearbox. The latter promises to sit comfortably with the hybrid element of the newcomer.
There’s no electric-only range mentioned by Honda, but the company does stress the new Civic will deliver increased all-round efficiency thanks to the electric assistance.
The engine also delivers a notable level of power; 181bhp and 258lb ft of torque. Worth highlighting the latter figure is just 37lb ft short of the FK8 Civic Type R. We’ll have to wait for Honda to confirm the new Civic’s 0-62mph time, but it’s fair to assume it’ll be a bit quicker than its main rivals. WLTP-rated CO2 emissions are quoted as under 110g/km.
Civic drivers will be able to select from four driving modes, Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual which can allow the Civic to switch between fully-electric, hybrid and engine-only power. The Individual mode allows the driver to select various settings to customise the car to their specific liking.
And yes, the range will ultimately include a new Type R, which again is expected to retain its current 316bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged powertrain.
There’s also a choice of three trim levels — Elegance, Sport and Advance. The range-topping Advance gets a 10.2-inch drivers’ display LCD panel and a Bose 12-speaker sound system. The new Civic also includes a new nine-inch central touchscreen as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
As for the external styling, the new Civic hatch has certainly been toned down a tad compared to the outgoing model; fewer slashes, no fake vents and all-in-all a much cleaner look. The front end mirrors that of the Civic saloon, which has already launched in the US, but the big difference is at the rear where its new fast-back design catches the eye. Plus it’s generated a much larger boot opening than the saloon. Honda designers have also extended the newcomer’s wheelbase by 35mm over the out-going model, plus introduced a wider rear track. The latter is bound to further enhance the Civic’s already impressive cornering stability.
The latest model also benefits from a new version of SENSING, the firm’s system of advanced safety features. Included in the package are lane keep assist, blind spot information, low speed braking control, improved recognition technology and a 100-degree front wide-view camera. All UK Civics will be shod with rather tasty, and grippy, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres as standard.
With the launch of the new hybrid Civic, Honda’s European line-up is now fully electrified, with the e:HEV name already having been used on the hybrid Jazz, CR-V and HR-V.
Worth remembering also, following Honda’s decision to sell its car manufacturing plant in Swindon, the Civic will now be built in Japan and shipped to the UK. As for prices? Except it to sit around the same as the recently updated mild-hybrid Ford Focus at £28,625.
Alongside the unveiling of the new Civic, Honda bosses also confirmed the company will launch a new model into the C-segment SUV sector. That means the new model will go head-to-head with the likes of the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai.
Tom Gardner, Honda motor Europe senior vice-president, said: “Sitting alongside Honda’s existing HR-V and CR-V, this car will provide a compelling option for those customers looking for a sporty, dynamic, full-hybrid option.”
Honda has yet to confirm the new model’s name, but what we do know is it will be hybrid-only. Why? Because the company believes strongly that hybrid not only acts as a comfortable step-over point for customers transitioning to zero-emissions driving, but also it continues to help lower CO2 emissions.
Details of the C-SUV are understandably limited, but it would probably be safe to assume it’ll be powered by the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder hybrid e:HEV unit which will appear in the latest Civic. The interior is also likely to include many aspects of the Civic, including Honda’s 10.2-inch digital dial display along with a nine-inch touchscreen and 12-speaker Bose sound system.
And certainly the sketches released by Honda illustrate an SUV which looks funky and sporty. As you’d expect there’s the usual Honda design cues, notably the sleek headlights and curvy rear light, which looks as though they mirror those of the new Civic.
At the front, the grille — at least certainly in the sketch — is a notable departure from the traditional, established modern Honda look. Wide arches and sporty side vents also add to the SUV’s solid stance. The rear looks clean and uncluttered, with no vents and only a small spoiler.
Due next year, I’d expect the C-SUV to be priced from around £30,000 which, logically, would slot it between the current HR-V and all-new CR-V.