The 11th generation 2022 Honda Civic Sedan is redesigned with a “thin and light” body design, new materials, and technologies
Table of Contents
What’s New In the Redesign?
Powertrains and Fuel Economy
Back seats and cargo
Ride and Handling
Why Buy the 2022 Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic marks its 11th generation in North America with the complete redesign of the 2020 model. This stalwart economy car made its U.S. debut in 1973 amid the first oil embargo by OPEC. According to Honda, 49 years later, the Civic is the longest-running automotive nameplate in the United States.
The 2020 redesign created the most technologically advanced Civic sedan in the model’s history.
The exterior redesign is less provocative, more mature, and enduring. Inside, there is a more premium presence to the interior with smart ergonomic access to controls and switches, despite a standard 7-inch color touch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Safety technologies include new front air bags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries. Rear-seat side air bags are a Civic first.
The driver-assist system, known as Honda Sensing, was updated for a front wide-view camera. And the top Touring model gets new Traffic Jam Assist and Low Speed Braking Control.
The two engine choices are carryover but with improvements to increase performance, fuel efficiency, and refinement.
Four-door cars are declining in interest today, but the Honda Civic sedan has been a bread-winner model for Honda.
“Despite auto industry new vehicle sales being almost 80 percent light trucks (CUV, SUV, pickups) and last year being very negatively impacted by COVID-19, we still sold over 260,000 Civics in 2020,” said Honda spokesman Carl Pulley in an email.
More than 12 million Civics have been sold since 1973. That legacy makes it one of the top three best-selling passenger cars in America, Honda says.
Civic remains the No. 1 vehicle in the industry with Millennials, Gen Z, first-time and multicultural buyers, Pulley said. “It serves as one of the primary gateways to the Honda brand.”
As before, the Civic continues as front-wheel drive with no plan yet for all-wheel drive.
The 2020 Civic Hatchback will be built in the U.S. for the first time, with production to begin later this year at Honda’s Greensburg, Ind. auto plant. The sedan is built in Allison, Ontario, Canada.
Industry sources say the new sedan and hatchback will be followed by the sporty Si and high-performance Type R.
Sedans competing with the Honda Civic include the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Corolla.
In designing the 11th-generation Civic, the stylists and engineers focused on the original Honda design approach of “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum.”
The pulled-back windshield pillars, low hood, flat dashboard, and hidden windshield wipers enable a windshield with clearly defined corners for a panoramic view.
Key to the Civic’s exterior redesign was moving the bottom of the windshield pillars rearward by nearly 2 inches. The revision elongates the hood for a premium silhouette. Honda says it is a subtle design element that emphasizes the wheels and tires for a stable, planted stance.
Dimensions and body structure
By size, the 2022 model is 1.3 inches longer (184 inches) but the same width and height as before, 70.9/55.7 inches.
Curb weights are up by 106 to 114 pounds across the trim levels. And trunk space was trimmed by just 0.3 cubic feet, but it is still significant at 14.8 cubic feet.
The body structure is the most rigid in Civic history, Honda says. The stiffer structure aids ride quality, reduces interior noise, and sharpens suspension response for better handling. In addition, a slightly wider rear track (0.5-inch) enhances stability.
The Honda Civic has a choice of two four-cylinder engines in four front-wheel-drive trim levels of LX, Sport, EX 1.5, and Touring 1.5. All models have a continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is not offered.
Starting prices range from $22,695 for the base LX with the 2.0-liter engine to $29,295 for the Touring 1.5. All MSRP pricing includes the $995 freight charge from Allison, Ontario, Canada.
The Civic Sport 2.0L
The Sport model has a more aggressive exterior and interior styling and a Sport mode with paddle shifters.
The Sport is well equipped. Highlights of its standard equipment include smart-entry locking with push-button ignition, electric parking brake, eight-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto infotainment, sport pedals, automatic high beams, LED headlights and taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 all-season tires
My Civic Sport tester was $25,657.21, which included two accessories by Honda Performance Development:
- HPD Kit of front, side, and rear underbody spoilers, decklid spoiler, and HPD emblem $1,417.80;
- Honda Genuine Accessories of a gloss black H-mark, Civic, and Sport emblems $144.41.
- The tester’s Platinum White Pearl paint added $395.
Check here for Honda Civic pricing and incentives.
The standard engine is a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter. The uplevel engine is a 180-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter. Both engines run on 87 octane fuel and all models have a 12.4-gallon tank.
All Civic sedans use a continuously variable transmission, with paddle shifters for the Sport and Touring trim levels. There is no six-speed manual for the sedan, but a stick shift will be available for the upcoming hatchback model.
The EX 1.5 Turbo model is the mileage champ. It has EPA fuel-economy ratings of 33 mpg city, 42 highway and 36 mpg combined.
Next in line is the entry LX model at 31/40/35 mpg followed by the Touring 1.5 Turbo at 31/38/34 mpg and then the Sport 2.0L at 30/37/33 mpg.
In my week of testing a Sport 2.0L, the best average fuel economy I could manage was 30.1 to 30.6 mpg, but it was consistent from town to highway.
The 2022 Honda Civic sedan can boast what Honda calls the world’s first application of front driver and passenger air bags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries.
The new design better controls head motions, Honda says. The driver’s air bag is donut-shaped to cradle and hold the head to reduce rotation. The passenger-side air bag uses a three-chamber design for a similar result.
Side impact protection was improved throughout. There are stiffer structures in the roof and doors, side sills and door pillars, rear wheel arches and rear window pillars.
There are a total of 10 air bags.
The Sport model is technologically equipped for Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. The Honda Sensing system integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigating Braking, Lane-Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic Jam Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist.
When activated, the system consistently keeps the car centered between the white lines. And, in my experience, there were no random shutoffs or alarming audible alerts.
Honda applies the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” approach to interior design. The focus is on “exceptional visibility, intuitive ergonomics, extraordinary passenger volume, and driver-focused technology.”
The approach works quite well and provides open sightlines over the shoulder and across the hood. New owners will discover the smart ergonomics in several areas, including the comfortably angled door-side armrests and window controls. Large visors slide, and there is a deep center armrest box.
High-quality materials are visible throughout the interior, especially on touch points. Special attention was given to the refined operation of switchgear and controls. And all trim levels have a new front seat design that holds firmly without extreme side and bottom bolstering.
There are numerous areas for small-item storage, including the door panels that can accommodate large bottles. The 7-inch touch-screen display includes buttons for volume and radio tuning.
The AC and vent controls also include dials to easily adjust temp, fan speed, and vent directions. Also rewarding is the wide span of vent flow along the face of the dashboard; prominent finger controls make it easy to readjust the airflow.
The shift console is slim but functional with large cup holders and an e-bin with a charging USB and 180-watt 12-volt plug. But despite all of the Civic Sport’s advanced technologies, wireless charging is only available with the top-line Touring model. And with multiple tries, I was unable to sync my iPhone for hands-free talking.
The top-line Civic Sedan Touring debuts a new 9-inch color touch screen and digital color instrument display. The 10.2-inch high-def panel is customizable and can be configured to show traditional round gauges or bar graphs.
The Civic redesign attempts to make the most of back-seat roominess, but it is still a compact space.
The rear legroom of 37.4 inches is long for a small car. But the headroom of 37.1 inches will be restrictive to growing teenagers or business colleagues.
Trunk space of nearly 15 cubic feet has plenty of reach to the back seat. The trunk entry point is wide at 37 inches, but the 18-inch access opening will restrict big-box items. Fold the seatback to carry items up to about 6 feet in length.
Civic Sport Ride and Handling
The Civic Sport ride quality is taut but not harsh. It handles well enough, but its sportiness is more in styling than performance.
The continuously variable transmission is dutiful and primed for fuel economy. Unfortunately, it also provokes engine noise on hard acceleration. Sport mode cranks up the shift response to simulate shift points, but it was almost too much enthusiasm for around-town driving.
The car rides low and the chin scrapes on driveways. In the hope of avoiding the cringeworthy occurrence, I’d make wide-angled turns into my driveway. But that only caused a scrape to the right-front alloy wheel — which was another cringeworthy moment. In my weak defense, the 18-inch Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires fit right to the edge of the wheel.
The Goodyears, too, have a hard treadwear rating of 560, which I blame for the maelstrom of tire noise inside the cabin at Interstate speeds.
The 18-inch tire-and-wheel package pushed the turning circle to a wide 38.1 feet versus 36.1 feet with the 16- or 17-inch wheels.
Four-wheel-disc braking is by 11.1-inch vented rotors at the front with solid 10.2-inch rotors at the rear.
The Honda Civic’s 2020 redesign is a remarkable improvement for refinement and premium presentation. The interior is as accommodating as it can get for a compact sedan, and the exterior’s clean lines will be a big purchase motivator.
However, the Civic has no hybrid model and some of the competitors offer all-wheel-drive.
American Honda is fortunate that it has weathered the industrywide parts supply issues and has cars to sell. With the Sept. 1 sales report, Honda said that demand has been off the charts for all-new Civic sedan and dealers are selling cars as quickly as they are trucked in.
- Body style: compact, front-drive, 5-passenger 4-door sedan
- Engine: 158-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC with multiport injection and idle stop-start; 138 lb.-ft. at 4,200 rpm
- Transmission: CVT with paddle shifters
- Fuel economy: 30/37/33 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane
BY THE NUMBERS
- Fuel tank: 12.4 gallons
- Trunk space: 14.8 cu. ft.
- Front head/leg room: 39.3/42.3 in.
- Rear head/leg room: 37.1/37.4 in.
- Length/wheelbase: 184/107.7 in.
- Curb weight: 2,935 lbs. (Sport)
- Turning circle: 38.1 ft. (Sport)
- Base price: $24,095, including $995 freight charge; price as tested $25,657.21
- Options on test vehicle: Platinum White Pearl paint $395; HPD Kit of front, side, and rear underbody spoilers, decklid spoiler and HPD emblem $1,417.80; Honda Genuine Accessories of a gloss black H-mark, Civic, and Sport emblems $144.41
- Where assembled: Allison, Ontario, Canada