Honda Civic (2022): The compact hybrid Honda in the first test
Market launch and price: The base costs just under 32,000 euros
Honda is also breaking with a tradition: First of all, there will be no more VTEC, instead the car now has a hybrid drive. The new Civic will hit dealerships in fall 2022. The prices are rising and start at 31,900 euros in the “Elegance” equipment, followed by “Sport” for at least 33,200 euros and “Advance” from 36,600 euros.
Design: Fewer curves make the Civic look more elegant
You can always tell the different Civic generations apart, and this is also the case here. While the predecessor was rather sporty, Honda now focuses more on elegance. Overall, it has a clearer and more contemporary design with fewer curves – but thanks to its long hood and sloping roof it still looks sporty.
The new, somewhat squarer headlights, which now look even more determined, also contribute to this. They frame a narrower grille. It is slightly offset forward and downward and is closed by a matt black mask with honeycomb-shaped outlets for the air supply. In the new apron, the air intakes have been combined into a large throat in the middle.
The elements on the sides are for decoration only. They are closed and house the fog lights. The new position of the side mirrors is due to safety. They are now attached to the front doors, which should reduce the blind spot.
Without roof edge spoiler and wings – the rear is tamer
The rear slopes down even more like a coupe than on the predecessor, but it’s also less wild here. The spoiler on the edge of the roof and the wing on the tailgate are omitted. Instead, there is now a small tear-off edge on the trunk lid. The shape of the taillights is more classic on the new Civic, but it retains its C-shaped signature.
The position of the third brake light is interesting: it sits between the rear lights. An almost continuous LED strip lights up when braking. One floor below, the apron is now also designed to be more tame. With the eye-catching diffuser, it still leaves a sporty impression.
Dimensions: The compact increases in length and wheelbase
A quick look at the dimensions: the new Civic is 31 millimeters longer than its predecessor. For this reason – and because of the changed proportions – the wheelbase has also been lengthened by 35 millimeters. The vehicle is now 20 millimeters lower, the width remains almost unchanged. The dimensions at a glance:
• Length: 4549mm (+31mm)
• Width: 1802mm (+1mm)
• Height: 1415mm (-20mm)
• Wheelbase: 2732 mm (+35 mm)
• Trunk volume: 410 – 1220 liters
Driving: first lap in the new hybrid Civic (update!)
In the last endurance test, the Honda Civic did not find many friends: the operation was nested, the chassis too hard and thanks to the CVT transmission, the engine was howling loud on the highway. That is about to change with the eleventh generation. First, there are its dimensions. At an impressive 4.55 meters, it is longer than its predecessor, which fully benefits the rear passengers’ legroom.
Only the sunroof, which is standard in the top equipment Advance, narrows the headroom for tall people a little. The trunk has an easily accessible 410 liters (Advance: 404 liters). Also and especially at the front, the new generosity is noticeable. Although the Civic is hardly wider at 1802 mm, number eleven looks a whole class more spacious and valuable.
Precise steering and high driving comfort
The operation is orderly, large buttons on the steering wheel can be operated intuitively while driving. Sophisticated ventilation, whose nozzles are hidden behind a panel, creates a largely draught-free climate.
But Honda shows the greatest courage under the hood: diesel, small gasoline engine, turbo – all fly out and are replaced by a single hybrid. The two-liter petrol engine with 143 hp moves to the second row and only serves as a generator for an electric motor. This works really well in practice.
Switching on works imperceptibly, the performance is linearly available. Loud howls when there is a sudden performance request are a thing of the past. Artificial switching points prevent the vacuum cleaner sound that is otherwise typical of CVT vehicles. The steering acts tight and precise, the driving comfort is surprisingly high.
On the one hand, this is due to the low driving noise and, on the other hand, to the flexible suspension. A pleasant all-rounder that is content with a good five liters in the first lap.
Interior: Inside, the Honda looks completely different
Not only is the car hardly recognizable from the outside, the interior also looks completely different. While everything was grouped around the driver on the previous model, the new design is very horizontal. In any case, this creates a more airy feeling in the room. The infotainment screen is now attached and grows from seven to nine inches. The current Honda software works behind it.
Operation is intuitive the first time you try it out, and the system works quickly. Important keys (including the home button) can be found on the left edge; there is also a button to control the volume. Apple iPhones can be paired wirelessly, while Android phones can be connected using a cable.
The digital speedometer grows to 10.25 inches
The Civic keeps the digital speedometer, it grows to 10.25 inches. While this area was divided into three in the tenth generation – the almost square display in the middle, displays for the level of the tank and cooling water temperature on the left and right – the design is now more conventional. The display is more rectangular, the other two displays are smaller and more inconspicuous at the edge.
Honda continues the more elegant line inside. Not only the materials, but also the new air conditioning control unit under the central screen now appear to be of higher quality. The temperature is still controlled via a rotary wheel, the temperature display is of course digital.
Only the selection field for the automatic transmission cannot quite keep up. With the Civic, the gears are engaged by a button. Not only are these buttons almost exaggeratedly large, they also look a bit more rustic than the rest of the interior.
At the back it gets tight from 1.80 meters because of the shape of the roof
Honda retains the (rather unusual in this class) sporty, low seating position at the front. The front seats are comfortable and electrically adjustable on our fully equipped photo vehicle. You sit a little higher on the rear seat bench, the inclination of the backrest is pleasant, as are the upholstery.
The knees have enough space even in medium-sized places. It looks a little different at the top. Because of the sloping roofline, there isn’t quite as much space above the crown, despite the deepening of the roof.
At 1.65 meters I can’t complain, but from 1.80 meters it gets tight here. Go into the luggage compartment with 410 liters, with the Advance equipment it is 404 liters. If you put the rear seat down, fit up to 1220 liters in the Civic.
Features: Revised traffic jam assistant can now also steer
Honda has improved the Civic’s assistance systems. There is a new wide-angle camera at the front: It now covers a 100-degree angle and not only recognizes pedestrians and cyclists, but also lane markings and boundaries.
This is one of the reasons why the traffic jam assistant can now not only help with accelerating and braking, but also with steering. The revised rear parking assistant uses the information from the blind spot warning system to also warn of vehicles approaching the parking space from the side when parking.
Motor: New generation with hybrid drive instead of VTEC
The system consists of two electric motors and a petrol engine, in the case of the Civic the combustion engine is a two-liter Atkinson direct injection engine with 143 hp.
The Honda hybrid drive works like this: When driving slowly, an electric motor with 135 kW (184 hp) and 315 Nm torque provides propulsion. If you go faster, the petrol engine starts up like a range extender and uses the other electric machine to generate electricity for the first electric motor.
When driving fast, only the petrol engine is responsible for propulsion. The top speed is 180 km/h. In contrast to other hybrid drives, the electric motor and combustion engine never bring their power together to the drive axle.