You blinked your eyes and just like that, the 11th generation, 2022 Honda Civic is inching closer to being officially production ready. Maybe it was the time warp that occurred between the onset of the global pandemic and the shoulder shrug concerning its current status, but it feels as if the five-year stretch that accompanied the 10th generation model blazed right by.
When the sheet was pulled back on the 10th generation Civic back in 2015, it was met by as many "boos" as it was "oohs and ahhs," as the announcement that the majority of the line would be powered by a turbocharged, 1.5L L-series engine quickly spread. By this point, after having seen some of the impressive power output obtained by enthusiasts backed by a burgeoning aftermarket, Honda's choice to join other manufacturers in the use of small displacement, boosted powerplants seems to have been embraced by the majority, and we expect the brand will continue down this path with the Civic family's 11th iteration.
Trial By Fire
In terms of styling, like any new car offering, there will be blood. With multiple mentalities within the enthusiast bubble all interacting within a rather cramped social media space, which often doubles as homemade soap box, sharp-tongued commentary is sure to follow. Keep in mind, this is a prototype, but given Honda's recent track record with models like the FK8 Type R and the more recent TLX redesign, it might be a safe bet that the finished product will share much of what you see pictured.
What makes the 11th gen. Civic prototype so interesting, at least at this early stage, is the fact that although it borrows a few styling cues from other Honda/Acura models, it doesn't stray far from its 10th generation sibling. For as many comments as you're likely to read about how it has Toyota "this" and Audi "that," much of the aesthetic can be pinpointed to current or previous models like the ILX and Accord. In addition, its jump from the 10th to 11th gen., based on the prototype, might very well carry more similarities in overall design than any other Civic model transition, sans Honda's 1st and 2nd generation lineup.
Up front, the triple center-grill treatment that saw a mild-sized lower grill that fed the Civic's front-mount intercooler and two thinner openings that sat above and below the car's "H" emblem is replaced with just the openings. At the top, a single grill, reminiscent of the updated FK8 Type R's look, takes the place of the dual configuration. The main grill opening follows suit with the rest of the automotive industry in that it's about three times the size of the 10th gen's. The slanted slats that separate the various rows, somewhat similar to Nissan's new Z Proto, replace the more traditional style of the past.
Updated, Not Reinvented
On either end of the enlarged main bumper opening are the familiar side grills, though it looks as if they've been flipped upside down with their main leading edge coming from the bottom and making a short 180, whereas the previous model did the exact opposite. The lower portion of the bumper sticks out further than its upper level, just as it did with the previous model. The headlights appear slightly longer and a bit narrower, with their inner edges ending in a peak, rather than a blunt stop like the Civics you'll find currently at the dealer.
Super Street had its share of 10th gen. Civic builds
Overall, the front end doesn't move all that far away from its predecessor, other than the larger main grill. What does change fairly dramatically is the shape of the hood - most notably, the front portion. On the 2016 and up, a few body lines started near the side mirrors and curved slowly inward toward the front of the hood. Along with covering a portion of the fender tops, it left a little real estate between the hood and the grill. In this case, those lines are there, though toned down considerably and that extra unused space has increased, leaving the hood much flatter with a very rounded look based on the body line break points.
With the flatter hood, you'll find the loss of the slight arc of the front fenders, which are now squared off and, as a result, there's a stouter profile and one that feels a little less curvy than the sedan before it. The flanks of the prototype feel eerily similar to the current model and roll right into the rear quarter, which is also familiar. What looks different is the height of the roofline and, more specifically, the rear windows. Space in the back seemed ample and I never had any complaints about the headroom with our loaner Si sedan, but perhaps it was necessary in this design.
Along the side, you'll also notice the mirrors are no longer positioned where the A-pillar meets the door and instead bolted to the door itself, just as it was on 8th and 9th generation Civics. The A pillar itself is moved down by an inch and back by two inches. This further elongates the look of the flat hood and pulls the feel of the cabin back considerably. Out back, the trunk incorporates a "CSL-esque kick" that pulls the body lines upward above the larger taillights and bumper reflectors. Gone are the faux vents on the rear bumper and rather than going with a center-mounted exhaust system, this concept goes traditional with muffler finishers on either side. The concept for this model, according to Honda, is "thin and light" and it seems that they've achieved that based on a leaner, less muscular outward appearance.
Possibly the biggest gripe from our side of the automotive industry's aftermarket is the size of the Civic which seems to have grown closer to its cousin, the Accord, and many will recall the days when the two families were much further apart. While we weren't given the dimensions of the prototype, Honda reports that the body is in fact an inch longer than before and it'll be interesting to see how much closer the two models will become.
We were only provided a sketch, but the interior seems to be an area that Honda really wanted to attack and completely revamp. They explained that a fully digital instrument cluster will be incorporated along with a 9-in. screen that sits atop a dash that sits lower than previous Civics in order to grant ample visibility with the new display. The vents that usually sit on either end of the dash and in the center will be in place, though cleverly hidden by a sort of honeycomb design that spans the length of the interior. It's part of Honda's Human Centered focus that, for you and I, must include a manual transmission, and Honda says that will happen. The Si and Type R will eventually return, along with a standard hatchback model to join the sedan, and 6-speed manual versions will be available throughout the lineup. The coupe, as you might already know, is not in the cards.
Big Numbers, Reasonable Price Tag
Pricing for the next Civic model is intended to stay in line with the current model and delivery is expected to take place in late spring of next year. If you were one of the many who questioned Honda's design and performance choices for the 10th generation Civic family, just know that one thing is for certain: Honda is selling cars. The 2016 to 2020 Civic has outsold every passenger car in the country and its 1.5 million customers helps push the Civic family sales in total to over 12 million since the model's launch in 1973. Absolutely staggering numbers, and with the 10th generation family garnering a ton of success for Honda, we expect the upcoming model will do the same. Whether or not it'll hit hard in the enthusiast market is still to be determined, and we'll need to know the details of what's under that redesigned hood.