With the new ’22 Civic sedan, Honda isn’t trying to reinvent the compact car. Compared to previous Civic redesigns, most recently the still-polarizing 10th-generation model that debuted for the ’16 model year, the ’22 is mild instead of wild.
At a glance, it resembles a Honda Accord, sparking instant familiarity. The ’22 Civic sedan also represents a heavy reworking of the existing car’s platform, with structural upgrades, improved safety architecture, more efficient powertrains and substantially enhanced technology.
But don’t assume this is more a refresh than a redesign, because based on our firsthand experience doing everything but driving the ’22 Civic, it deserves its status as one of America’s best-selling cars (by retail sales).
Simple forms and minimalist style shape the sheet metal, accommodating a 1.4-in. (36-mm) wheelbase and windshield pillars moved back 2.0 ins. (51 mm). The hood is taller and flatter, improving pedestrian safety in a collision, while a wider rear track gives the car a planted stance.
The interior adopts a new “Simplicity and Something” design approach. The overarching goal is to make the Civic’s quality switchgear easy to operate and its displays easy to reference. But the car needs a little “something” to surprise and delight its owner. In the 11th-gen Civic, that element is the textured metal trim running the length of the car’s dashboard and extending into the door panels, onto which Honda deftly and cleanly integrates the air vents.
Honda upgrades the infotainment systems for this latest iteration. With LX, Sport (pictured above, left) and EX grades, the standard setup has a 7-in. (18-cm) touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and knobs to control volume and tuning. The Civic Touring gets an exclusive 9-in. (23-cm) high-definition touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging and navigation.
The Touring trim also equips the ’22 Civic with a new 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint premium sound system designed specifically for this vehicle and its acoustics. It sounded great as we sat in a motionless Civic parked inside a studio; whether this impression holds on the road remains to be seen.
Honda Sensing is a collection of advanced driving-assistance systems, and new single-camera technology provides a broader field of view in the ’22 Civic. Upgraded processors and software enhance system response, accuracy and smoothness for more refined operation. With the Touring model, new Traffic Jam Assist technology pairs adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance technology. This top-shelf version of the Civic also has low-speed braking control to prevent low-speed collisionswhile parking or inching along in traffic.
Previously, the Civic offered a camera-based LaneWatch technology that worked only for the right side of the car. For ’22, the Civic gets a radar-based blindspot warning system that works for both sides of the vehicle. However, Honda restricts this safety feature to EX and Touring trim, and only the Civic Touring gets a rear cross-traffic warning.
Powertrains carry over from before, but with modifications. The Civic LX and Sport have a 2.0L 4-cyl. generating 158 hp at 6,500 rpm and 138 lb.-ft. (187 Nm) of torque at 4,200 rpm. It adds automatic engine stop/start for the ’22 model year, improving fuel economy to 33 mpg (7.1 L/100 km) in combined driving in Sport grades and 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) with the base Civic LX.
The EX and Touring use a turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyl. making 180 hp at 6,000 rpm and 177 lb.-ft. (240 Nm) of torque between 1,700 rpm and 4,500 rpm. The engine is a little more potent than before and adds Honda’s Variable Timing and lift Electronic Control (VTEC) for the exhaust valves. The turbocharged engine is more fuel-efficient than the standard 2.0L, posting EPA estimates of 34 mpg (6.9 L/100 km) in combined driving for the Touring and 36 mpg (6.5 L/100 km) for the EX.
Both engines employ a continuously variable transmission with improved step-shift programming to make it feel and sound more natural when the car accelerates. The LX and EX offer Normal and Eco driving modes, while the Sport and Touring add a Sport mode and paddle shifters that give a driver more control over the transmission’s ratios.
Honda also refines the compact's ride and handling with increased structural rigidity, retuned steering and a reworked suspension. According to Honda, road shock and noise are down, too, by as much as 20%.
The '22 Civic goes on sale this summer.