- Lots of new technology options on the top trims move the Civic forward in this crowded segment
- Slightly better fuel economy wrapped in updated and more Accord-like design elements
- New safety and driver assist features continue to keep the Civic a contender among rivals
It seems like just yesterday our misspent youth was flashing past in a tiny, little, and fun 90’s Honda Civic. These cars were a joy, they were engaging despite being slow, and incredibly reliable. They spawned a generation of car enthusiasts who largely got their parents’ hand me downs. Enter the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan, a more grown up and refined 11th-generation of the cars we always liked. Honda has sold a staggering 12 million plus of these cars since the 70’s, so as to not mess with that winning formula, this latest 11th-generation model is more evolution than revolution.
Though we haven’t gotten the seat time yet in the new 2022 Honda Civic, we saw some important technology updates that keep this car a class leader. Some of these new features include better interior technology, like a standard 7- or optional 9-inch CarPlay enabled infotainment, an LCD dash panel, Qi-wireless charging, and a 12-speaker Bose sound system on the Touring trim. What hasn’t gone away is the insistence of manufacturers like Honda to put a giant tablet-like block in the middle of the dash, a fad we hope dies away sooner rather than later.
The interior, tacked on tablet mid-dash aside, is sharp and looks very clean. The dash gets a nice silver mesh treatment for venting and the finishes look on par or better than others in the class. The overall appearance has long abandoned the old split dashboards of the 8th-generation Honda Civic models and now has a much more traditional, dare we say, German feeling. We’d also note that with the infotainment screen’s upward move that we earlier lamented, it now allows for easier use and better sight lines being above the HVAC vents. The prior Civics had the vents above the screen meaning a further look downward, and away from the road, to see the screen. So maybe Honda gets a pass for the screen…this time.
What’s also new is more safety, including a Honda Civic-first rear-seat side impact airbags, significant chassis improvements for more stiffness (13-percent stiffer to be exact), and better NVH treatment. Honda’s proprietary Honda Sensing suite is also in the mix now, giving drivers an added safety edge by augmenting their own capabilities with driver aids like lane-keeping assist. What’s more impressive is that Honda managed to keep all these new tech and safety advances to within roughly 50 pounds of the outgoing Honda Civic. Impressively, most models come in at or under 3,000 pounds—no small feat in today’s ballooning automotive landscape. Usually new and advanced features tag hundreds of pounds onto an outgoing car—looking at you the Mitsubishi Lancer/Evo X.
The drivetrain options haven’t changed much. The lower LX and Sport trims are powered by the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine that makes 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The two upper EX and Touring trims, get last year’s 1.5-liter mill but with tweaks to increase power by 6 horsepower and 15 lb-ft. This engine now makes 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque with a wide and flat torque curve from 1,700 to 4,500 rpm.
All of these engine choices are mated to an improved CVT, which on the Sport and Touring trims has paddle shifters and a sport mode. On a driver’s note: the manual, which was ditched for the 2021 Honda Civic, does not appear to be returning with the new Civic in 2022. A sad note for many of us that used to fly around banging off crisp shifts in the Honda’s of the 90’s. Efficiency and market demand are driving many manuals out at an impressive rate in the US market.
Through improvements in many areas like transmission tuning and keeping the weight down, the 2022 Honda Civic turns in the same or better EPA mileage in all categories and trims. The base trim LX model gets 31 city, 40 highway, for a combined 35 mpg overall. This is a 2-mpg improvement over last year’s outgoing Civic in the same trim. Even the top trim Touring model will turn in a solid 34 mpg in mixed driving, a 1-mpg improvement.
This is still a highly competitive market segment, with strong challenges from the likes of the Mazda 3, new Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla. Most domestic automakers have long since abandoned this segment and are now pushing buyers into crossovers, so you won’t be seeing something like a new Ford Focus or Chevy Cruze on the lot anywhere. We’d be remiss to not mention pricing, which wasn’t included in the discussion of the new Civic. It’s certainly possible that a fully optioned Honda Civic Touring could crest the $30,000 mark. In which case, the bigger and better appointed Accord could be a solid option or some of the crossover competitors like the Mazda CX-5 or even Honda CR-V and HR-V.
In many ways the new Civic appears to be a smaller and lighter optioned Honda Accord. The styling in particular has a very Accord feel from many angles. Don’t get us wrong, the Accord is a great car and downright fun in the manual, 2.0-liter turbo trim, but the Civic is not the Accord, and it’s further from the Hondas of old. All this said, evolutionary improvement to the 2022 Honda Civic sedan continues to move it upmarket and, perhaps with those of us who grew up with the Hondas of old, into a more mature adulthood.