The next generation of Honda’s top-selling Civic made its debut this week on the online gaming channel Twitch.
This is the 11th generation of Canada’s most popular passenger car, and it’s due to come on sale next March or April. There are still few firm details, but we know the wheelbase and overall length will be slightly longer, with better outward visibility for the driver and passengers. The chassis will be stiffer and sportier with a wider rear track. Its engine will also be more powerful and fuel-efficient, with a totally reorganized cabin and many new technologies brought over from Acura.
It was revealed on Twitch because that’s where many of its potential buyers are, says Hayato Mori, Honda Canada’s Assistant Vice-President for Product and Corporate Strategy.
“Almost half of our Civic customers are under the age of 40, so basically millennials,” he says. “(The popularity of the) Civic sedan is not too shabby with customers of that age. Civic hatchback is over 50 per cent. It’s a very young customer base that this vehicle appeals to.”
The Civic sedan is built in Ontario, at Honda’s assembly plant in Alliston, while the five-door Civic hatchback has been built in the U.K. but will now move its assembly to Honda’s U.S. plant in Indiana. The coupe will end production this year – its buyers apparently consider them antisocial for back-seat friends and prefer hatchbacks – but there will be sportier Si and Type-R editions.
There are no public plans for a hybrid or electric version. The old Civic Hybrid ended production five years ago after being replaced by the Honda Insight hybrid. “Obviously, there will be some EVs (electric vehicles) coming in certain areas of the segment, but we have not announced what kind of vehicle that is yet,” says Mori.
No pricing information was revealed, but it’s not expected to change much from the current editions. The base price for the 2021 sedan is about $25,000, including Freight and PDI, rising through four trim levels to about $31,000. The 2020 hatchback starts at about $26,000 and rises to about $34,500.
The 2022 Civic will keep its relatively low stance to the ground, but the hood is a little longer and the A-pillars that support the windshield are moved back and closer to the driver for better visibility. As well, the mirrors are moved onto the doors for a better view out to the side.
The current “sideways-U” shape of the tail lights is replaced by a more conventional horizontal shape that is repeated in the horizontal slant of the front daytime running lights. This will be the most obvious differentiator to casual observers of the new generation, and it’s intended to emphasize both the vehicle’s width and its on-road stability.
Inside the cabin, there will be digital instrumentation and a nine-inch high-definition central touch screen that will replace many of the existing Civic’s busy buttons and switches. Drivers' assistance features and software will be brought fully up-to-date, with new airbag designs and a new, more rigid body structure for better protection of both pedestrians and occupants.
“It has quite a bit of technology borrowed from Acura,” which is Honda’s premium brand, says Mori. “Acura always gets the first, advanced stuff. Things like the advanced airbags and an improved version of the audio display system. The instrumentation panel is completely digital – high-end trim levels will have a different iteration, but even the lower grades will have a large display screen on the instrumentation panel. This will be a first for Honda.”
The vehicle revealed on Twitch and in press photography is officially a prototype, but any differences between it and the final production model will not be significant.
The Civic is Canada’s most popular passenger car, selling more than 2.2 million vehicles here since it was introduced in 1973 and more than 60,000 in 2019. The plant in Alliston built about 210,000 Civic sedans last year.
The Civic has held onto its top-seller spot for more than two decades, but it is no longer Honda’s biggest seller in this country. Mori said the CR-V compact SUV is expected to sell more vehicles this year.
The biggest seller for light passenger vehicles in Canada, by far, is the Ford F-series pickup truck, which is bought for both work and personal use. The Civic used to be the second biggest seller of all passenger vehicles, but now both the Toyota RAV-4 and the Honda CR-V sell more, as SUVs continue to outshine cars in popularity.
“I think this new generation of Civic will satisfy what customers are looking for,” says Mori. “We’re hoping to keep going with building these beautiful cars for Canadians from a Canadian manufacturer.”
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