Redesigned 2022 Honda Civic appeals to its base with “something” more

The redesigned 2022 Honda Civic arrives with “something,” in Honda’s own words. The Civic’s revamped interior was created with Honda’s latest—and this name is real—“simplicity and ‘something’” design philosophy. As amorphous as that description is, the reality is much easier to define: the 11th-generation Civic’s new interior breathes new life into the compact sedan. And that includes a large jump in interior quality on its two lowest trim levels, the base LX and the Sport.

The updated Civic has mostly resisted the model bloat characteristic of many car redesigns. Its wheelbase grows by 1.4 inches to 107.7 inches and length is increased 1.3 inches to 184.0 inches, but the sedan’s width and height are exactly the same. Keeping the Civic a true compact was a goal in this update, according to Honda representatives, though the compact sedan appears much larger in person. From 30 feet away, it looks to be Accord sized and then does a magical shrinking job upon approach.

This impression comes from a lowered front hood and A-pillars that have been pushed rearward by 2.0 inches, which makes the whole car look longer. The sides of the body are mostly unadorned, in stark contrast to the redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra, which went for angles on angles on angles. A sharp horizontal crease runs front to back just under the windows, cementing the notion of flatness from the hood, beltline, and decklid. It’s a boxy look that contrasts from the curves found on the last few Civics. 

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

Honda had two Civic sedans on hand for me to peruse in Los Angeles last week: a Sport (seen in blue) and a top-of-the-line Touring (red). It’s uncommon for these cars to be shown in anything other than top-spec guise at their unveiling, but Honda said it was important to show what a more popular model will look like as well. 

The Sport is based on the LX, but offers a more aggressive appearance thanks to 18-inch black alloy wheels, black trim pieces, and aluminum pedals. It also adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth seat upholstery with small leather inserts, keyless entry, and paddle shifters. Honda has added a “Sport” driving mode to Sport and Touring models only, which makes the throttle mapping more aggressive. 

All models feature an Eco driving mode, though if it’s anything like the one in the previous car that will be a button to stay away from because it makes a car that’s already not quick into a slug. Honda says that the Civic has gotten chassis upgrades to improve ride quality and stability, along with re-tuned steering to provide better feedback. We’ll get to put these changes to the test next month when we get behind the wheel.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

The Sport’s interior impresses. Most vehicles in this class opt for cheap interiors on the base model, then attempt to dress them up for the higher trim levels. Honda has taken the opposite approach; the base model (which is essentially what a Sport is on the inside) has been elevated to the point where the Touring model doesn’t feel as special or necessary given its price premium. The switches on both models have metal accents and feel substantial, and an attractive honeycomb mesh panel covers all the air vents. The center console trim hides fingerprints, in stark contrast to the piano black trim pieces in competitors that are a CSI’s dream.

Even the difference in screen sizes doesn’t feel significant. The standard 7-inch touchscreen and the 9-inch touchscreen found only on the Touring come in the exact same housing, just with a larger bezel on the smaller display. The larger screen offers wireless Apple CarPlay versus a wired setup on the smaller screen (Android Auto always requires a cord), but neither measures up to the competitors’ larger touchscreens. On the smaller screen the multimedia system is less robust, but if you use either of the Apple/Android options you don’t really notice. Bear in mind that the smaller screen offers both volume and tuning knobs, while the larger screen only has one for volume.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

The Touring trim adds some notable features, including a customizable 10.2-inch digital cluster, a Bose sound system, and low-speed braking control. Thankfully, Honda Sensing is standard across all trim levels and includes adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking. The front airbags have also been updated with a design that cradles the head on impact and are meant to reduce brain injuries in crashes.

Interior space is practically unchanged. There have been slight gains in shoulder and hip room for the second-row, but leg room and head room for both rows are the same. That means comfortable seating for two adults up front and semi-spacious seating for two adults in the rear (line up your talls and your smalls for the best experience). Outward sightlines have improved noticeably. For a non-SUV, the Civic offers a commanding seating position and it will be easy to scan the road around you.

The two powertrains from the last generation carry over, with the LX/Sport models featuring a 158-hp, 2.0-liter inline-4 and the EX/Touring getting a 180-hp, 1.4-liter turbo-4. All models are front-wheel drive only and come with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Honda has released fuel economy ratings and those have gone up about 1 mpg combined on all models. 

The base LX gets an EPA-estimated 31 mpg city, 40 highway, 35 combined. The Sport falls short at 30/37/33 mpg. Predictably, the smaller turbo-4 in the EX is the most efficient Civic at 33/42/36 mpg. The Touring model drops to 31/38/34 mpg.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

The final piece of the puzzle is pricing, which Honda says will be available closer to when the 2022 Civic goes on sale this summer. If the base trim can remain close in price to the outgoing one at $22,245 (including destination charges) for the LX and $29,295 for the Touring, the uptick in interior quality will give the Civic some new life and “something” of an edge.

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