It seems like just yesterday that Honda unveiled the controversially styled tenth-generation Civic, but it was actually a little over five years ago. And in recent years Honda has bucked industry trends by moving to shorter, typically five-year life cycles for its cars. If you’ve got your calculator out, that means it’s time for a new Civic. Meet the eleventh-gen Civic sedan.
What you see here is actually just a prototype, but the production Civic will look basically identical when it debuts next year. (In fact, we know it will, becauseleaked earlier this fall.) There will continue to be both a sedan and a hatchback available, but . Honda says the new Civic rides on a modified version of the current car’s platform, and despite looking a lot longer and wider, it’s only a bit longer overall, with a wheelbase that’s about an inch longer.
In contrast to the overstyled current model, the design brief for the new Civic was to create something simple and clean, with a “thin and light” body and airy greenhouse inspired by the original Civic. Overall it looks like a mini Accord, and after seeing the prototype in person I think it’s definitely successful. The proportions are great, with a pushed-back A-pillar, shorter overhangs and more of a traditional sedan look.
The biggest change compared with the current Civic is in the distinct lack of overdone surfacing, on the sides of the car especially. The new Civic has one main, almost horizontal line that runs from the headlights to the taillights, with a second rising line below between the wheels — and that’s it. No rounded fenders, no additional creases, nothing extraneous. For those that have found the 10th-gen model to be a little too crazy, this new Civic should be a breath of fresh air.
The slim LED lights that flow into a thin grille help convey a sense of wideness, and there’s no more chrome unibrow above the grille. There’s a large lower grille intake, but the divisive fake vents in the bumper are gone, replaced by smaller fanglike intakes. At the rear there are large taillights that are more traditionally shaped than the current Civic’s claw lights, a much simpler tailgate with a little integrated lip spoiler, and still no fake vents. While the 19-inch wheels, gloss-black accents and dual exhaust tips on this prototype won’t be found on base Civics, expect the Sport model to use these cues.
I didn’t get to see the Civic’s interior and Honda only released one sketch to show the design, but it looks a lot cleaner and more premium than the existing car’s. A thin air vent element extends across the width of the dash, with a 9-inch touchscreen (with a volume knob!) sitting atop it. There are physical knobs and buttons for things like the climate controls, but otherwise the dash and center console are fairly uncluttered.
A digital gauge cluster will be offered on the Civic for the first time, and the central touchscreen is the largest one yet. Honda says the Civic will also get a number of new active and passive safety features as well as new airbag designs, but didn’t offer any additional details.
No details on powertrains have been announced yet, but engines should largely carry over from the current model, meaning a 2.0-liter inline-four base motor and Honda’s great 1.6-liter turbo four as the upgrade engine. The regular sedan won’t be offered with a manual transmission, but Honda promises that the hatchback will have an available manual, and the next-genand will continue to be manual-only.
The sedan will be the first version of the Civic to debut, with the launch set for spring 2021. The hatchback will come soon after, followed by the Si and the Type R. Expect prices to stay very close to the current Civic’s, so a starting price of around $22,000 for the base sedan.