Nearly everything shown in the “prototype” form has been carried over into the production version of the Honda Civic, now in its 11th-generation. In our opinion, the exterior design has significantly dialled back the “boy racer” image for a more mature and upmarket presentation, almost “European”. Unverified images with markings denoting the Chinese market also share the same exterior design.
The front character lines have “soften” with more rounded headlamps and bumper profile while maintaining the solid wing grille design. No changes to the width which is 1,800 mm. Lengthwise, however, sees a gain of 26 mm with the wheelbase an even larger increment of 36 mm (2,736 mm).
The overall height remains at 1,416 mm. Based on the data available, the all-new Honda Civic sedan for the North American market is up to 69 kg heavier than the outgoing model, with the heaviest variant weighing 1,396 kg.
The kink on the C-pillar that first appeared on the 10th-generation Honda Accord also made its way onto the all-new Civic, tying the two models together in appearance. Tyre and rim sizes are also maintained from the previous generation, measuring 16 inches for the base LX 2.0 variant, 17 inches for the EX Turbo and 18 inches for both the Sport 2.0 and Touring Turbo variants.
The rear portion looks more conventional with the taillamps now in a more traditional placement and the lighting units (not BMW-inspired unlike the smaller City) extend deeper into the bootlid. Unfortunately, the rear bumper of the “prototype” with exhaust outlets cut-out did not make it into production, with the dual-exhaust tips of the turbo-variant pointing downwards.
At the unveiling, only two engine choices are available for the USA market. American Honda Motor Co. continue to offer the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine with outputs of 158 hp and 187 Nm of torque and an improved 1.5-litre turbocharged engine.
The turbocharged engine now proudly carries the VTEC name, as the exhaust camshaft is now fitted with the variable valve timing and lift control technology. Thanks to the exhaust-side VTEC system plus improved plumbing, the turbocharged engine now delivers 180 hp at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm of torque, an increase of 6 hp and 20 Nm respectively.
While the peak torque is 20 Nm higher, the spread is shorter, with 240 Nm available from 1,800 rpm to 4,500 rpm. In the current Honda Civic 1.5 Turbo, the 220 Nm is sustained to 5,500 rpm.
Honda has also paid a lot more attention to the CVT-type transmission with improvements focusing on drivability. The transmission has been programmed to provide early downshifts during braking and features revised Step-Shift programming that simulates physical gear changes under hard acceleration for a more familiar and enjoyable driving experience.
Selection of driving modes (Normal, Eco and Sport) is now available and performed via a toggle switch. The feature is however limited to the higher variants of each engine (Sport 2.0 and Touring Turbo) model which also features 18-inch wheels.
American Honda Motor Co. also promises that the all-new Honda Civic sedan will drive better and more comfortable for the occupants. The suspension and steering upgrades result in a smoother, more linear and more precise feel in turns while reduction in friction and improved bushings are key to reducing harsh road shocks.
Inside, a more mature theme is also replicated. Under a new design language called “simplicity and something,” it has an uncomplicated, low and flat dashboard, free-standing infotainment display and fully digital driver’s display with the horizontal mesh vents being the highlight.
This striking metal honeycomb mesh accent stretches from door to door across the dashboard. It serves both form and function, creating a dramatic visual dividing line between the information display and the air-conditioning controls, while the intricate flow-through design conceals the air vents that would otherwise mar the uncluttered and harmonious look of the dash.
In the highest Touring variant, the driver has a 10.2-inch high-definition (HD) display, a first for a Honda Civic. This large display will be paired with a 9-inch HD infotainment display that has enhanced features such as Smart Shortcuts.
A 12-speaker Bose premium sound system is also specifically designed with this top-of-the-range infotainment system.
Lower variants will have a smaller 7.0-inch driver’s display paired with a similar-sized infotainment display. Front occupants also benefit from a new front seat design. Using Honda’s Body Stabilizing Seat approach, the new-generation seat frame firmly holds the body, enhancing comfort on long drives.
Honda’s Sensing system has been further improved with better processing power plus the usage of a single camera system as opposed to the radar-and-camera set up in the current generation. The new camera-based system improves on existing functionality, such as more natural brake application and quicker reactions when using Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
Drivers will also appreciate a more linear and natural steering action when the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) is activated. With the addition of eight sonar sensors, the Civic, for the first time, features Low-Speed Braking Control, and front and rear false-start prevention.
The company that passionately believed in their LaneWatch camera-based blind-spot detection system (passenger corner only) has finally joined the global bandwagon and provide a dual-corner blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert in the all-new Honda Civic.
Following the reveal of the Canadian-made Civic sedan, Honda said the all-new Civic hatchback will be next to take centre stage in a few months after, which for the first time will be made in Indiana, USA.