2022 Honda Civic Prototype Debuts Cleaner Styling Inside and Out

The near-production Civic Prototype gives us a clear look at the 2022 version of America’s best-selling car.

On a live Twitch stream earlier this evening, Honda gave the world its first look at the 11th-generation Civic. Shown in prototype form, it heavily previews the car we’ll see on showroom floors late next spring.

Calling the Civic a big deal for Honda is an understatement. It remains the company’s best-selling car, and in fact all of America’s. Even with the market shifting to SUVs, Honda sold over 1.5 million of the current, 10th-generation model since it went on sale in 2015. According to Honda’s studies, the Civic is also the most popular vehicle with Millennials and Gen Z—hence the Twitch debut. As both generations become larger percentages of the car-buying community, Honda will want to keep that title, so it’s throwing a lot of new tech and engineering at the 2022 Civic.

Honda says the 11th-gen Civic has a new chassis, though it didn’t go into further detail Tuesday evening. According to the manufacturer, the new underpinnings will result in improved safety—for passengers as well as pedestrians—as well as better driving dynamics. That’s good to hear, as even in its twilight years the current model remains near the front of the class for driving dynamics. Honda also touts drivetrains with both more power and better fuel efficiency, but remained coy on what’s under the Prototype’s hood too. The current model offers three engines: a 158-horsepower, naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder; a 1.5-liter turbo producing anywhere from 174 to 205 horsepower depending on trim; and a turbo 2.0-liter, reserved for the 306-horsepower Type R.

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After this generation’s maximalist styling—best exemplified in the wild Civic Type R—Honda is rediscovering a more restrained style with this latest Civic. The lower nose and upright grille certainly look similar to the current car, but more traditional, Accord-esque headlights now frame them. A larger lower air intake dominates the bumper, with a brick-like mesh design. Two smaller, C-shaped intakes flank it, cleaning up one of the more contentious parts of the current design: a lot of visible black plastic blocking off supposed intakes.

Moving around the side, Honda has de-emphasized the front wheel arches with a single, simple character line running the length of the car. Just above it, the window line is less angled than the current model, which expands the glass area and should make the rear row feel more spacious. The Accord’s window-line kink is present on the Civic now too.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Honda Civic Type R Review: An Open Letter

If you were a fan of the current model’s crab-claw taillights, bad news: this new one uses much simpler units. They’re big, and on the prototype, blacked-out: expect that to change for production. An exhaust tip sits at each corner of the rear bumper, something we might see for the sporty Si but unlikely on the regular Civic models. A set of 19-inch wheels round out the look, up one inch from the current Si, but wrapped in tires the same 235-series width.

The cleaner look appears to translate inside too—at least, judging by the single sketch Honda released. Out goes the separated instrument panel, the air vents all around it, and the in-dash infotainment screen. A digital instrument panel will now sit ahead of the wheel, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen uses the “floating” style common in the segment. Honda has hidden the air vents within a full-width strip of mesh—similar to what we’ve seen in other cars—visually cleaning up the dash. The cupholders also move beside the shifter instead of behind them. Yay, no more grazing them with your arm!

Honda also confirmed that a hatchback, Si model, and Type R will return for the 11th generation. The Coupe, however, is kaput. The 2022 Civic Sedan will be built in Greensburg, Indiana, and Alliston, Ontario. Sales will begin late spring of 2021, with the other variants arriving soon after.

Discuss the 2022 Honda Civic Prototype and more at our Civic 11 forum.

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