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2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype Previews a More Mature, Upscale Next-Gen Civic

The all-new, 11th-generation Honda Civic comes sharply into focus.

EL SEGUNDO, California—Honda just provided us with an in-person first look at the 2022 Honda Civic Prototype, and if the age of the small car might be over, don't say that to the manufacturer. If it wasn't for the ongoing pandemic-induced sales slump, sales of the ever-popular Honda Civic would likely be setting records for the automaker. Not that the current-generation Civic isn't still flying off of showroom floors, pandemic or not; according to brand reps, the Civic claimed a 27-percent market share so far this year, up from 2019's 25-percent slice of the pie.

Indeed, Honda remains bullish on the Civic, as today's 10th-generation of the sedan records incredible sales. The model is instrumental in bringing first-time Honda buyers into the family fold, oftentimes securing customers for life after they get their first sip of the Civic. Now, Honda ushers in the 11th-generation of its venerable compact with the 2022 Honda Civic Prototype, giving us a crystal-clear look at what we can expect to see filling parking lots and city streets around the country.

A quick word on Honda nomenclature: This is not a Civic concept car, but instead the real-deal 11th-gen Civic presented as a carefully crafted coalescence of cross-trim features. You can expect the new Civic to look more-or-less as this burnt orange prototype does, minus a handful of stylistic flourishes that might be available as part of one trim, but not another. Those handsome black wheels might be Si trim, as may be the slightly lowered suspension. The darkened exterior trim? Maybe that's a treat reserved for the range-topping Civic Touring. In essence, think of this as the "greatest hits" compendium of what to expect from the new car.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype: Styling

Visually, the new 2022 Honda Civic sedan is a sizeable step away from the Gundam-chic whacky angularity of the outgoing car, ditching the signature boomerang taillights and smoothing out some of the sharper edges for a surprisingly upscale and clean-cut design. As much as we respect Honda, its recognizable "H" badge isn't exactly a byword for sharp styling, and this aesthetic retraction is one of the cleaner designs we've seen from the automaker.

Regardless of the 2022 Civic prototype's lowered suspension, the 11th-gen retains the athletic vibe we enjoy on the current car. In this pursuit, the hood drops down an extra inch at the windshield bases, complemented by the windshield and A-pillars shifted back an additional 2-inches to lean out the silhouette. Out back, the C-pillar is cropped a smidge, and there's a subtle ducktail flair on the rear decklid for extra sleekness.

Overall, it's a significantly more mature and conventional design than the current car, and we're big fans. Thankfully, the new starched collars and buttoned sleeves don't mean it drives like an accountant special; Honda confirms the new Civic is built on the modified bones of the outgoing car, with structural improvements contributing to increased torsional rigidity. The present car remains one of the best-driving compacts on the market regardless of specification, and Honda claims this new Civic will drive even sharper. Color us excited.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype: Interior

It gets even better inside. For now, the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype is an interior-less rolling styling exercise, so we didn't get a chance to check out the new duds in person, but a few mock-up pictures revealed a genuinely impressive cabin.  The somewhat claustrophobic, jet-style cockpit is gone, replaced with a modern and airier design with a fantastic honeycomb-mesh trim bar that runs the length of the dash and seamlessly obscures the air vents for a clean, unbroken appearance. Gone is the prior embedded screen in place of a freestanding 9-inch dash-mounted screen, and we're thrilled that it includes the all-important physical volume knob that was missing from earlier 10th-gen Civics. Hidden behind the stylish and fairly aggressive three-spoke steering wheel is the Civic's first fully digital gauge cluster, among other Civic-first tech that Honda's not quite ready to discuss.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype: Powertrain and Performance

Speaking of unknowns, we're not privy to what powertrains will be in this new 2022 Honda Civic, but we expect to see a mix of naturally aspirated base-level engines, and some tune of the current Civic's 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Honda proudly confirms plans for both an Si and Type R variants, with the Si arriving in sedan-only form and exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission. If you want to shift-your-own Civic outside of the Si, you're going to have to order the new hatchback, as the Si is the only 2022 Honda Civic sedan variant to get the stick. The Civic coupe is still dead as of now, and we can expect the Type R to arrive only as a five-door hatch.

There is no word yet on pricing, but Honda says there won't be a seismic shift from the outgoing Civic's base price of $22,005. Stay tuned for a better look at the production-ready 2022 Honda Civic sometime early next year before the planned late-spring on-sale date.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype Highlights

  • One of the most handsome Honda Civics we've ever seen
  • Prototype previews the production version
  • No more coupe, but hatch confirmed
  • Si and Type R already confirmed
  • Sleekest Civic interior so far