2022 Honda Civic: can the best compact car get better?

2022 Honda Civic Sedan prototype
2021 Civic Sedan

by Chuck Giametta

What changes will make the 2022 Honda Civic different?

Everything except perhaps the powertrains. The first fully redesigned Civic since model-year 2016 will have new styling, a revamped interior, updated infotainment systems – and two body types instead of three. Honda says it’ll have more standard features, perform better, and have more safety features.

America’s best-selling compact car will grow slightly inside and out and return as a four-door sedan and four-door hatchback. The unpopular two-door coupe body has been discontinued. To the relief of those who found the 2016-2021 models over-styled, the all-new Civics promise a far less radical look.

There’s little chance a fuel-saving gas-electric hybrid will join the lineup; the similarly sized Insight sedan fills that role for Honda. But some sources speculate the high-performance Type R model could adopt electric-motor assist, becoming the only Civic with all-wheel drive. The balance of the lineup would remain front-wheel drive.

Should I wait for the 2022 Honda Civic or buy a 2021?

2022 Honda Civic Sedan prototype
2021 Civic Sedan

Buy a 2021 if your looking for clearance deals on what’s arguably still the best car in its class. Note, however, that Honda dropped the Coupe for model-year ’21. It also tabled the lively Si version of the sedan pending its return as part of the redesigned ’22 lineup

Wait for the 2022 Civic if you trust Honda to further improve a car renowned for roominess, quality, and road manners so polished even the entry-level model is a rewarding drive. Wait, too, if you were put off by the outgoing generation’s styling, especially that of the hatchback.   

Honda could tinker with trim-level names and content but expect the 2022 Civic to return a mostly familiar lineup. The sedan should be back in six grades: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring, plus the racy Si. The Hatchback should return in LX, EX, Sport, and Sport Touring form. Some sources saying an Si Hatchback could debut as a replacement for the discontinued Si Coupe. The enthusiast-favorite Type R will remain a hatchback.

Will 2022 Honda Civic styling be different?

2022 Civic Hatchback patent image from CivicXI.com
2021 Civic Hatchback

Yes, to the relief of many. Stung by the cool reception to the bland 2012-2015 Civic, Honda unleashed a more aggressive design for the 2016 10th-generation. The Sedan got a pleasingly contemporary fastback body. The Coupe and Hatchback were downright extreme. The Hatchback was particularly polarizing, with its oversized faux vents front and rear, a stubby rump, and a bewildering taillamp/spoiler/hatch-window mashup.

Honda in November 2020 unveiled what it called a prototype of the 11th-generation car. In reality, it was a minimally disguised 2022 Civic Sedan. Visually, this is indeed a calmer follow-up, more mature, and with hints of the direct-competitor Volkswagen Jetta and of the premium-compact Audi A4, two of the more sober designs in their respective segments.

Honda says the redesign hews to the Civic ethos of “thin and light” body design. Final specs were not released in time for this review, but the car reportedly adds about an inch to its body length, mostly forward of the front wheels. Its wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) is longer by roughly an inch. The rear track (the width between the wheels) grows about a half inch.     

Compared to the outgoing Sedan, the ’22’s hood is lower by an inch at the base of the windshield. The front roof pillars are thinner and, along with the windshield, are moved 2-inches rearward. Along with the longer overhang in front and a shorter overhang in back, this concentrates more visual mass rearward for an almost rear-wheel-drive stance. The thinner pillars and side mirrors relocated to the doors remove clutter from the driver’s visual periphery, improving already expansive outward visibility.

2022 Civic Sedan prototype

The prototype’s body side has a sharper shoulder line and more defined skirting. The beltline (the horizontal boundary between the body and the side windows) is lower but kicks up after the rear doors in what’s already a bit of a design cliche. The Sedan’s fastback profile is retained, with a bit more slope to the back window. The trunk integrates a small spoiler and the outgoing car’s oversized C-shaped taillamps are replaced by more traditional lenses positioned, Honda said, to emphasize the wider track.

As for the 2022 Civic Hatchback, patent images published by the CivicXI.com forum depict a car tamed further still, with fewer disruptive lines and no out-of-proportion vents. Like the prototype Sedan, it seems to have a less fussy front end with a slimer grille. Replacing its C-shaped taillamps are ones similar to the prototype Sedan’s but linked by a full-width light bar.  

Meanwhile, spy shots of what appears to be a camouflaged 2022 Type R suggest it’ll remain a Hatchback turned up only to 11 instead of 12. It will, however, retain its wider front and rear body panels, functional intake and extraction vents, and huge wing spoiler. The centered exhaust outlets may increase to four, from three.

2021 Civic Sedan Touring

Civics traditionally have among the longest wheelbases in the compact-car segment and the redesigned model should sustain that distinction. Wheelbase is key to a vehicle’s interior space, and passenger accommodations — generous rear legroom in particular — should remain a Civic selling point. Interestingly, Honda says the ’22’s slight wheelbase stretch doesn’t add rear legroom but does improve comfort by allowing a more reclined rear seatback. High-quality materials and plenty of clever storage bins should also remain reasons to buy.

2022 Civic prototype
2021 Civic dashboard

Along with images of the prototype Honda released a drawing of the next-generation dashboard. It, too, is a dialed-back design, minimizing panel seams and incorporating a full-width honeycomb mesh concealing the air vents. Gauges and controls again emphasize functionality, but instrumentation becomes all-digital for the first time.

Notably, the drawing shows a round steering-wheel rim rather than the flat-bottom wheel fashionable these days. And there was speculation that automatic-transmission Civics would adopt the pushbutton gear selector found in several other Honda models. The drawing indicates the return of a traditional console-mounted shift stalk.

In a major change, the infotainment touchscreen becomes a tablet-like display affixed to the top of the instrument panel. It replaces a screen integrated with the central dash. The drawing depicts a 9-inch-diameter display, which may replace the outgoing car’s 7-incher for upper-trim models or as standard on all ’22 Civics. Primary interface will remain touchscreen icons supplemented by voice command and hard keys for main climate and audio functions. Bowing to customer feedback, Honda retrofitted a physical volume knob to the outgoing audio system. That’ll return; now we hope it adds one for radio-station tuning.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will again be standard across the board, and now connect wirelessly. Imbedded satellite navigation that does not rely on a cell signal for real-time GPS mapping probably would again be an exclusive standard feature for the Type R, sedan Touring Sedan, and Sport Touring Hatchback.

Most ’22 Civic models should come with cloth upholstery. Expect leather to again be standard for the EX-L and Touring sedans and the Sport Touring Hatchback. The Type R should return with an alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and exclusive sport front-bucket seats with extra bolstering and imitation suede inserts. It’ll probably continue to seat four passengers versus the other Civics’ five. 

2021 Civic Hatchback

At some 15 cubic feet, the outgoing Civic Sedan had one of the largest trunks in the class. Expect Honda to furnish the new model with similar volume and keep its split/folding rear seatbacks. The ’22 Civic Hatchback should remain among the most versatile haulers in the segment. Expect it to match or exceed the 10th-generation’s 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and 46.2 cubic feet with them folded.

Any 2022 Honda Civic mechanical changes?

2022 Civic Type R spy shot from CivicXI.com
2021 Civic Type R

Yes, but nothing that disrupts Civic’s proven blueprint: lively, economical four-cylinder engines; weight-efficient design; and overachieving ride and handling. The 11th-gen car gains a stiffer new understructure but retains an all-independent suspension. Honda promises more refined ride and handling with no sacrifice in sporty road manners. The suspension reportedly will borrow technology from the Type R, in particular a design that eliminates torque steer – a front-drive car’s unwanted pulling to the side during rapid acceleration.

It’s a good bet Honda won’t bring back the outgoing Civic’s entry-level engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. (Think of torque as the force that gets a car moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it moving.) For model-year 2021, this engine powered the LX and Sport sedans.

If the naturally aspirated 2.0 doesn’t return, the 2022 Civic’s base engine will likely be the turbocharged 1.5-liter four that powered the majority of ’21 models. It should improve slightly on the outgoing engine’s 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. For ’21, the turbo 1.5 was used in the EX, EX-L, and Touring sedans and in the LX and EX hatchbacks.

A fortified version of this engine should again come in the Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks. It should improve marginally on the outgoing version’s 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. With noticeably upgraded performance for little more money, these Sport hatchbacks should again occupy an appealing middle ground between mainstream Civics and the Si and Type R models.

Yet another turbocharged 1.5-liter four is likely to power the 2022 Civic Si Sedan and, if there is one, the Si Hatchback. It should generate a bit more than its predecessor’s 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque and team again with a stiffened suspension and sportier tires to promote quick-reflexed handling. We do hope Honda manages to reduce the rougher ride that had been a drawback of the Si’s tauter underpinnings.

2021 Civic Type-R

Honda’s Civic Type R convinced even the most skeptical that a front-wheel-drive car belonged in league with the world’s best performance cars. The outgoing Type R used a specially tuned turbocharged 2.0-liter four of 306 horsepower and 296 pound-feet of torque. Track-tuned suspension, steering, tires, and myriad other speed-focused enhancements – including a functional aerodynamic body kit – completed the package.

The 2022 Type R will retain those enhancements and most likely will use an updated version of the special turbo 2.0. But some reports say Honda could bolster the redesigned Type R – or add a companion iteration – with all-wheel drive.

One theory envisions addition of an electric motor at each rear wheel, with power supplied by an onboard battery pack recharged via regenerative braking and coasting.  Along with the added grip of AWD (and rear side-to-side torque vectoring), a next-gen AWD Type R could conceivably cope with a net 400 horsepower or so. Whether such a Type R would prove prohibitively heavy, complex, and expensive is for Honda to decide.

Another open question is transmission availability. Honda has delighted enthusiasts by offering a six-speed manual transmission in several Civic and Accord models over the past few years. Indeed, the Civic Si and Type R were among the few cars available only with manual transmission.

Expect the 2022 Civic to again offer a six-speed manual transmission

As demand waned, however, Honda cut back. For model-year 2021, the only Civics available with manual were the Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks and the Type R. The balance of the line came with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A CVT performs the duties of a conventional automatic but without stepped gear ratios.

For ’22, we’re betting a manual will be standard on the Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks, the Si models, and the Type R. The other Civics should retain the CTV, There’s a chance, however, that some type of automatic could be made available on the Si grades and possibly on an AWD Type R.

Will 2022 Honda Civic fuel economy improve?

Even with carryover powertrains, we’d expect engineering advances to improve on Civic’s already laudable fuel efficiency. Don’t expect big gains, but even tiny ones would again place the ’22 Civic among the highest mileage cars in the segment.

For reference, EPA ratings for 2021 Civics with the base 2.0-liter engine topped out at

29/34/31 mpg city/highway/combined, those with the turbo 1.5-liter rated a best 32/42/36 mpg. The Type R rated 22/28/25 mpg.

Will there be new 2022 Honda Civic features?

2022 Civic Hatchback patent image from CivicXI.com
2021 Civic Hatchback

Probably, but they’d likely be mostly extensions of a long list of features already offered. We’d advocate for LED headlamps as standard on all ’22 Civics; for ’21, they were exclusive to the Touring sedan, Sport Touring Hatchback, and Type R.

Less essential new features might include a rearview mirror capable of displaying a video view from a tail camera, allowing the driver a clear field of vision even with tall occupants in the back seat. Other examples might be hands-free parallel parking or a panoramic moonroof.

Most important, all 2022 Civics will return with the Honda Sensing safety suite. This is comprised of forward-collision alert with autonomous emergency braking designed to stop the car automatically to mitigate a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian. Also included is lane-departure warning with automatic steering correction, adaptive radar cruise control that can maintain a set following distance from traffic ahead, and automatic high-beam headlight control.

Beyond promising improve safety tech, Honda was mum on specifics. Semi-autonomous steering might be a possibility. As would a traditional blind-spot-alert system that could warn of vehicles in both the left and right blind spots. Some upper trim 2021 Civics came with Honda’s LaneWatch, a form of blind-spot monitoring that covered only the car’s right side. It used a passenger-side camera to project an image on the infotainment screen when the driver activated the right turn signal or a button on the signal stalk.

In addition to features already discussed, every 2022 Civic should return with standard automatic climate control (dual zone on EX and higher grades). Keyless access with pushbutton engine start will probably become standard across the board; it wasn’t available on the outgoing LX trims.

Sport grades should continue with specific exterior and interior trim to complement standard fog lights and remote engine start (CVT models only). EX grades probably will again lose the Sport’s trim package but add a power sunroof, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and satellite radio.

Expect the EX-L to continue with leather seating surfaces and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with built-in garage-door transmitter. Touring grades would add to that rain-sensing windshield wipers, power front-passenger seat, heated outboard rear seats, upgraded audio system, and imbedded navigation. Aside from their performance-related equipment, Si grades should continue to mirror the EX for standard features and the Type R should echo the Touring.

Will 2022 Honda Civic prices be different?

2022 Civic Sedan prototype
2021 Civic Sedan

They’ll almost certainly increase slightly. But the compact-car segment remains price sensitive even as demand has sunk and the field has narrowed. Over the past two years, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, and Volkswagen have all killed compact cars as entry-level new-vehicle buyers flock instead to small crossover SUVs, such as Honda’s own HR-V and CR-V.

So 2022 Civic prices will remain competitive with those of surviving rivals like the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Nissan Sentra.

Including the manufacturer’s destination fee, which was $955 on the 2021 Civic, figure 2022 Civic sedans to have base prices starting around $22,500 and ranging to $29,600.

Estimated base-price range for 2022 Civic hatchbacks is $23,500-$30,600. The ’22 Type R should be priced from around $39,000, with any new hybrid AWD starting prices for

When does the 2022 Honda Civic come out?

2022 Civic Hatchback patent image from CivicXI.com
2021 Civic Hatchback

Expect a 2022 Honda Civic sedan release date in spring 2021, and a 2022 Civic hatchback release date in fall 2021. The redesigned Si and Type R could follow deeper into the fourth quarter of 2021.

Best 2022 Honda Civic competitors

Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza and WRX, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta

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About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]