Honda Civic: Movin’ on up

Riley Riley

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX Hatch 7

What is it?

This is the latest and Honda would say greatest in a long, long line of Civics.

It’s a smooth, refined, urbane motor vehicle, that’s easy, comfortable and rewarding to drive.

At the same time, I find myself wondering if Honda has done enough to justify the sharp increase in price, with just the one model and no longer a sedan to choose from — arguably the better looking of the pair?

I understand why they’ve culled the line up, with sales of sedans and hatches in decline across the new car market.

Nissan springs to mind and just a couple of weeks ago Ford announced it was cutting Focus ST, Focus ST X and Fiesta ST models — until now icons for the brand.

It’s been 50 years since the first Civic landed in Australia, but like the Falcon and Commodore, unless the public responds positively it could well be the last Civic we ever see.

Honda says the arrival of the all-new, 11th-generation Civic is the first step in a three-phase rollout for its iconic small car in Australia.

A hybrid is set to join the line-up later in the year followed by the much anticipated, high-performance Type R version — which is sure to be a cracker.

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX Hatch 6

What’s it cost?

Prices for Civic start and finish at a fixed, driveaway $47,200 across this great land of ours.

There will be no negotiation, aiming to make purchase a less daunting, haggle-free process.

To put the new car in perspective, the previous VTi-LX was priced from $35,790 plus on-roads, putting it at an estimated $40,600 driveaway in runout last June.

What do you get for the extra $6,600?

Well, it looks discernibly different, at least from the rear and it’s lost those huge, Volvoesque, some might say ugly tail lights (wonder if this is the start of something new).

On the flip side, Civic doesn’t stand out from the crowd in quite the same way.

If anything, the styling is more mainstream.

The body is also stiffer with a wider track and longer wheelbase which means better ride and handling.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces fractionally more power and torque, while the CVT transmission has apparently been updated, with the addition of sport mode.

Inside, there’s a couple of extra airbags, a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen, new navigation system, DAB+ digital radio, wireless phone charging, premium Bose audio with support for wireless CarPlay — and an instrument panel that is at least partially digital.

Vale LaneWatch, the gutter side, rear-view camera system that has been a feature of Hondas for so long.

It’s gone but not forgotten, replaced by a proper blind spot alert system.

That’s the gist of it.

But wait . . . it’s supposed to be fully equipped?

What about a sunroof? I hear you ask. What about Head-up display? What about Speed sign recognition and camera warnings? And what about a fully digital dash that can display navigation and that be configured to show different views?

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX Hatch 8

What’s it go like?

My wife remains unimpressed, but I reckon the new Civic is a sweet thing.

The cabin has a more premium feel, compared to the hard plastics of the previous model, with two-zone climate air and artificial leather and suede upholstery that’s accented with red stitching — along with heated and power adjustable front pews.

The touchscreen has been moved to the top of the dash as is the vogue, with a hand rest to steady your fingers as they attempt to absorb bumps in the road.

A long thin honeycomb grille that hides the air vents is an inspired touch and it is good to see the addition of rear air vents for back seat passengers.

The dash is half-baked, with two traditional looking round analogue dials, the right one a standard analogue speedo while the left one acts a tacho with digital driver information display in the centre.

It will show navigation prompts, but that’s about the extent of it.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine has been tweaked to produce 131kW of power at 6000 revs and 240Nm of torque from 1700-4000 revs — an increase of 4kW and 20Nm (the latter figure is significant).

It will happily run on standard 91 unleaded, but if you stick premium in — you get another 3kW (premium is better for the engine too).

The dash from 0-100km/h takes a middle of the road 7.5 seconds.

Fuel consumption from a smallish 47-litre tank is a claimed 6.3L/100km (same as before).

We were getting 6.9L/100km after 540km of mixed driving.

By far and away the best aspect of new Civic is the comfort and quality of the ride.

The previous model was good, this one is outstanding.

Rear legroom is good, but the plunging roofline makes access difficult — watch you head.

The all-new high-definition 9.0-inch colour touchscreen, infotainment and audio system features built-in, off-line satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, Qi-compatible fast wireless charging, together with wired Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

Sound comes from a Bose 12-speaker audio system, featuring Bose Centrepoint 2 and Bose Surround Stage digital signal processing, putting the listener in the centre of the sound no matter where they are seated.

It also includes four 2.5A USB ports, with two in the front and two at the rear of the centre console.

There’s a physical volume knob plus physical buttons for Home and Back functions, with large easy-to-recognise icons, a fast processor for better response time and simplified navigation structure with fewer embedded menus. 

While it’s good to see satnav included, it does not have speed sign recognition, nor any speed camera or school zone warnings.

As well as Sport and Economy modes, gear change paddles are provided to move through the CVT’s seven “steps” manually.

But you can’t change gears using the transmission lever.

The broad spread of torque, available from 1700 to 4000 revs, provides effortless performance, while the CVT is remarkably smooth and un-CVT like.

Good one Honda.

New Civic is yet to be crash tested by ANCAP (previous model is still waiting too).

It adds knee airbags for driver and front passenger, bringing the total to eight, plus improved pedestrian protection and an all-new wide-view, single-camera Honda Sensing system.

There’s also new Traffic Jam Assist, updated Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), as well as Blind spot information system & Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

Civic is covered by a 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with five years of roadside assistance and map updates.

The service cycle is a relatively short 10,000/12 months, with the first five services capped at $125 each.

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX 11

What we like?

  • Comfort
  • Ride quality
  • Rear air vents
  • Punchy performance
  • Auto high beam
  • Quality rear camera
  • Doesn’t use much fuel

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX 14

What we don’t like?

  • Pricey
  • Tyre repair kit
  • No speed sign recognition
  • No speed or school zone warnings
  • Low rear roofline makes entry and exit difficult
  • Instrumentation trails competitors

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX Hatch 3

The bottom line?

I like it. The stumbling block is the price.

Civic is being promoted as one, fully-equipped model.

While it excels at the basics, it falls short of competitors when it comes to the bells and whistles.

Where’s the sunroof, seat cooling, head-up display, not to mention the 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster that the car is offered with overseas?

For the price I’d expect more.

2022 Honda Civic VTi LX Hatch 4

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Honda Civic VTi-LX Hatch, priced from $47,200 driveaway
  • Looks - 7/10
  • Performance - 7/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7/10

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