It's hard to tell from these images just how much of the exterior will change from the current hatch design. The front looks like it will take on a similar face structure to the current model, with a relatively flat and well blended headlight and grille surface.
From the back it appears the new Civic hatch could feature the same rear-vision obscuring rear spoiler layout, however, judging from these images, the rear step might have been put there on purpose as camouflage on this particular test mule.
As for the running gear, the same front-wheel drive platform will be carried over from the existing lineup. This includes the range of VTEC petrol engines and the hybrid model. Diesel versions are also likely to continue in European markets. Stop/start technology is also expected to make its way into the lineup.
The 2012 Honda Civic hatch is expected to be unveiled in full some time later this year at an international motor show, and hit certain markets around the world, including Australia, some time in 2012.