The next-generation, 2016 Honda Civic sedan is poised to arrive in Australia in about 12 months, and will likely be followed before the end of 2016 by an all-new hatch version made at the same plant in Thailand, rather than the current, expensive UK-made model.
Both, combined, will be tasked with returning Honda to the sharp end of the small car market. The Civic, once a staple alongside the likes of the Toyota Corolla, has fallen away dramatically in recent times as the competition has improved.
(Update) Furthermore, expect high-end versions of the new Civic to premiere (in Australia) Honda’s long-awaited range of turbocharged VTEC engines. These high end versions will likely get a new 1.5-litre four-pot capable of as much as 150kW/260Nm. Entry cars should keep the current 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre engine used at present in some variants.
Potentially, both will get new continually variable transmissions (CVT) or an eight-speed dual-clutch DCT, unusually with a torque converter, higher up the model chain.
The new model will take styling cues from the green concept car (pictured above) shown in New York last April. Expect greater commonality in design between the two body-styles, unlike the current setup in which the two look definitively different.
This time, both body styles will probably be sourced from Thailand to make them more affordable, and therefore viable, in the cluttered small-car segment. The present hatch comes from the UK only, driving up prices. Once again, Australia's won't get the US-focused Civic coupe.
The relatively imminent arrival of the tenth-generation Civic family comes sooner than generally expected, because Honda globally — led by the US — has short-cycled the current Mk9 models, which only arrived here in 2012. The current model hasn’t really been a hit.
The Honda Civic used to be one of Australia’s top-selling small cars. But of late, the car that once served as Honda’s core model has fallen on rough times. This year, Honda has sold 1816 Civics. The Toyota Corolla’s sales over the same period total 17,598.
In fact, the Civic is now only Honda’s fourth most popular model, given the HR-V, Jazz and CR-V all comprehensively outdo it.
“Civic is certainly one of our core cars, and were certainly pushing as hard as we can,” said Honda Australia director Stephen Collins, but said the new one would be the most important step.
“The new-gen Civic will be from next year, it’ll start with sedan, obviously we’re doing a lot of work on that. We’ve got Jazz right, CR-V right, HR-V right, the next opportunity for us is Civic.
“I certainly think [the goal] in the next generation is to have a really competitive hatch and sedan at the same time… I think over the generations of Civics, we’ve sold lots of sedans, then we’ve sold lots of hatches.
“The idea is to put it right in the heart of the small car market. and do what we’ve done with HR-V and Jazz.”