UPDATE, 18/11/20, 6:40pm: After initial reports surfaced earlier today, Honda Australia has confirmed that the new Civic sedan will not be offered locally. More details at the bottom of the story.
November 18, 2020, 2:55pm: The Honda Civic Prototype has been officially unveiled.
While the car revealed today may be badged a 'Prototype', the Civic Prototype can be seen as a near-final, production-ready representation of the next-generation 2022 Civic sedan which, if Honda's recent form with prototype concepts holds true, should likely debut in production form sometime in the next six to nine months.
As revealed both in leaks earlier today and patent images uncovered in September, the new Honda Civic will adopt a notably more conservative design than its predecessor, with an overall look inspired by the larger Accord sedan.
Up front, a slimmer front grille is flanked by LED headlights with L-shaped LED daytime-running light signatures – they sit above a large, central lower air intake with gloss black trim.
From the side, the new Civic prioritises smooth lines and flat surfaces over the creases of the current model, joined by a C-pillar trim design which has a striking resemblance to the not-for-Australia Cadillac CT5.
At the rear, the current Civic's 'lobster claw' tail-lights have seen the axe, instead replaced by larger LED units with an L-shaped signature similar to that of the headlights.
A lip spoiler has been built into the shape of the bootlid, while dual exhaust outlets and a faux, body-coloured 'diffuser' trim round out the rear end appointments.
Filling the Civic Prototype's arches are 19-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in high-performance 235mm Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres – which will likely be reserved for upper-spec Si or Type R performance variants, rather than the garden-variety regular model.
Inside, while the images released by Honda are merely renders – as the prototype pictured is a rolling chassis, with no interior or powertrain – it's clear the cabin will mark a major departure compared to the current Civic.
Dominating the redesigned dashboard – which draws inspiration for the Jazz-sized, retro-inspired Honda E electric hatch – is an 9.0-inch tablet-style touchscreen, running Honda's latest infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It's mounted above a full-width honeycomb trim piece which serves both aesthetic and functional purposes (by functioning as the air-conditioning vents), complemented by a clean centre console with physical climate controls and a conventional automatic shift lever.
The driver looks into an all-digital instrument cluster of unknown dimensions – a first for a Civic.
Honda says the 11th-generation Civic will strengthen the outgoing model's safety credentials, by expanding its Honda Sensing active safety suite, introducing "multiple new airbag designs" and incorporating a more rigid body for "improved occupant and pedestrian collision protection".
Dimensionally, overseas media report the Civic Prototype – and eventual, showroom-bound 2022 Civic sedan – will be similar in size to the current Civic, with around 25-30mm increases in overall length and wheelbase. However, Honda has yet to confirm any of the car's measurements.
Powertrain details have also yet to be announced, however it has been confirmed Si and Type R performance versions will return for the Civic's new generation.
Australian-delivered versions of the current Civic offer a choice of two powertrains: a 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, and a 127kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.
The flagship Type R pairs a 228kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo four with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the not-for-Australia, mid-range Si features a 153kW/260Nm version of the 1.5-litre turbo.
In a win for enthusiasts, US media reports that Si and Type R variants will retain their manual transmissions. All-wheel-drive is rumoured to be in the works, but a slim chance for the Australian market.
The 2022 Honda Civic sedan is expected to debut in production form in the coming months, ahead of a US market launch late in the northern spring of 2021 (likely April or May). A hatchback will follow at a later date.
When will the 2022 Honda Civic come to Australia?
UPDATE, 18/11/20, 6:40pm: After initial reports surfaced earlier today, Honda Australia has confirmed to CarAdvice the new Civic sedan will not be offered in Australia. Instead, the local range will consist solely of regular and Type R hatch models.
A Honda spokesperson told CarAdvice: "For Australia, the Civic nameplate will continue as a core model in Honda’s line-up with the next generation, however, the sedan bodystyle will be phased out locally when the current model reaches the end of its lifecycle towards the middle of next year."
"The 11th-generation Civic will be offered in the hatchback bodystyle preferred by the majority of small car buyers in Australia, including the performance Type R variant", they added.
Local arrival timing, along with pricing and specification details, will be announced at a later date.