The new Honda Civic hatch has been spied testing in Germany this week, offering a first on-road look at the 11th generation of Honda's small car.
There will be few styling surprises when the new Civic hatch makes its official debut, thanks to detailed patent images that surfaced online in September last year.
As with the sedan 'prototype' revealed in November, the Civic line will return to a more austere look for its new generation – replacing the edgy and youthful looks that debuted with the current model in 2016.
The new Civic will do away with the enormous and largely non-functional 'vents' that dominate all four corners of the current model, along with the bold mask-like garnish that runs across the grille and over each headlight.
(It's worth noting here that many of today's cars feature mostly cosmetic grille designs, with modern engines and cooling systems no longer needing large openings.)
The current model's large wrap-around tail lamps will be binned in favour of a more conventional shape, and the bisected hatch window of the past two generations will also be replaced by a standard single-pane design.
The variant shown in our spy photos has the look of a high-specification model, wearing current-generation 18-inch RS wheels and honeycomb grille design. But, as a camouflaged prototype, these details may not represent the car's final configuration.
For an idea of how the new Civic might look in an even meaner form, take a look at our Civic Type R renderings here.
Final photos of the new Civic's interior have yet to surface officially or otherwise, but a detailed illustration released with the sedan prototype reveals a mature and somewhat classic look that shares some styling themes with the equally retro-inspired Honda E electric hatch.
This is, for now, all we know of the new Civic. Overseas reports claim the new model will grow in overall length by nearly 30mm, but these details are yet to be made official.
Likewise, what we can expect from the new Civic's powertrain options is still to be revealed. Australian-delivered versions of the current Civic offer buyers the choice of a 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder or a 127kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, depending on the trim grade.
Importantly, with the new sedan ruled out for an Australian launch, the incoming new five-door will be the only Civic-badged offering here – marking an end to the Civic's long-time pairing of sedan and hatch styles.
When will the new Civic hatch go on sale in Australia?
Speaking with CarAdvice last year, a Honda Australia spokesperson said: "For Australia, the Civic nameplate will continue as a core model in Honda’s line-up with the next generation, however, the sedan body style will be phased out locally when the current (sedan) model reaches the end of its lifecycle towards the middle of next year."
"The 11th-generation Civic will be offered in the hatchback body style preferred by the majority of small car buyers in Australia, including the performance Type R variant."
In its current form, the Civic hatch's 2017 launch came around one year after the sedan. This time around, the absence of a sedan – and the potential for delays caused by COVID-19 – means that timing for the new hatch's Australian debut could stretch into 2022 or beyond.
Watch for more on the new Civic range to surface in the weeks and months ahead.