2022 Honda Civic Review: Redesigned to Retain Leadership

The 11th-generation 2022 Honda Civic sedan takes a calmer, more conservative path to success.

Christian Wardlaw | 
Aug 11, 2021 | 8 min read

According to Honda, the Civic is vital to the company’s health in several ways:

  • It brings more new, young, and multicultural buyers to Honda showrooms than any vehicle in the lineup.

  • On driving experience and resale value, it rates ‘great’ by JD Power consumer verified and scores 80 out of 100 overall.

  • After the first Civic went on sale in the U.S. in 1973, the nameplate has been one of the best-selling cars in America.

Clearly the stakes are high for the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic, so designers and engineers aren’t taking any chances with the all new 11th-generation version of the car.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

The 2022 Civic returns in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, though as this review is written only the details for the sedan are available. It comes in LX, Sport, EX, and Touring trim levels. Prices range from about $23,000 to nearly $30,000, including destination charges.

Driving enthusiasts may be pleased to learn that Honda confirms the return of both the sporty Civic Si and the racy Civic Type R to the lineup with manual transmissions included.

Changes to the 2022 Honda Civic include:

  • Stronger vehicle architecture

  • New styling

  • Redesigned interior

  • Powertrain upgrades

  • Technology improvements like the Bose Premium Sound System

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

Honda expects the Civic to drive better than the previous car and has improvements to help keep occupants safe in a collision. Fuel economy ratings rise slightly, too, with new front seat designs promising enhanced comfort.

For this review, Honda provided a new 2022 Civic Touring sedan for a week-long evaluation. Having put hundreds of miles on the car in a variety of environments, the Civic seems to keep up its winning streak.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

The Return of Simplicity to the Civic

Looking back at decades of Honda Civics, it's clear the company cycles groundbreaking designs with conservatively penned follow-ups. That’s the case for the new 2022 model resembling the larger Accord sedan. The 2022 Civic adopts simplicity and balance as its guiding design principles to result in appeal. A new Honda Performance Development (HPD) body kit is available to give the car a sportier look.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

Inside, the ethos of simplicity continues with Honda recommitting itself to the ergonomic excellence for which the brand was once known. As such, the controls are easy to find and to use with clear and legible displays. Digital instrumentation is standard; depending on the trim level, the car includes a 7- or 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with physical stereo knobs and buttons.

Quality permeates the interior, especially with the leather-lined Touring trim level. The real metal honeycomb-pattern mesh stretching across the cabin dashboard to hide the car’s air vents is an example of Honda’s attention to design detail and selective choice of materials. Storage space is generous, but not as innovative as what Honda offered in the previous Civic.

New seat designs promise additional comfort, and they deliver. The Civic sits low to the ground, so getting in and out is easiest for more limber people. But, once you’re settled into the seats, the Civic is exceptionally comfortable. The EX and Touring include heated front cushions, although Honda doesn’t offer an option for seat ventilation.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

Rear seat accommodations are good for two adults; similar to the front seats, the back bench offers excellent leg support. However, the backrest angle is reclined more than I prefer and Honda doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents to aid comfort on hot days. The Touring trim also loses the heated rear seats that were available in the previous-generation’s version.

Up to 14.8 cu.-ft. of cargo will fit into the new Civic’s trunk, unless you get the Touring trim level with its premium sound system. This version of the car offers 14.4 cu.-ft. of trunk volume. Honda configures the space to accommodate full-size suitcases stored flat or on their sides, leaving room for extra duffels and backpacks. A handle on the inside of the lid makes it easy to close the trunk without touching the dirty exterior paint.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

Sophisticated Technology, Especially with Touring Trim

Honda makes significant improvements to the 2022 Civic’s infotainment and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS).

Digital instrumentation is standard. With Touring trim, it includes a larger 10.2-inch display with a Vehicle Activity icon that shows the status of the car’s headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Using the steering wheel controls, drivers can easily find the menu for Honda Sensing safety technologies while driving and adjust them as desired in different situations.

Honda Sensing refers to the collection of ADAS on the new Civic. For 2022, Honda uses an upgraded front-facing camera and ultrasonic sonar in both the front and rear bumpers to make Honda Sensing more capable and accurate than before. It also feels smoother and more natural to the driver. New features include:

  • Traffic jam assistance using the adaptive cruise control

  • Lane-centering assistance technology

  • Low-speed braking system designed to help avoid minor fender benders

Additionally, Honda says they engineered the 2022 Civic’s underlying vehicle structure for improved crash-compatibility with larger vehicles. New front airbags are designed to limit head rotation in offset frontal-impact collisions, and the new Civic has its first ever rear side-impact airbags.

During evaluation, Honda Sensing demonstrated significant improvement over the previous-generation Civic with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, and the addition of Traffic Jam Assist. Better yet, the Civic now comes with a proper blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic warning. It replaces the previous car’s camera-based LaneWatch system, which only worked for the right side of the vehicle and did not offer rear collision warning of any kind. Unfortunately, Honda reserves the blind-spot warning for EX and Touring trim levels.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

In all but Touring trim, the Civic features a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wired smartphone integration. It comes with stereo knobs and buttons offering shortcuts to main system menus. A small ledge under the display helps to steady the driver’s hand when using the screen.

Touring trim upgrades to a 9-inch touchscreen display with a slightly different but equally useful layout. Wireless smartphone integration and charging is standard with this system, along with a new 12-speaker premium surround-sound audio system. Touring trim also includes navigation and a voice recognition system that is significantly improved from the previous Civic.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

For Best Results, Go Turbo

Most people who buy a 2022 Civic will get a 158 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine that supplies adequate acceleration. It comes standard in the LX and Sport trim levels, and is a class-competitive power plant.

A turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine is standard with EX and Touring trim. It is more powerful for 2022, supplying 180 hp. More than the extra 22 ponies, what makes this engine so satisfying is its peak 177 lb.-ft. of torque spread across a rev range spanning from 1,700 rpm to 4,500 rpm. Not only does this measure 39 added lb.-ft., but it’s far more accessible at lower engine revs. As a result, the Civic EX and Touring feel much more responsive to the right foot.

Both engines use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), though not the same one. Each is refined for 2022, now behaving more like a traditional automatic transmission thanks to Step Shift ratio programming. This is mostly successful at eliminating, or at least reducing, the drone typically associated with CVTs. All Civic sedans are front-wheel drive.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Civic Touring should get 34 mpg in combined driving. During evaluation on a test loop for this review, the test car averaged 30.4 mpg including a variety of roads and driving environments.

Part of our examination route included mountain driving with the Civic in its Sport driving mode, which likely contributed to the shortfall.

In addition to a stiffer and stronger vehicle architecture, Honda reworked the 2022 Civic’s suspension to improve ride smoothness. Revised steering also contributes to the Civic’s more refined ride and handling characteristics, especially with the Sport and Touring trim levels which have standard 18-inch wheels and tires. The car is a delight to drive in a variety of situations.

2022 Honda CivicChristian Wardlaw

Another Terrific Civic in a Long Line of Them

In terms of design and quality, engineering and driving dynamics, comfort and utility, and safety and technology, the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic is impressive. There are few reasons to criticize what will likely prove to be a popular choice in the compact car segment.

While the Civic is legendary for holding its value over time, Honda doesn’t offer many carrots to potential buyers. Several competitors have an edge over the Civic when it comes to ownership perks, warranty coverage, available equipment, and outright power and performance (though the upcoming Civic Si and Type R will solve for that). If you want a hybrid, Honda still sells the Insight sedan based on the previous-generation Civic. But all-wheel drive remains unavailable.

If you’re looking for a good compact car, you have a long line of choices. One worth your time and consideration is the all new 2022 Honda Civic.

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Edited by humans.

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