Sportier, techier 2021 Honda Civic previewed



Clean design, more interior space and more tech for Honda’s mainstay Civic sedan which is due in Singapore later this year


USA – Honda USA has revealed the new 11th-generation Civic small-midsized sedan which is claimed to be sportier than before, while also being larger, more spacious, and with significant additions to its on-board technology. 

Like the 10th-gen Civic which was also debuted in the USA first, the 11th-gen model will also be a global model and should be very similar, if not identical, to the version that will eventually land in Singapore. Honda Singapore has yet to confirm a local launch date, but we’re estimating late 2021, as first reported in our new cars 2021 story

In any case, the Civic will pack everything we expect from a 2021 Honda: New infotainment, Honda Sensing active safety, more space, and Honda’s new design language. 

Design 

With regards to the latter, the new Civic shows how Honda is really aligning all of its models with cohesive design language German-style – same maki, different lengths, we call it. That’s obvious from the fact that the Civic looks exactly how you’d expect: Like a smaller version of the Accord big sedan, or a larger version of the City compact sedan. 

You can see that from the flat, streamlined headlights now joined by a small strip grille, above which a ‘nose’ protrudes, and under which there’s a large, expansive air intake section, which gives the car a slight sharklike appearance. Honda says the A-pillars were moved rearward by almost 51mm to elongate the bonnet and give a ‘premium silhouette’.

We walk you through the new Honda Jazz, whose interior will share much with the Civic including the new 7.0-inch infotainment screen

There’s a strong belt line running down the side, and a upswept character line that bisects the rear wheel (like the Lexus IS has). Honda hasn’t joined the bandwagon though – the rear lights are triangular and not a light bar. 

The 11th-gen Civic runs on a new platform with Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering structure, incorporating aluminium, high-strength steel, and structural adhesives. It’s stiffer than before (eight percent more torsional rigidity, and 13 percent more bending rigidity) for better ride, handling, and NVH control.

Longer wheelbase should deliver more legroom

At 4,673mm long, 1,800mm wide, and 1,415mm tall, the car is essentially the same height and width as before, but it is 44mm longer. The most welcome addition here is to the wheelbase – the wheels are pushed out to 2,736mm, adding 36mm, which should spell for more legroom and gives the car a one-up over the rivalling Toyota Corolla. 

Drivetrain and chassis

For the USA, the engines are carried over from the 10th-gen model, namely a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated, and a 1.5-litre turbo. We expect something similar to happen here, with the 10th-gen facelift model’s 125hp Cat A eligible 1.6-litre also being carried over from before, and the same 1.5-litre turbo which made 173hp.

According to Car & Driver, the Civic will also have high-performance Si and Type R versions eventually, though like the 10th gen, we would bet that the Si won’t make it here, unlike the Type R.

Honda claims the new Civic has been tuned according to the stiffer body, wider rear track, and longer wheelbase, with an all-new suspension setup and retuned electronic power steering. There’s less suspension friction, new bushings, new bearings, ‘low drag’ brake calipers, and more, which Honda says will improve handling precision, smoothness, and yaw responsiveness, while also reducing shock from harsh road surfaces.

We expect the 1.5-litre turbo from the current facelifted Civic to be retained


The Big Green Giant in the living room though is electrification: Honda has pledged to go big on electrification, but has made no mention of a hybrid version of the Civic just yet. Without it, the Civic will face a tough fight without any VES rebates, but if there is a hybrid, we imagine it would use the new e:HEV system found on the current Honda Jazz, and the upcoming HR-V SUV. 

Interior and safety tech

For the driver’s display, US models will have a smaller 7.0-inch LCD unit which takes up half the instrument panel, and the speedo an analog dial – as seen on the facelifted Odyssey. There’s also a higher-grade 10.2-inch fully digital driver’s instrument panel, but it’s too early say which versions will be on Singapore’s Civics. 

The infotainment system is a 7.0-inch touchscreen, mounted high and in the centre of the cabin, as seen on the Honda Jazz. It’ll play nice with your Android and Apple smartphones, so no media for audio streaming or in-built navigation needed. Again, US models have the option of a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen, which we’ve yet to see in Singapore. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which would be a first for local Hondas – the feature is currently available on newer BMWs, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the Kia Stinger.

One especially interesting feature of the new Civic is its dashboard layout: There’s a single strip of aluminium running across the whole section – the protruding knobs seen above are adjusters for the air con vents, which are set behind the honeycombed panel.

Active safety comes onboard thanks to Honda Sensing – we expect that to be a standard feature, as it is on the Honda Jazz Hybrid and Odyssey. Honda USA says this system has a wider field of view, new software, and more processing power, which means faster and more accurate identification of/reaction to risky situations. It can also read speed limit signs and indicate this on the dash.

It packs adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and Traffic Jam Assist, while another new function is Low Speed Braking Control, which stops you from thwacking into things when parking.  

Toyota’s new Altis sets the standard for small-midsized sedans here – find out why in the video

about the author

Derryn Wong
Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.