Honda has revealed its eleventh-generation Civic in America with a new design, improved tech and the kind of engine lineup that seems quaint from this side of the Atlantic. For one thing it still features a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre petrol motor as the entry-level offering, before you get to the 2021-appropriate turbocharged 1.5-litre variant with 180hp. Of course there's precisely zero chance you'll see the atmospheric unit when the car arrives in Europe late next year - by then Honda will be fully committed to electrifying its range.
But the American saloon does at least offer an early glimpse of the exterior and interior design that's likely to be replicated in the European-spec hatch. Over here the Civic is expected to follow the lead of the CRV and be offered in hybrid-only format, so expect mild hybridisation at a bare minimum - although there's a good chance that a successor to the FK8 Type R will stay true to the current car's form, as Honda has said its electrification plans will only apply to its mainstream models for now. That suggests unsullied internal combustion for the headliner.
We wouldn't suggest hanging out the bunting just yet, though. There's no official steer on the next-gen CTR, and the manual gearbox might yet prove a sticking point given the likelihood of an all-hybrid Civic lineup adopting auto or CVT gearboxes, in line with the CRV. Still, the FK8 shows Honda still very much cares about making great driver's cars and its success is likely to provide the business case for continuing with three pedals. If it ain't broke etc.
As for the rest of the setup, Honda claims to have made strides in ride and handling with the new car's platform, which receives new suspension and steering hardware and gets a body in white that's eight per cent more torsionally rigid and 13 per cent stiffer in 'bending rigidity'. Apparently, that boosts refinement as well as performance. The car has also grown a little to 4,674mm, making it some 18mm longer than the present car offered in Britain. It's wider in the tracks, too.
Elsewhere, the slightly toned-down appearance of the American Civic is predictable, given the mixed opinions the current car has garnered throughout its life. Inside there's new infotainment with a seven- or optional nine-inch touchscreen on a slim dash. The Civic also gets a big safety boost with new front airbags said to reduce the chances of brain and neck injuries in a crash, as well as Honda's first rear seat side airbags.
All sounds promising, then, although plenty could change between now and the anticipated late 2022 arrival of Honda's European Civic. For now, we'll have to stick with the current generation car, including that fabulous FK8 CTR. Poor us...
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