When the 11th generation Honda Civic was globally revealed earlier this year, I wasn’t exactly impressed with its design. It doesn’t have that wow factor, nor does it leave a mark – at least when seen in photos and videos.
Mind you, I wasn’t totally a fan of the extroverted outgoing model, but the new one seems to stand as its polar opposite.
After a few months, the 2022 Civic FE is finally here in the Philippines and I spent a good amount of time with the all-new model during a pre-launch shoot. I even had a chance to give it a whirl within Honda Cars Philippines Inc.’s test course.
After that brief encounter in the metal, I regrettably say I couldn’t be any more wrong.
Bigger in every aspect than its predecessor, the 2022 Civic has a similar athletic stance to the 10th-gen model. However, its brawny aura comes with maturity; kind of like an athlete wearing a stylish tux.
You’ll also see that austerity in Honda’s choices of colors. While the FC Civic RS made use of a youthful and lighter red, the new Civic FE choose to use a deeper shade that’s borderline maroon. Even the gray color variant is darker than before, giving the Honda compact a sophisticated appeal.
The wraparound LEDs up front are narrower than before, while the non-black nose works better with the dark gray paint. The rear LEDs, on the other hand, reflect the shapes upfront, which is way better in my opinion – as are the RS-exclusive black trunk spoiler and shark-fin antenna.
While I like the design of the Civic V’s 17-inch wheels, I love the fact that the RS’s 18-inch satin black V-spoke rims look like an aftermarket set from BBS. That’s a very nice touch.
I’ll say this with full conviction – the 2022 Civic’s cabin deserves the interior design accolade it received in the US. In fact, I can say that it deserves any upcoming award it will receive.
The all-new Civic’s interior follows the Accord’s lead in terms of layout. The 10.2-inch fully digital instrument cluster, the 9-inch infotainment, and even the steering wheel are all adopted from the midsize sedan. What makes the Civic more special is the honeycomb mesh that runs across the dashboard. It hides the A/C vents, a nifty touch, though I’d say it will be a detailer’s bane. Nevertheless, the execution is superb and noteworthy, as is the rest of the dashboard.
I also like the suede and leather combo for the seats. They keep my buttocks in place during sporty maneuvers, while also benefitting from not heating up when left parked out in the sun. Space has never been the Civic’s problem, and that still holds true with the all-new model. The RS-exclusive black headliner is also one of my favorites.
Tech & safety
This is where you’ll see your money’s worth apart from the cabin amenities. The 2022 Civic comes standard with powered controls and an electronic parking brake with brake hold, with the RS benefitting from 8-way electronic adjustments for the driver’s seat. The top-spec RS also gets wireless Apple CarPlay coupled with wireless charging. As the icing to the cake, the RS badge comes with a 12-speaker Bose sound system.
However, those things pale in comparison with the Honda Sensing that’s standard across the range. The suite of techie safety features include adaptive cruise control, low speed follow, collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist system, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, auto high beam, and lead car departure notification. Basically, all the works for all variants.
Honda also filled the safety spec sheet for each and every new Civic, namely dual front plus side airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, and hill-start assist. No wonder the Civic has been bagging high safety ratings on every corner of the globe.
Driving & handling
Another range standard is the 2022 Civic’s 1.5-liter turbocharged DOHC VTEC gasoline engine. Yes, if you’re looking for a naturally aspirated Civic for 2022, you’d be looking at none.
This mill makes 178 metric horses and 240Nm of torque, sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (with paddle shifters for the RS). During the quick test runs, I’d say the compact Honda sedan did pick up instantly from a standstill. The CVT’s habit of droning was still there, though you’d still feel much of the pull even at middle ranges. Changing speeds wasn’t as laggy as before.
The low seating position made for a stable and comfortable ordeal even during sudden maneuvers, though I must say that even the RS Turbo’s suspension is tuned for comfort, ergo, noticeable body rolls on sharper turns. Noticeable but definitely tolerable. As always, cabin noise insulation was above average in its class.
One thing I learned in this encounter is to never judge a car before I see it in the metal. Photos and videos don’t always do justice, as is the case here with the 2022 Civic.
And then, there’s the price. The all-new Honda Civic now starts at P1,290,000 for the base S Turbo CVT while the top-spec RS Turbo CVT now sells for P1,690,000. The mid-V variant has a sticker price of P1,498,000.
These numbers are a huge jump from its previous pricing. However, that hefty price increase comes with a great set of safety features that include the class-leading Honda Sensing.
For this initial impressions review, I’d say that despite the price bump, the value proposition is already a good deal especially if you’re up for seriously high-tech features in a car. Then again, I’ll reserve full judgment in my full review right after I get to experience the car for a full week.