Honda has worked to make this version much sportier than before, using the Audi A3 as its blueprint, and Honda aren't afraid to say it. Not only will it have a more sporty drive, it'll also have a comfortable ride.
Two all new petrol engines spearhead the Civic's powertrains, with technology straight from Formula 1.
The all-new Civic is now bigger (which doesn’t sound too sporting). It’s 130mm longer but crucially 30mm wider and 20mm lower with short overhangs, giving it a more aggressive and sporting stance.
The Civic's "sharp and aggressive ‘face’, pronounced wheel-arches and sculpted front and rear intakes hint at its sporting character.
It has been engineered from the ground up and the new Civic has a lightweight (16kg lighter than before) structure and more rigid body shell (a 65% improvement), while the car’s centre of gravity has been lowered by 10mm. Aerodynamically it’s also improved and includes complete underbody panelling – hang on a minute, they might be serious about this sports thing.
There’s a new suspension system with MacPherson struts at the front to provide high lateral rigidity for enhanced handling and an all-new multi-link suspension at the rear. Its engineers have set out to make the new Civic the best handling car in its class, with matching ride comfort.
Under the bonnet are two all-new VTEC turbo petrol engines, a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo developing 127bhp and 148lb ft of torque as well as a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 180bhp and 177lb ft of torque. Both are available with a newly-designed six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic.
Inside, there’s more room on offer as front shoulder room has increased by 10mm and there’s 30mm more space between the front seats while the seats have also been lowered to give the driver “a greater connection with the car.”
In the back, you get an extra 20mm of shoulder room and an impressive 95mm additional leg and 45mm knee room, while the boot has 478 litres of storage capacity.
The dashboard is all-new and redesigned, putting technology first. There’s a 7.0in digital screen between the instruments and Honda’s second-generation infotainment system will feature Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto.
Safety features are extensive and include autonomous collision avoidance braking, land departure warning, road departure mitigation, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.
This is a vital car for Honda to get right as the Civic is its best global seller and Honda appears to be leaving no stone unturned. Rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and the now ageing Ford Focus, all outsold the Civic in 2015. It'll also face tough completion from the new Hyundai i30.
The new Civic will arrive in the first quarter of 2017 with the Type-R following within six months.