Despite its decades of popularity – more than 12 million have been sold – the stalwart compact sedan is in crisis: Americans are losing interest in passenger cars.
Honda hopes to turn the tide by releasing a fully redesigned Civic in six years, marking the 11th generation of a vehicle known for its dependability and family appeal. The car is slightly bigger than its predecessor, but it gets better gas mileage.
Despite sales of passenger cars declining in recent years as Americans flocked to SUVs and trucks, the Civic remains a centrepiece of Honda’s American range, trailing only the Toyota Camry for the title of a bestselling passenger car in the United States in 2020.
“The most significant disadvantage of the new Honda Civic is that it is a motorcycle. Automobiles continue to fall out of favour with consumers, “Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, said in an email.
“Having said that, there is still a place for cars in the market, especially for young, probably first-time new car buyers on a budget. Honda and Toyota are the market leaders in this category.”
The Civic’s sales dropped to 261,225 in 2020, a nearly 18 % drop from 317,909 in 2015, the last year the vehicle was redesigned. Several of the Civic’s direct rivals, including the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, were discontinued at the same time due to low sales.
Despite the downward trend, according to Cox Automotive, which owns Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, the Civic was the eighth-best-selling vehicle in the United States last year. It was trailed by the Ford F-series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram truck, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry, and Chevrolet Equinox, in that order.
Honda hopes to rekindle interest in a nameplate that first appeared in the United States in 1973 by improving fuel quality and simplifying the interior. The new Civic will be available for purchase this summer.
Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations for American Honda Motor, said, “For nearly 50 years, Civic has been the go-to option for compact car buyers, and the all-new 11th-generation Honda Civic builds on that leadership with easy and sporty styling inside and out, best-in-class features, and class-leading performance,”
The new Civic comes with two 4-cylinder powertrain options: a standard 2-litre, 158-horsepower naturally aspirated engine and an optional 1.5-litre turbocharged engine are paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The base 2022 model gets 31 mpg in the area, 40 on the highway, and 35 combined. This represents a 1, 2, and 2 mpg increase over the previous version, respectively.
Although it is unlikely to differ significantly from the 2021 model, the company did not announce pricing, which began at $22,000.