After 49 Years from Launch, How Has Honda’s Civic Changed?

The 11th generation Honda Civic is already catching great attention.

A car for every people

Honda has launched the latest model of the company’s best-selling compact, the Civic, in August 2021 for the Japanese market. As its name suggests, the Civic has always been a car for the people and has met various needs at all times. So, how has the car evolved in its 49 years of history?

The Honda Civic Hatchback for the Japanese market
The Honda Civic Hatchback for the Japanese market

The 11th generation Civic was revealed with a prototype on November 18, 2020 for the North American market and was officially launched on June 16, 2021. On the other hand, the Japanese-spec model is only available in a hatchback in contrary to the North American market having both sedan and hatchback.

As the Honda’s worldwide model, the car was sold in various body variations including sedan, hatchback, coupe, and Type R for the 10th generation model. It was especially popular in North America and China, selling more than 400,000 units a year worldwide. But looking at Honda’s home market, sales were sluggish. This was mainly due to the slump in the entire sedan market, but also the fact its rivals had similar packaging with a lower price.

However, as mentioned earlier, the 1st generation model was originally launched in 1972 as a car for citizens. At that time, 2-door sedans were the mainstream in the automobile market, but Honda developed a new market, an FWD two-box, and the Civic was born as a basic car that was thoroughly developed for everyone around the world.

It also came in few body types including a 2/4-door fastback, a 3/5-door hatchback, and a commercial van. Various powertrains were also introduced from 1.2-liter to 1.5-liter with prices starting from ¥425,000 to ¥971,000 at that time.

Starting from the 3rd generation, the car also acted as a high-performance car with engines with higher output like the Type R models. Also, with the introduction of the Fit (Jazz) and City (Grace), which were more compact and accessible models than the Civic, the car had moved up to a middle range model.

The Civic has undergone many changes due to various external factors. So, what are the characteristics of the latest model? Yosuke Sato, Head of Development, explains the philosophy behind the 11th generation Civic.

“When developing the new Civic, I was thinking about what a modern Civic should be. As I looked back over the history of the car, I suddenly remembered the phrase, a breath of fresh air. This phrase was used to describe the 1st generation Civic, which was not just a tool for transportation, but a special car that provided a refreshing experience. It is because of this that the Civic has grown to become a symbolic model of Honda.”

“The answer to this question was to make the new Civic a ‘refreshing breath of fresh air’ for the current and future generations. Living in the modern age where the Internet is widespread and social networking sites are commonplace, we have a high sensitivity to information. Many of us are sensitive to our social responsibilities and reputation, but at the same time, we want to present our natural selves in an attractive way.”

“Based on our research in various countries, we concluded that we could create a refreshing car that combines familiarity with a sense of specialness, allowing people to feel comfortable connecting themselves with society. We hope that the new Civic will become such a vehicle.”

Comparing with the previous model, the new Civic is now 30 mm longer in overall length and 35 mm in wheelbase. This led to a major improvement in rear-seat comfort. But at the same time, its basic performance has been thoroughly refined as well. Adding Honda’s “Honda SENSING” safety features and “Honda CONNECT” multimedia system, the car now provides comfortable adventure with multi-layers of safety.

Currently, the new Civic is only provided in Sedan and Hatchback in the North American market, but a sportier Si variant and the halo Type R model have been also announced. As for the Japanese market where only a gasoline Hatchback model is available, Honda plans to launch a hybrid variant and also the Type R in 2022.

The 11th generation Civic starts from $21,700 for the Sedan and $22,900 for the Hatchback.


The Stylish New Honda Civic