By on August 16, 2017

2017 Honda Civic hatchback - Image: Honda

The lifespan of an average car-model usually lasts a half-decade before the automaker shells out for a full redesign, unless it’s a Nissan Frontier or Lincoln Navigator. That’s more or less the rule at Honda when it comes to the top-selling compact car in North America, the Civic.

While the eighth-generation Civic soldiered on for a lengthy six years, Honda sold the preceding seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth versions of the model for either four or five years. Thanks to a boring design and lackluster reviews, the automaker spirited the ninth-gen model off of dealer lots after just four years, but not before adding extra content and style via an emergency 2013 model year refresh.

We’re now hearing the current generation — larger than ever before, radically redesigned for 2016, and a sales leader in a shrinking segment — won’t see a full redesign until the 2022 model year. That’s a six-year stretch. A stretch where automakers will be scrambling to hold on to compact-car market share in a land flush with small crossovers.

The production information, provided by a source with knowledge of assembly plans at the Civic’s Alliston, Ontario, assembly plant, suggests Honda isn’t too worried about staying fresh. Despite the segment’s decline, Honda’s sitting pretty.

Two years after the 10th-generation model showed up, the Civic handily outsells its second-place challenger, the Toyota Corolla. Its July sales rose 11 percent in the U.S., year-over-year, though sales have dropped 5 percent since the start of 2017. The overall segment shrank 5 percent this year.

James Jenkins, American Honda’s public relations manager, wouldn’t comment on the company’s future products. “The 16MY Civic has been very successful for us, and we’ll always look for way to make the car better,” he told TTAC.

Benefitting the Civic is a two-year-long rollout of new variants. Launching first with a sedan, the Civic lineup added a coupe and hatchback variant, as well as a hotter Si model and the scorching Type R model that began arriving from the U.K. this summer. Variety is the spice of life, but it also bolsters sales figures and focuses attention on a car model.

Honda’s well-received 10th-gen model gives it an advantage, even in a shrinking segment. As other players pull out (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and others lose interest in staying competitive (Ford’s Focus, due for a date with Chinese production), major players like Honda and Toyota stand to pick up more market share. It helps Honda that the current-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra haven’t caught on as well as their predecessors.

So, if the next-generation Civic truly isn’t arriving until 2022, it simply needs to stage a visual and technological repeat of 2016 — not 2012 — to keep that large slice of compact car buyers interested.

[Image: Honda]

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33 Comments on “Will Buyers Wait Until 2022 for a Next-generation Honda Civic?...”

  • avatar

    This is indeed breaking earth shattering news. Now I can hardly wait for the next one. I’ve gone all fidgety.

  • avatar

    Americans? Wait?? To buy a new car??? Really????
    I suppose, if Honda promised a 2022 Civic Hellcat – or Demon?

  • avatar

    Are they going to do a civic hybrid this generation? The current accord hybrid nearly gets 50mpg and I’d much rather have a civic than that hideous Prius.

  • avatar

    Buyers will, in fact, wait until 2022 for the next generation Civic.

    Because that’s when Honda will make it.

    However, most people shopping Civics probably don’t concern themselves much with “zomg how long was it since the last MAJOR refresh?!!?”, I think.

  • avatar

    I’ll probably buy the Sport hatch before then, but cool to see that they’re committed to another Civic in a sea of crossover all the things.

  • avatar
    Wagon Of Fury

    So they’ve got five years to make the styling less overwrought and fugly. Good. Take your time, Honda. I’ll be very curious to see how well the Civic TypeR sells given its over the top appearance given the positively sedate-by-comparison Focus RS / Golf R / WRX

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    If Honda stops being stingy with technology updates, it has a better chance to make it to 2022 because that’s all buyers really care about these days. But if it drags its feet updating nav systems, latest versions of CarPlay/Android Auto/whatever, then it will have some blowback.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Q: “Will Buyers Wait Until 2022 for a Next-generation Honda Civic?”

    A: Wait for what, exactly? They’ll buy what’s on the lot, because Honda.

  • avatar

    The Consumer Reports reading, notebook carrying, pansexual buyers will buy what ever Honda puts on its dealers lots.

  • avatar

    Dear Honda: Please make a midsize pickup truck! (And I don’t mean the current El Camino/Odyssey/minivan-with-a-weird-bed thing).

    The American market is voracious for midsize trucks now. Toyota not only can’t build Tacomas fast enough, but they can’t even build *plants* fast enough to build the Tacomas in. The upcoming Ford Ranger is generating massive interest and hype, and looks to be a huge seller. GM is selling lots of mid-size trucks.

    Please, Honda, get serious about making desirable vehicles we can get excited about again and give us an honest Tacoma slayer. You were SO close with the previous generation of Ridgline! You have the technology and resources to build an honest truck. A truck that hauls and drives like a truck. Market it to young outdoors types, rather than the family hauler you currently live for. Its worked for Subaru and its made Toyota king of the midsize. Wouldn’t it be nice to de-throne Toyota!? I promise I will buy one.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt Honda is going to develop a full body-on-frame platform. This is a very competitive market; better to carve out their own niche with a unibody pickup.

      The only problem with the Ridgeline is that it’s too wide (as wide as an F-150). It should be about 70″ wide instead of 79″.

  • avatar

    I occasionally get the itch to replace my 10 year old Toyota, but every time I start looking, I come to the conclusion that there is no compelling reason to replace my vehicle. Interiors have gotten cheaper in the last 10 years and I place no value all the nanny tech in new vehicles. I think I’ll stick with current vehicle for a few more years and see what the future might hold.

  • avatar

    I’d happily wait 10 year development cycles, if it meant the cars didn’t get decontented with the loss of things like analog gauges, volume button, AC button, trunk key hole, durable seat fabric, glass headlight lenses, properly sized battery, passenger door key hole, back seat/trunk pass through, long lasting brake pads, and all the stuff that will break earlier than-it-used-to but we don’t know about it yet.

    • 0 avatar

      Even if you think you have analog gauges, you probably don’t (unless your car is decades old). It may look analog, but it’s taking a digital signal from the ECU and electronically converting it to a dial position.

  • avatar

    Smart move, Honda,
    Reduce resources devoted to cars so you can free them up to address the real market: crossovers.

  • avatar

    Hmm..wonder if Honda’s already planning some sort of emergency cleanup, 2013 Civic-style, on the Accord, as the new design is being almost universally panned, even before the long-lead press preview.

    (Not much they could do with it, for the most part, except maybe clean up the front end — if they could do something on the 2019s so that the hood cut-line is less obvious! That thing makes the car appear like it’s been..well..CUTTING ITSELF! Inadequate feelings about what’s under the bonnet, perhaps?)

    Can’t wait for the pundits’ opinions on the driving experience, either a nice, zippy feel like the 4th-Gens, or the damn thing will be a laggy mess, on the way to becoming another 8th-Gen POS! What will the verdict be?

    Based upon the general chatter ’round the ‘Net, Honda may have stepped in it, and not just because of the turdos!

    As to the subject of the article, it’d be a mistake to go to six-year cycles with the Civic! They need to tone down the superfluous boy-racer crap, and tweak the interior to bring it up to more of an Accord level, and by my count, the mid-cycle refresh is 2019. They’re going to have to dig extra deep for that, in order to avoid having the car withering on the vine by its final year.

  • avatar

    Saw my first new Civic Type R in traffic the other day.
    Looked like something you would see on an airport runway.
    Just needed wings to extend from the doors.

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts exactly. With the exception of Mazda and to some extent Infiniti, the design is either garishly outlandish (Honda, Acura, Toyota) or stuck in the 2000s (Mitsu, Subaru). Say what you will about the “Real People” ads by Chevy but those cars look pretty good. I wouldn’t be embarrassed about owning a Cruze, esp their turbodiesel which can be mated to *gasp* a bona-fide manual transmission.

  • avatar

    This really depends on how much of God’s work Honda manages to do in the mid model refresh. If they don’t close up those open sores and ditch that stupid chrome nose awning it’s going to be a rough 6 years. It doesn’t even look good slammed and on big wheels, which is pretty hard to do.

  • avatar

    10-15 years time lots worthless ICE Civic hanging round nobody wants or can drive legally in cities. Big disposal fee if you’re still hanging onto one. If they’re smart they may make proviso in the 2022 for EV conversion.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    If the bones are good, hell, keep it going for 20 years. Not a huge fan of the “expressive” design language on the Civic; the color scheme above reminds me why. OMG.

  • avatar

    I’m hoping for a mid-cycle or sooner refresh or boringazation of the hatchback. However, given the number I’m seeing, they might not have much reason to be in a hurry.

  • avatar

    The new Civic’s platform is excellent, so with a meaningful MMC I think this generation can easily last six years. They have plenty of room to update the styling, improve interior materials, add Sensing, add a hybrid version, give us an Si hatch fer cryin’ out loud, etc.

  • avatar

    I have a feeling that the 2022 Civic will be even more uglier and over-styled. Therefore, I am pinning my hopes on the 2018 Ford Focus instead.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    To be honest, this is sort of circular logic. Typically, automakers redesign cars faster in “hotter” segments—the exception being extremely-profitable-per-unit segments like BOF trucks and SUVs. The Civic’s redesign is getting delayed *because* the compact sedan segment isn’t as popular as it was, not in spite of the fact, so they need longer to amortize the engineering costs. I bet we’ll still get a pretty aggressive facelift come 2019 or 2020, though.

  • avatar

    For a civic, just buy what you can afford. It’s supposed to be reliable transportation. Don’t wait.

  • avatar

    This is incorrect. Plan is for FMC at 2021, plan for sop sometime fall of 2020.

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