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Honda Australia has confirmed the Civic small hatchback is moving upmarket with its 11th generation, announcing a near-$50,000 starting price for the redesigned segment stalwart.
While the 10th-generation Civic hatchback (excluding Type R) was most recently priced from $31,000 to $39,600 driveaway for the entry-level VTi-S and flagship RS respectively, the new model will launch on December 6 with a single grade, dubbed VTi-LX, from $47,200 (d/a).
The VTi-LX is powered by a revised 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, which now produces 131kW of power (+4kW) at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque (+20Nm) from 1700-4500rpm, and is mated to a similarly upgraded continuously variable transmission (CVT) with front-wheel drive.
That said, a second powertrain option will arrive in the second half of 2022, in the form of a ‘self-charging’ hybrid called e:HEV. It will combine a petrol engine with an electric motor to lower fuel consumption on the combined-cycle test (ADR) from 6.3L/100km.
Next year will also see the release of the next-generation Civic Type R hot hatch. While it’s yet to be revealed, the high-performance flagship is currently on track to enter Australian showrooms by the end of 2022.
Pricing for the e:HEV and Type R is yet to be released, but Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told media last week the Japanese-sourced Civic was now targeting the premium end of the Small Car segment, namely European models.
“We’re really repositioning Civic in Australia,” he said. “It’s played many roles over our journey. On a number of occasions, it’s been our volume, prime-focus vehicle. Other times it’s been more niche and more premium. So, (the VTi-LX) will be very much a premium step up.”
As such, Mr Collins added: “It won’t be a huge volume vehicle for us. We’re anticipating, in the next 12 months, we’ll do about 900 units – it’s a little unclear given the supply issues in the second half of next year.
“So, given that it’s going to be more premium and more positioned at that top area of the hatch market, it will be lower volume for us but still a critically important model.”
Despite its premium positioning, the VTi-LX isn’t available with a sunroof, a digital instrument cluster (a 10.2-inch unit is offered overseas), a heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, rear USB ports (available internationally) or surround-view cameras, although Mr Collins claimed its pricing is “very reflective of the level of equipment and the premium-ness of the vehicle”.
When compared to its previous generation, the VTi-LX has added a Sport drive mode (to join Normal and Econ), bi-colour 18-inch alloy wheels and auto-folding side mirrors with heating.
Inside, a 9.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with over-the-air updates, wireless Apple CarPlay support, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, a wireless smartphone charger, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, artificial-leather/suede upholstery and red ambient lighting now feature.
Better yet, advanced driver-assist systems now extend to Traffic Jam Assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention monitoring and rear occupant alert, while dual knee airbags (eight in total) have also joined the safety package.
Other standard equipment includes dusk-sensing LED lights, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, rear privacy glass, push-button start, satellite navigation, wired Android Auto support, digital radio, a 7.0-inch multifunction display, dual-zone climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, alloy pedals and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Like all other Honda Australia models, the Civic comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, while its service intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km (whichever comes first), with the first five visits costing $125 each under the available capped-price servicing.
Measuring 4560mm long (with a 2735mm wheelbase), 1802mm wide and 1415mm tall, the Civic’s boot has a storage capacity of 449L (VDA) due to the lack of a spare wheel (a tyre repair kit is hidden in the cargo area’s side panel).