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2022 Honda Civic patent photos leaked as Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Kia Cerato rival scores classy new clothes

In time for the Japanese small car's 50th birthday, 2022 Civic gains cleaner and classier styling, greatly boosting its appeal.

Patent office illustrations of the next-generation Honda Civic have surfaced, highlighting an all-new design that drags the Japanese small car into the 2020s, to better fight high-flying foes like the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Kia Cerato.

Due for a global unveiling sometime next year, with Australian sales set for 2022, the 11th-generation version has been exposed undisguised for the first time on all-things-Civic information website, (www.CivicXi.com) – including in hatchback format.

This suggests that – unlike the existing Mk10 Civic unveiled in September 2015 – the more versatile five-door models may be released alongside the mainstay four-door sedans, instead of some months afterwards.

The 2022 Civic patent images follow on from spy shots of the next-generation 2022 Civic Type-R hot-hatch flagship wearing camouflaged disguise, further backing up speculation that Honda might show every model at once, rather than stagger their releases. Time will tell.

The images clearly show a family connection to the cleaner and crisper lines of the latest Honda Accord sedan, which in turn is an evolution of the outgoing Civic’s design themes. The biggest departure between old and new is the abolition of the controversial body creases, boomerang tail-lights, bisecting rear spoiler and oversized bumper air-intake shapes featured on today’s models.

These, plus the considerably larger sixth-light glasshouse as visible in the hatch illustrations, point to a more mature approach. It also promises a lighter and airier cabin, complete with improved rear vision – a bugbear of today’s hatch. It seems Honda is sticking to its guns by retaining slimmer pillars that minimise blind spots.

The 2022 Civic sedan, meanwhile, also returns to a more conservative design philosophy, with a more formal three-box silhouette in lieu of today’s almost fastback-like four-door shape. That said, a massive boot is sure to be hiding back there.

While every single body panel as well as the interior will be completely new for the 2022 Civic, the architecture is expected to remain largely the same, since the existing model ushered in the all-new Honda’s Earth Dreams architecture.

This suggests that the basic proportions will probably stick to what’s available right now, meaning a larger-than-normal cabin again, thanks to a generous wheelbase that measures in at 2700mm today. In contrast, the i30’s is 2560mm.

Still under the skin, expect conventional yet sophisticated engineering to again define the 48-year-old series, including the greater availability of the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine on the mainstream Civics, as well as the retention of a MacPherson strut-style front suspension and a multi-link independent rear-end arrangement. Most other competitors at this price point - namely the Mazda 3 - have switched to a simpler torsion beam set-up.

Whether Australian deliveries will include Honda’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol alternative to the long-serving 1.8-litre single-cam four-pot atmo unit is unknown.

Finally, there’s a question of where Australian Civics might hail from.

Currently, all models except the Type R come from Thailand, but the Mk11 might switch to Japan, as the currency fluctuations that have bedevilled the previously Thai-made Mazda CX-30 and CX-3 (now also out of Japan for our market) have also challenged Honda. Japan may also likely supply the future Type R.

In time for the evergreen series' 50th birthday, the 2022 Civic could not come soon enough for Honda Australia, with the current model's volume down by one-third this year compared to last year – even though the Series II facelift only arrived this January.

However, the Civic's sales slide is in line with the small-car market in general. At 4847 registrations, it sits in sixth place, behind the Corolla (17,187 units), i30 (13,474), Cerato (11,403), Mazda3 (9443) and the Volkswagen Golf (7245). 

We’ll bring you more on how the next Civic evolves as news come to hand, so watch this space.