A Driver-Oriented Space in the ’22 Honda Civic

While not full-on stark minimalism, Honda is recognizing the need for a more human-oriented interior in its 11th-generation Civic

By Gary S. Vasilash

One of the things that has been going on in interior design is that as the vehicles have become more tech-centric, there is a near feeling of driver claustrophobia.

The term typically used to describe the space is “cockpit,” as though the driver is actually trained as a pilot in an F-18 when, in fact, all that person really wants is to be able to go to the store to pick up a few groceries.

With its minimalist interior design Tesla has started a trend in this direction.

Inside the ’22 Honda Civic. (Image: Honda)

The interior of the 2022 Honda Civic is the latest example of a driver-not-pilot approach.

On a macro level, that there are pulled back A-pillars, a low hood and a flat dash, as well as a low, flat beltline, means there is a more spacious view to the outside (a good thing when behind the wheel).

Honda is calling approach “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum,” which is something that they followed year ago, but seem to have forgotten over the years, as they tried to stay of the moment.

There is an available 9-inch color touchscreen—the largest screen in any Honda (you would imagine this would be in something like the Odyssey or Pilot)—that runs “a simplified navigation structure with fewer embedded menus.”

What’s more, there is a physical volume knob and hard buttons for Home and Back.

It is understandable that OEMs would chase consumer electronics in terms of interfaces, but it is also clear that in some cases things have gone to far. While you look at your phone when making a selection; if you’re driving a vehicle you should be looking at the road ahead. Thus something like a knob to crank up the sound is an ergonomic solution for a car, while it would be inappropriate for a phone.

And they’ve put a 0.8-inch finger rest on the bottom of the touchscreen, something that is car-appropriate.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan Breaks Cover

Yes, small(ish) sedans still matter to some companies—and some consumers. After all, there were 55,903 Civics sold through March, and that is notable

By Gary S. Vasilash

While I must confess I don’t completely understand the “breaks cover” term for a vehicle reveal, it seems that that is de rigueur in headlines for events like that, so I figured I’d use it. Breaks cover.

2022 Honda Civic. It will become available later this year. (Image: Honda)

There isn’t a whole lot of information about what will be the eleventh generation of the venerable Civic (any car that’s been around for 11 generations gets that honorific—at the very least).

It will be a model year 2022.

The sedan will be produced at Honda of Canada Manufacturing, which is in Alliston, Ontario.

There will be a Civic Hatchback coming a few months after the Civic Sedan. It will be produced at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana in Greensburg.

Honda will offer more information about the Sedan on April 28, during its first 20th anniversary Honda Civic Tour event, headlined by H.E.R. One wonders whether the fans at the concert will be interested in specs of the songs.

This, of course, will be a virtual tour.

The car, which has, to remind you, broken cover, will be real.

Why the Big 6 (But One) Abandoned Small Cars: It’s Not Just the Margins

Americans are big. Really big. Which might explain the absence of small cars (or almost any cars) being offered by the major OEMs

The accepted wisdom seems to have it that one of the primary reasons why vehicle manufacturers are getting out of cars and pouring more resources into crossovers is because they can make better margins on the latter. Which may be true, but is likely only part of the story.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American adults are, well, large. The average male over 20 is 5-foot 9-inches, weighs 199.8 pounds and has a 40.5-inch waist. The average female is 5-foot 3.5-inches, tips the scales at 170.8 pounds, and has a 38.7-inch waist. According to the CDC, 73.6% of adult Americans are overweight.

Seems like a fairly compelling rationale for large vehicles.

So what’s someone who wants to buy a small car to do? Well, the answer to that is “Look for something that is not all that small.”

That is, of the U.S. Big 6 automakers—GM, Ford, Stellantis NA, Nissan, Toyota and Honda—only GM has a car that can be considered “small.”

Chevrolet still offers the Spark. This car has a 93.9-inch wheelbase, is 143.1-inches long, 62.8 inches wide, and 58.4 inches high. It has a passenger volume of 83 cubic feet, and a cargo volume behind the rear seat of 11.1 cubic feet.

2021 Chevy Spark. Small. But big. (Image: Chevrolet)

The next smallest is the Fiat 500X, although the company positions it as being a crossover rather than a car, but for the sake of argument, let’s include it since it has a design that is very much like the now-departed (and tiny) 500. The 500X is gargantuan compared to the Spark, with a 101.2-inch wheelbase and length, width and height dimensions of 167.2, 73.2 and 63.7 inches, respectively. It has a passenger volume of 91.7 cubic feet and cargo area behind the rear seat of 14.1 cubic feet.

Then there’s the Nissan Versa. It has a wheelbase of 103.1 inches—9.2 inches more than the Spark—and an overall length of 177 inches, or almost three feet longer than a Spark. Its other dimensions are 68.5 inches width, 57.3 inches height, a passenger volume of 88.9 cubic feet and a cargo volume of 14.7 cubic feet.

Whereas people might associate “Honda” with “small cars,” with the Fits remaining on dealer lots the only ones left, the smallest car in the lineup is the Civic Hatch. Which isn’t all that small. It has a 106.3-inch wheelbase, is 177.9 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 56.5 inches high. It has a passenger volume of 97.2 cubic feet and a cargo volume of 25.7 cubic feet.

The smallest Toyota car is now the Prius, which has a wheelbase of 106.3 inches and an overall length of 180 inches—or more than three feet longer than a Spark. It is 69.3 inches wide, 57.9 inches high, and offers 93.1 cubic feet of passenger volume and 27.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Finally, there’s Ford, the company that was the first mass producer of passenger cars, the company that is now shifting its offerings away from, well, passenger cars. It currently has two cars on offer, and production has stopped for the Fusion, so that leaves the Mustang. Which is a completely bizarre thing to have in the context of a Spark. But here it is. The Mustang has a 107.1-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 188.5 inches. It is 81.9 inches wide, 54.3 inches high, and has a passenger and cargo volume of 82.8 and 13.5 cubic feet, respectively.

But consider this: the Spark actually offers more passenger volume than the Mustang. Not much more (0.2 cubic feet, or about the size of a football). But more.

So it might be a reasonable choice for a big American looking for a small car.–gsv