2021 Honda Civic prototype launched and interior teased

Images of next Honda Civic released, showing more understated styling than the current car

  • Previewed as a saloon but UK will get hatchback instead
  • Longer and wider than current model
  • Focus on electrification

A prototype of the new Honda Civic has been launched, ahead of the car’s arrival next year. Despite its official prototype status, we expect the showroom-ready car will share the vast majority of styling details.

One change will be the bodystyle; the car in these images is a saloon but UK buyers prefer the hatchback. A Honda Civic saloon was briefly available but sales were slow and we don’t expect the new saloon to come to our shores.

The new Civic is tasked with replacing both its predecessor and the bigger Honda Accord, so it’ll grow in size. These images show that it’ll also get a more restrained design, with less intricate headlights, a grille like the one on the latest Honda Jazz, and a more conventional tailgate style - albeit with a nice full-width light bar.

Already more practical than its closest rivals, the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, the next Honda Civic may rival the class leaders for passenger and luggage space. It may get close to the large Skoda Octavia and some family SUVs in terms of space.

Honda has also provided a teaser image of the interior. A touchscreen will be on top of the dashboard and will feature a new infotainment system using tiles like the system in the Honda e, rather than the Garmin aftermarket unit that comes in the current car. Overall, it’ll have quite a minimalist look, with many of the features likely to be controlled by the touchscreen or a screen in the dial cluster. We’re pleased to see a bank of physical climate control buttons.

A new Honda Civic Type R variant will come to the UK, and we expect a warm Civic Si to sit underneath it.

It’s thought the rest of the range will be hybrid, with Honda planning to electrify almost its entire line-up by 2022. Most likely is a modified version of the Jazz’s clever hybrid engine, which pairs a 1.5-litre petrol with two electric motors. The Jazz manages 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds and nearly 63mpg, and the Civic will need to post similar figures if buyers are going to switch from the recently discontinued 1.6-litre diesel.

It’s not known whether a fully electric Civic is in the pipeline. An electric Civic would need a much bigger battery and motor than the Honda e, which only has a small battery and limited driving range.

See where the current Honda Civic lands on our lists of the most economical family cars and best family cars.

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