European-spec Honda Civic e:HEV detailed – forerunner to the next Type R

Honda’s EU-spec Civic to feature a single hybrid powertrain, until the Type R finally arrives

Honda has announced new details about its European spec 11th-gen Civic. Originally revealed back in late 2020, and having now been on sale in most other global markets since mid-2021, the Civic’s delay in Europe has been largely driven by supply-chain issues surrounding the pandemic, exacerbated by Honda’s shutdown of its European manufacturing hub in Swindon last year. So with plans now firmed up for the next Civic’s launch in Autumn this year, this not only means we’ll finally see the new model hit the road, it also gives us a better indication of when we’ll see the next generation Civic Type R that should share its Japanese production facility. 

For now Honda has only revealed specifications of the standard Civic, which in Europe will be available exclusively with a new version of Honda’s e:HEV hybrid powertrain that in this format combines a 2-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors, one directly attached to the combustion engine up front, and a second mounted underneath the rear bench. Despite its placement at the rear of the car, drive is only fed to the front wheels through Honda’s unusual direct-drive transmission system. Peak power is rated at 181bhp, with peak torque sitting at 232lb ft. Honda hasn’t released any performance figures, but has targeted fuel consumption numbers of around 56mpg under the WLTP cycle.

The Civic’s e:HEV system works in a peculiar fashion, as the petrol engine is used largely to power the electric motors, which are directly connected to the front wheels in normal driving. However, when running up at motorway speeds, the combustion engine is then able to take over via its own direct drive system, bypassing the electric motors thus improving high speed efficiency. This type of hybrid system is already found in the HR-V and Jazz, the difference here being its more potent combustion engine, which should give the Civic some extra oomph. 

More relevant to the next Type R, however, is the 11th generation Civic’s chassis. Building on the previous Civic’s basis, the new car features a wider rear track and an extra 35mm in the wheelbase – two elements that should further enhance the Civic’s already impressive road-holding. Overall structural rigidity is also up, with modifications made to the structure and front suspension mounting points.

Exterior styling and the new cabin have already been revealed via other international market Civic models, and only the hatchback will be available here in Europe. Smart, clean exterior surfacing, slick LED lighting and a lower bonnet-line all combine to create a look that’s far more sophisticated than the previous generation car. Interior materials and build quality have also taken a substantial step up.

Local pricing and specific availability beyond its Autumn launch are still to be confirmed, but with skyrocketing shipping costs, plus a broad push upmarket in pricing in other markets, we suspect the new Civic will be a more expensive proposition than before – something that will likely be reflected in its available specifications. But, with a supply line now from its Japanese manufacturing hub officially established, the next Civic and the Type R finally look ready to make a comeback.

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