2022 Honda Civic soon to launch in Thailand, will Malaysia get it this year? We look at past precedents

The new 11th-generation Honda Civic was revealed to the world back in April, but today’s Thai-market teaser means that the C-segment sedan will soon be arriving in Southeast Asia. More importantly for us, it also means that a Malaysian debut can’t be too far behind…right?

Due to be launched in the Land of Smiles on August 6, the new Civic marks a step change in Honda’s usual sluggish model rollout, as it will go on sale there just two months after the United States. Contrast this to the five it took for the outgoing FC model, plus another three for it to finally reach Malaysia.

No details have been revealed just yet, but Thai website Headlight Magazine reported that the new car will only be available with the ubiquitous 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine; the long-serving 1.8 litre naturally-aspirated i-VTEC mill is slated to be dropped. An e:HEV model featuring Honda’s two-motor hybrid powertrain could also follow with an expected 2022 launch date.

The big question is, when will the new Civic arrive in Malaysia? The car’s impending launch has already been teased by Honda Malaysia in an interview with its president and COO Sarly Adle Sarkum, who hinted that Malaysians could get their first glimpse of the car this year. We should point out that the Civic is also due to be launched in Japan (in hatchback form) next month and in Singapore soon, although no confirmed date has been given for the latter.

The company’s lead times for its products in Malaysia have varied greatly over the past few years due to differing market conditions. We probably won’t see as extreme an example as the facelifted FC, which was launched here a whole 15 months after its Thai debut, a pricing approval issue causing a massive delay.

Pricing was also one of the reasons why the latest City took nearly a year to arrive, having originally made its Thai launch in November 2019. There were several other factors contributing to its October 2020 launch, however, not least of which was the small sticking point that was the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing movement control orders.

The Malaysian launch of the facelifted Civic FC and new City were both delayed significantly

The Malaysian-spec car also received a completely different engine – a 1.5 litre NA unit that replaced Thailand’s 1.0 litre turbo three-pot. Despite making its world debut here last August, the e:HEV RS model was also delayed, the hybrid variant eventually going on sale in Malaysia four months after Thailand.

A lead time similar to that of the facelifted CR-V is more likely. The refreshed SUV was launched in Thailand last July, followed by a Malaysian debut just four months later. Bear in mind, however, that the latter happened just as the number of daily COVID-19 infections was starting to climb to 1,000 from a double-digit low in September, well before the severe spike that caused the latest round of MCOs.

Vehicle manufacturing plants are again closed as part of the orders, which could complicate matters for the new Civic. Still, we do have another five months until the end of the year, giving the car a decent amount of time to come to our shores – even if it’s just for a preview, as Honda Malaysia usually does.

Just to recap, the new Civic gets a comprehensive makeover this year, with a more mature exterior design and a classier and higher-quality interior. New technologies include a new 10.2-inch digital instrument display, a larger nine-inch infotainment touchscreen, an available 12-speaker Bose sound system (not confirmed for our market) and a Qi wireless smartphone charger.

Safety has also been given a step up thanks to an upgraded Honda Sensing system, now with Traffic Jam Assist 2 (TJA 2) that provides Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capabilities. In the US, the Civic is offered with a pair of carryover engines – the base 2.0 litre NA i-VTEC four-cylinder, which likely won’t be offered here, produces the same 158 hp and 187 Nm of torque as before.

The aforementioned 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo mill, however, makes an extra six horsepower and 20 Nm, bumping up the total to 180 hp and 240 Nm. The Civic Sedan is now offered Stateside exclusively with a CVT and this will almost certainly be the case in Malaysia as well.

GALLERY: 2022 Honda Civic Sedan, US market

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