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A red 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Sport with HPD Package drives through a city

Honda Civic Earns a 6-Peat as Best-Selling Compact Passenger Car

Although the Toyota Camry beat it in overall passenger car sales, the Honda Civic is still the best-sellling compact passenger car in the US. And 2021 is the sixth year in a row it's earned that title, thanks to a combination of customer-winning factors.

Whether you’re shopping for a used car or a new one, it’s tough to go wrong with a Honda Civic. The compact sedan brings a lot to the table, especially in its redesigned 2022 form. And after winning the North American Car of the Year award, the Civic got a people’s choice award. As in, more people in the US chose it over any other new passenger car.

The 2022 Honda Civic claims the ‘best-selling compact passenger car in the US’ crown for the sixth time

A red 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Sport with HPD Package drives through a city
2022 Honda Civic Sedan Sport with HPD Package | Honda

Honda didn’t just introduce a new Civic generation in 2021. Last year, the Civic earned the title of ‘best-selling retail passenger car in the US.’ Or rather, re-earned the title, because this is the sixth year in a row that it’s held it. Well, kind of.

Technically, the Toyota Camry is still the best-selling sedan and car in the US. Toyota sold 313,795 Camrys in 2021, while Honda ‘only’ sold 263,787 Civic Sedans and Hatchbacks. However, despite its global best-seller status, the Toyota Corolla didn’t sell as well as the Civic in 2021 in the US. Toyota shifted ‘just’ 248,993 Corollas here last year. So, Honda’s compact beat its Toyota rival both on the sales floor and the dragstrip.

OK, so the Honda Civic is really the best-selling compact passenger car in America for the sixth time running. But that’s not the only achievement it’s maintained over the years. Since 2011, it’s been the #1 choice for millennial buyers, Honda says. And it’s topped Gen Z, first-time, and multicultural buyers’ for the past six years, too. Plus, the Civic was the most popular used passenger car—as in not a truck or SUV—of 2021.

What makes the Honda Civic such a popular compact car?

Whether you’re taking the last-gen or the latest 2022 model, there are several reasons why the Honda Civic finds so many buyers.

Firstly, although it’s not the cheapest compact car, the Civic is great value for money. Even the cheapest 2022 Civic comes standard with a semi-digital gauge cluster, multiple advanced driver-assistance safety features, automatic climate control, and a 7” touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And higher trims offer features like a Bose audio system, digital gauge cluster, bigger touchscreens, and heated seats.

Also, the 2022 Civic earned high marks from us and other publications for its new interior and exterior design. Besides being “’a really handsome, functionally effective place,’” MotorTrend says, the interior offers excellent visibility and material quality. And the Civic Hatchback combines that with even more practicality and rear passenger space.

In addition, the 2022 Honda Civic isn’t just pleasant to sit in. It’s also fun to drive, especially in the sportier Civic Si trim. And it’s one of the few new cars you can get with a manual transmission; a particularly satisfying manual, to boot. This compact car basically does everything well.

During its Car of the Year testing, MotorTrend said something interesting: the 2022 Civic “drives way, way better than it has to.” With the death of the Chevrolet Spark, no American OEM offers new compact cars. And trucks, SUVs, and crossovers now dominate almost every brand’s sales charts. Case in point, Honda sold more CR-Vs than Civics in 2021. Basically, the Civic and Corolla are fighting in an increasingly shrinking segment. With less competition, Honda arguably didn’t have to redesign its compact so much for its 11th generation.

But it did. The 2022 Civic isn’t perfect, but it is satisfying to own. And that satisfaction drives sales.

What’s coming up next for the Civic?

The rear 3/4 view of the red camouflaged 2023 Honda Civic Type R prototype
2023 Honda Civic Type R camouflaged prototype rear 3/4 | Honda

Since 2022 is the first model year of the new Civic generation, Honda likely won’t be making any significant changes soon. However, there is one more model on the horizon: the Civic Type R.

As of this writing, concrete details are still rather sparse. But we do know that the upcoming Type R will use a more powerful version of the outgoing model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Also, like the other Civics, it has a new interior, exterior, and upgraded infotainment system. And if the last-gen Type R’s shifter is anything to go by, the new R will have one of the best manuals in the business.

Who knows, maybe that will be enough to push past the Camry?

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