Here’s our review of the all-new 2016 Honda Civic
What we have here is the all-new tenth generation 2016 Honda Civic, which is new from the ground up as Honda attempts to bring the Civic back to its roots. With the current generation Civic, Honda somewhat lost its way when it decided to bring a de-contented and quite stale looking Civic to market in 2012. After a quick refresh the Civic did improve a bit, but not to levels that would satisfy diehard Honda fans. With the introduction of the 2016 Civic, Honda has gone back to the drawing board to make a Civic that will not only win over would be Corolla and Focus buyers, but will hopefully satisfy some of Honda’s loyal fans.
When work began on the new Civic, Honda set out the goal of not building a sedan that would satisfy the masses, like the Toyota Corolla. Instead its designers and engineers wanted something much better and even coined the new Civic “Epic Civic.” Honda flew its engineers to Europe to benchmark the best compact sedans and the end result is a new Civic sedan that is not only one of the most handsome Civics to date, but also feels more upscale and Germanic.
On the outside, the 2016 Civic is much larger than the outgoing model with a stretched wheelbase and overall longer proportions. It also sits much lower and wider than the outgoing model, to give it a sportier presence. During Honda’s press launch for the new Civic, the consensus was that the styling of the new Civic finally makes the Civic exciting again. While the last-generation fell short on some many levels, the new Civic brought back many of the fond memories of how I felt when Honda introduced the eighth generation Civic in 2006. The 2016 Civic stands out.
Inside the 2016 Civic’s interior is much larger and since the seating position has been lowered, it feels more hunkered down than say a Corolla or Sentra. Its extra width also makes the interior feel more spacious than the Mazda3.
Under the hood, the old slow 1.8L four-cylinder is gone and in its place are two new four-cylinder engines: a naturally-aspirated 2.0L with 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft and an impressive turbocharged 1.5L with 174-hp and 162 lb-ft. of torque. You’ll notice that this is the first time that Honda has put a turbo in anything with an “H” on the grille. The 2.0L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT transmission, while the 1.5L is only available with a CVT. Let’s hope that when the Civic Coupe is introduced early next year that the turbocharged engine will be available with a manual.
The 1.5L is a gem, which is scary since it almost didn’t make the cut for the 2016 Civic. The initial plans were to just launch the tenth-generation Civic with the slower 2.0L, but at the last minute Honda decided to bring the 1.5L to market sooner. It was a great decision, since the turbo finally adds some life to the non-Si Civic models. The turbo has a nice broad powerband and with a 0-60 mph time in the low seven second range, it’s a welcome addition to the Civic lineup.
With that said it doesn’t mean that the naturally-aspirated 2.0L should be ignored. With 15 more horsepower and nine more lb-ft. of torque than the outgoing 1.8L engine, it’s a definite improvement. Thankfully Honda decided to offer a six-speed manual with the 2.0L, which is only available in the base LX trim level. If you decide to move up to the EX trim level, you’ll only be able to get the CVT transmission.
Thanks to its lower, wider stance, the new Civic has a more hunkered down feel than the outgoing model. Updates to its suspension and steering also make the new Civic feel a bit sportier and lighter on its feet than the outgoing model.
The ninth-generation Civic was a major low point for the Civic lineup, but luckily Honda realized its mistakes and now with the introduction of the tenth-generation Civic those mistakes can be forgotten. The 2016 Civic returns to the ring with more aggressive styling, a nice turbocharged engine and improved driving dynamics that easily makes this the best Civic yet.