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Honda Civic: All-New Sporty, Sophisticated Sedan

By Arv Voss, August 13th, 2016

The Civic is the longest-running nameplate in Honda's history, with 43 years under its belt after its U.S. introduction in 1973. Approximately 75 percent of the Civics sold in America since 1991 are still on the road today, and nearly 7 million have been produced at Honda's North American plants.

Manufacturer photo: Honda designers and engineers deliver a sportier and more premium-quality Civic
Manufacturer photo: Honda designers and engineers deliver a sportier and more premium-quality Civic

Over its many decades, the Civic has consistently focused on setting the bar for fuel efficiency, driving performance, and design innovation in an affordable compact-class vehicle.

That first Civic was nothing to shout about in terms of its design and features, but with the introduction of the 2016 Civic sedan, the styling has adopted a dramatic and emotionally stirring persona, representing one of the most comprehensive and ambitious new-model developments ever undertaken by Honda.

This 10th-generation 2016 Civic sedan is built on an all-new architecture displaying a sporty and upscale new interior and exterior design with two new advanced engines, an impressive inventory of new premium features and technologies, and a higher quality, more spacious cabin.

The new model features a longer wheelbase and overall length, and is wider and lower than the outgoing 2015 Civic. For the 2016 model year, the Civic is available in five trim levels: base LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring.

Manufacturer photo: Honda designers and engineers deliver a sportier and more premium-quality Civic

Power is provided by one of two engines: First is an all-new 2.0-liter, 16-valve i-VTEC, four-cylinder engine that replaces the Civic's previous 1.8-liter powerplant. This engine delivers 158 horsepower at 6,500 rpm along with 138 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm.

Next is a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, direct injected turbocharged powerplant that cranks out 174 horses at 5,500 rpm, while developing 162 lb.-ft. of torque in a range between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm. The 1.5-liter engine features Honda's Earth Dreams technology.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual gearbox, or one of two Continuously Variable Transmissions. One is a refined version of the CVT offered in the previous-generation Civic, while the other is an evolution of the CVT offered in Honda Accord four-cylinder models.

The new Honda Civic presents a bolder, more athletic, and aggressive look than ever before, with an aerodynamic form and flowing lines. Up front is a new signature chromed "wing" fascia with available LED lighting. The profile displays a streamlined form that rises dramatically from front to rear. Aft, the LED "light pipe" taillights reflect the wing design motif of the headlamps, and a rear lip spoiler finishes off with a sporty flair for EX-T and above trims.

I was able to experience both the entry-level LX model with the 2.0-liter engine and a Touring model with the 1.5-liter turbo; both had CVT transmissions. Exterior finishes were respectively Aegean Blue metallic and Rallye Red, both with black interiors -- the first cloth and the second leather. The LX had a base price of $20,440; the Touring base sticker was set at $25,500. As-tested prices were $21,275 (LX) and $27,335 (Touring).

Manufacturer photo: Honda designers and engineers deliver a sportier and more premium-quality Civic

This 2016 Honda Civic is a breath of fresh air and is arguably the best Civic yet, with its boldly appealing styling, sporty performance, and advanced technologies. The list of standard features and equipment is most impressive with a host of enhancements available for individual personalization.

For the most pleasing and sportiest performance, the 1.5-liter-turbo-powered Touring model Civic is obviously the way to go, but the 2.0-liter-powered four-Banger is certainly no slouch.

The ride quality is firm, stable, and planted, yet comfortable for both models. The handling characteristics are sporty and invite spirited driving. Bottom line, the 2016 Honda Civic sedan is more than simply ideal transportation now: it's a most attractive, fun-to-drive, and affordable sedan that definitely raises the bar considerably higher than ever before.

Specifications

Base price $20,440 (as tested: $21,275)
Curb weight 2,751 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve 4-cylinder w/MPFI
Epa mileage rating 31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 12.3 gal.
Horsepower (net) 158 at 6500 rpm
Overall length 182.3 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 138 at 4200 rpm
Transmission CVT
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD compact sedan
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