2016 Honda Civic 1.5T 4D Touring SedanPosted on May 24th, 2016
Compact sedan reinvented from the ground up
By Nina Russin
A lot has changed since the Honda Civics of the mid-1970s: the sedan is bigger and more luxurious that the small hatchback that rolled across America with its sturdy CVCC engine. Core values-reliability, comfort and safety- remain the same. At the same time, the Civic is very much a driver’s car, with precise handling reflective of Honda’s open-wheel racing experience.
In terms of size, the newest Civic is similar to former Accord models, with plenty of room for a small family. Engineers added 3.2-cubic feet of passenger space compared to the outgoing model, giving the sedan the biggest interior of anything in the compact class.
On the outside the sedan is almost three-inches longer, two-inches wider and an inch taller. Not only does the second-row offer more legroom, but better access and egress for parents buckling small kids into child seats and boosters.
Under the hood, Honda debuts its first-ever turbocharged engine for the Civic: a 1.5-liter block delivering 174-horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, available from 1700 rpm. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard on all but the base model.
A new suspension design features a multi-link setup in back with large stabilizer bars on both axles.
Base price for the upscale Touring model tested is $26,500 excluding the $835 destination charge. The sedan comes fully-loaded with convenience features including keyless entry, push buttons start, HD and satellite radio, leather upholstery, SMS text messaging, dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated power front seats, Bluetooth interface, 10-speaker premium audio system and a seven-inch electronic touchscreen.
A standard active safety package adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and forward collision warning.
Final MSRP is $27,335
Test drive in Southern Arizona
Over the past week I drove the 2016 Civic sedan around the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area as well as sections of the Gila River Indian Community that skirt the San Tan Mountains southeast of town. The Civic delivered on every aspect of its manufacturer’s promise: a solid, quiet sedan with gratifying performance and a high level of standard safety features.
The turbocharged engine and continuously variable automatic transmission are perfectly matched. The engine produces enough power on the low end to prevent the dreaded rubber band effect that is the bane of many CVTs. With peak torque available from 1700 rpm, the Civic sails to the front of highway entrance ramps and passes slower vehicles on the freeway with ease.
The electric power steering system is well tuned, offering plenty of assist on the low end and a pleasantly heavy feel at speed. Standard seventeen-inch alloy rims provide an ample footprint for high-speed performance. The new suspension design does a good job of isolating occupants from bumps in the road without feeling mushy. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the sedan in firm, linear fashion.
Visibility around the perimeter is good, with a standard rearview camera making it easier to see cross traffic in busy parking lots. I had no problems monitoring several lanes of traffic on the highway.
At night, LED headlamps project long, bright beams of light with minimal drain on the car’s electrical system.
Engineers did an excellent job minimizing road, wind and engine noise intrusion to the interior so passengers in both rows can converse or enjoy the audio system.
Fuel economy for the test drive was 33 miles-per-gallon: slightly below the EPA estimate. Extra weight from the test car’s larger wheels and power moonroof are likely reasons why.
Its large interior gives the newest Honda Civic versatility competitors can’t match, making it a good choice for couples or small families. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with plenty of lower lumbar support on drives lasting over an hour.
Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in bright sunlight or after dark. An information display in the gauge cluster gives the driver instant fuel economy, range, ambient temperature and maintenance reminders.
Although audio controls are intuitive to operate, the volume control on the touchscreen is dicey. A traditional knob would be easier to use.
Second-row seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for longer items.
The Honda Civic comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, rearview camera and tire pressure monitoring. The factory warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance for three years or 36,000 miles.
Honda builds the Civic at its Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant.
Like: A stylish, well-built sedan with an efficient turbocharged engine, spacious interior and high level of standard safety features.
Dislike: Slider volume control on center stack screen is difficult to use.
Model: Civic 1.5T 4D Touring Sedan
Base price: $26,500
As tested: $27,335
Horsepower: 174 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 162 lbs.-ft. @ 1700 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 31/42 mpg city/highway