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2016 Honda Civic Is a Newly Competitive Compact

17 Septembre 2015 - Autoblog

2016 Honda Civic

It's fair to call the last-generation Honda Civic, built from 2012 to 2015 (with a quick refresher in the middle), a disappointment.

It came out using an old compact car formula – going cheap and lightly equipped – at almost the exact moment its competitors embraced high technology and refined, expressive designs. We spent some time today with the vehicle meant to correct this mistake, the all-new, tenth-generation Civic.

Easily the most discussed thing about the new Civic is its handsome new sheet metal, which we actually showed you last week. The expressive profile, with strong arches over the front wheels and a handsome, almost fastback-like roofline is a major departure from the duller, three-box look of the current Civic. The front fascia's highlight is the prominent chrome grille, backed by the optional LED headlights. In back, that tiny decklid is outshined – no pun intended – by a set of LED headlights that should present a very impressive look at night. The overall balance of the design is impressive.

The ninth-generation Civic was widely panned for its crummy interior quality. Designed at a time of global financial crisis, Honda opted for more affordable materials that lacked the soft-touch goodness of many competitors. The new Civic addresses this shortcoming, fitting not only more impressive plastics, but the technology to back them up.

From the EX trim on up, the instrument cluster's focal point is a large TFT display, flanked by a pair of traditional gauges. Yep, that's right. Honda is getting rid of the Civic's multi-tiered dash, and we couldn't be happier. On the center console, there's a seven-inch touchscreen display that uses the same Android-based operating system as the new Pilot. And speaking of Android, the Civic will play nice with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

As for the actual driving experience, we can't tell you much about it for another couple weeks, but we can talk briefly about the seats. The hip point has been dropped by a full inch in front, and has the effect of creating a sport-driving-ready seating position. Those seats are comfortable, too, although we'll need more than the few minutes we got with the new Civic to make a informed judgment. We don't, however, need any extra time to talk about the backseats. That plunging roofline is not conducive to rear headroom, a fact that overshadows the extra two inches of rear legroom.

You're probably wondering when we'll talk about the powertrains. Sadly, Honda didn't give us much information on the new Civic's two engines. There's a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated, VTEC four-cylinder as well as the first turbocharged Honda mill to come to the US, a 1.5-liter four. There will also be a pair of continuously variable transmissions. That, though, is just the stuff made in North America. We expect Honda to flesh out the powertrain lineup – including, we hope, a manual gearbox – at the big drive program, slated for later this month.

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