Honda Civic

2016 Honda Civic

The all-new 2016 Honda Civic represents a comeback, having been driven into the ditch of dullness previously, with cheap interiors, boring design, and sappy performance. The new Civic is larger, nicer, more sophisticated. The Touring model feels like a premium car disguised as an economy car.

This new, 10th-generation 2016 Civic is nearly three inches longer on a one-inch longer wheelbase, with a front track and overall width thats two inches wider. Pushing the limits of the compact class, the new Civic is nearly the same size as the midsize Chrysler 200.

Inside and out, sitting and underway, it feels like a cut above a compact sedan, more like a small midsize. It is arguably the new class leader.

The 2016 Civic presents a new chassis and body, new engines, and big safety technology. For 2016, Civic only comes as a sedan. However, a coupe is on the way, and a hatchback, two Si editions, and a Type-R are not far behind.

The new Civic sedan drives very nicely, with a smooth ride and a general feeling of refinement. It isnt sporty, but it handles well and the brakes are smooth, easy to modulate and effective. It all adds up to a smooth, calm driving experience.

The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower, about the same as a Mazda3, doesnt offer any thrills during acceleration. It comes with either a 6-speed manual transmission on LX models, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is not new, and doesnt have paddle shifters.

The manual is EPA-rated at 31 mpg Combined, while the CVT rates 35 mpg. Youll get the same mileage and have more fun with the quicker and more responsive 1.5-liter turbocharged engine making 174 horsepower. It has a better CVT, as well.


2014 Honda Civic

Always one of the top sellers in the compact car segment, the Honda Civic gets a few changes for 2014, including a redesigned coupe and a new transmission.

The Honda Civic began its ninth generation with the 2012 model, which was poorly received by some in the automotive media. In a somewhat unusual move for a carmaker, Honda scrambled to tweak the sedan just a year later, followed by a refreshed coupe for 2014.

From a styling standpoint, 2014 Honda Civic sedans carry over unchanged, while coupes get refreshed exterior styling, including a sleeker silhouette, revised front and rear ends and more angular, aggressive lines.

Both body styles offer a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which replaces the outgoing 5-speed automatic transmissions. Instead of using traditional fixed gears, a CVT can automatically select from an infinite number of gear ratios to optimize fuel economy, and ideally, performance. While this translates to better gas mileage, the feel of a CVT can be elastic, though Honda's new transmission doesn't feel as anemic as some.

Also new for 2014 is a revised infotainment display. The 7-inch touchscreen, on EX models and above, can pair with Apple and Android-powered phones, allowing connectivity to apps like Pandora. While the touch screen is large and easy to read, we found it less than intuitive, especially when reaching for the volume buttons or setting radio presets.

Traditional gasoline-powered Honda Civics already achieve excellent fuel economy, though for even more efficiency, the Civic is also available in hybrid and natural gas versions.

Gasoline-only versions of the 2014 Honda Civic sedan and coupe are powered by a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine. In most cases, we found the i-VTEC 143-horsepower engine with its 129 pound-feet of torque to be adequate. Acceleration performance is average but feels stronger because the engine is smooth and cabin quiet. There's an Econ mode that remaps the engine and transmission for fuel mileage over power. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Civic sedan and coupe range from 28/36 mpg City/Highway with the manual transmission to 30/39 mpg City/Highway with the CVT, depending on trim level.

A Civic sedan HF uses additional aerodynamics and special wheels, along with low-rolling-resistance tires, to achieve 31/41 mpg City/Highway.

The Honda Civic Hybrid pairs a 1.5-liter SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine rated at 110 hp and 127 lb.-ft. of torque with a 23-hp electric motor. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 44/47 mpg City/Highway.

A refreshed Civic Natural Gas model uses a 1.8-liter inline 4 good for 110 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque. As its name suggests, it runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). It achieves a 27/38 mpg City/Highway gasoline equivalent rating.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's the sporty Civic Si, available in sedan or coupe form, with its high-revving 2.4-liter twin-cam four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 201 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. We've had it on the track and its performance is marvelous.

The compact car segment is one of the largest in the market, and as such, competitors to the 2014 Honda Civic are many. They include the Chevrolet Cruze (or even the smaller Chevrolet Sonic), The Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and Mazda3.


2013 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic began its ninth generation with the 2012 model, which was disappointing on account of cost-cutting. The 2013 Civic sedan is changed a bit, becoming what the 2012 should have been, with a pretty exterior, snazzy interior, satisfying suspension, and a cabin full of tricks from Bluetooth to Pandora.

The nose, hood, black honeycomb grille and angled headlamps are pleasing to the eye, with a humped hood and raked windshield that draw attention. The side sills are sculpted smartly, and with body-colored mirrors and door handles, the Civic looks classy, especially with the optional alloy wheels. The rear fenders flow nicely into a horizontal V over each side of the rear bumper.

In the cabin there's a ton of standard content, such as Bluetooth phone and Bluetooth audio, Pandora internet radio interface and MP3, USB, iPod and SMS text message capability. There's a nice color multi-information display (i-MID) with rearview camera.

The fabric upholstery is excellent, with seats that are well shaped, nicely bolstered and widely adjustable. The standard 60/40 split-folding rear seatback expands cargo capacity. We put a six-footer in the rear seat, and he didn't complain about legroom or headroom.

Interior refinements include a new headliner and soft-touch materials on the instrument panel, center console, and door panels. Silver accents here and there, along with faux stitching on the dashboard and door panels, add a touch of upscale. Black carpeting is standard. The colorful instrument backlighting is soothing.

Significantly, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) has been improved over the 2012. More sound deadening material has been added to the firewall, wheel wells, flooring and trunk, while the windshield and front windows are thicker, all in the successful pursuit of silence. On the inside, the Civic neither feels nor sounds like a mere $20,000 car.

We found the i-VTEC 140-horsepower engine with its 128 foot-pounds of torque to be adequate. Acceleration performance is average but feels stronger because the engine is smooth and cabin quiet. The 5-speed automatic transmission is programmed to be invisible, while the ride is solid and comfortable. There's an Econ mode that remaps the engine and transmission for fuel mileage over power. We easily ran 75 mph in Econ and impressively got 32.1 miles per gallon.

The suspension has been reworked for 2013 with thicker anti-roll bars front and rear, quicker steering, and firmer bushings. The front subframe body structure is stiffer.The overall level of dynamic competence is hard to fault, predictable with no false moves.

If you want sporty, there's the Civic Si, with its high-revving 2.4-liter twin-cam four-cylinder making 201 horsepower and 170 foot-pounds of torque. We've had it on the track and its performance is marvelous.

There are also three high-mileage versions of the Civic. The Civic HF uses a specially tuned version of the same 1.8-liter engine to achieve an EPA-rated 29/41 mpg City/Highway, compared to 28/39 mpg for the Civic LX and EX. The Civic GX runs on natural gas, with its 1.8-liter SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder rated at 110 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque. It gets 27/38 mpg on the cheaper fuel. The Civic Hybrid pairs a 1.5-liter SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine rated at 110 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque with a 23-hp electric motor assist. Fuel economy is rated at 44/44 mpg. The bare bones and most affordable model, DX, has been discontinued: Dee-Xed.

New safety technologies built into the 2013 Civic include the application of the next-gen Advanced Compatibility Engineering II (ACE II) body structure, which includes additional front end structures designed to help increase occupant protection by dispersing crash energy in narrow overlap frontal crashes. Also new are SmartVent side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor and the availability of Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems, which make their compact-class debut in the 2013 Civic Hybrid.


 

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