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2016 Honda Civic First Look Review

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2015-09-17 Alex Nishimoto, Manufacturer, Robin Trajano
2016 Honda Civic 2016 Honda Civic First Look Review

When the Honda Civic arrived in the U.S. market 43 years ago, it helped change Americans' perception of Japanese cars. Now about to enter its 10th generation, the Civic no longer has anything to prove, but it's still gunning to be the best in the compact class.

Honda took the wraps off the 2016 Civic sedan at three simultaneous events around the country. The car is just one variant of the 10th-gen Civic lineup, which will also include a coupe, a five-door hatchback, high-performance Si models, and the U.S. market's first-ever Civic Type R. Honda says the 2016 Civic's design is "new from the ground up. Take one look at the sheetmetal, and that statement's not hard to believe.

2016 Honda Civic © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic

The Civic sedan is built on a new platform and has a wheelbase that's 1.2 inches longer than that of the outgoing Civic. The new model is also nearly 2 inches wider and 1 inch lower than the current four-door Civic. From a design standpoint, the 2016 Honda Civic sedan represents a bold departure from the old model's safe, forgettable styling. The front end receives an Acura-like chrome grille that spans across the headlights, which are slender and sport LED accents. The hood and front fenders are more sculpted, but the biggest changes happen in back. The Civic sedan now features a more coupelike roofline that flows into a pair of C-shaped LED taillights similar to those we saw on the Civic coupe concept. The new model also brings available LED headlights, a first for the Civic.

2016 Honda Civic LX © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic LX

Another first for the Civic lineup—or any U.S. Honda, for that matter—is the addition of a turbocharged engine option. As we heard previously, higher-trim Civic sedans (EX-T and EX-L) will receive a turbocharged, direct-injected, 1.5-liter I-4. Honda hasn't released numbers for the U.S. market but promises the engine will be the most powerful non-Si Civic engine ever offered. A prototype for the turbo 1.5-liter made 206 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. But Honda isn't ignoring the base models. Those models will receive a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter i-VTEC I-4, which Honda says is the most powerful ever offered in a base Civic. That engine will be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission (offered only in LX trim) or a CVT. A uniquely tuned CVT is only offered with the turbo, 1.5-liter I-4. Honda says powertrain details and official EPA numbers will be announced closer to the Civic sedan's launch, but expects both cars to see highway fuel economy ratings "in excess of 40 mpg."

2016 Honda Civic LX © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic LX

The 10th-gen Civic's new platform uses more ultra-high-strength steel, which results in 25 percent better torsional rigidity. Honda says 12 percent of the unibody is composed of the material; the current model had just 1 percent. Although it's larger than the outgoing Civic, the new sedan sheds 68 pounds off the weight of its unibody. And thanks to new body-sealing techniques, the 2016 Civic is also quieter. Driving the new Civic should feel at least a little bit sportier, too, as the seating position has been dropped 1 inch from the current car. The 2016 Civic uses a redesigned front strut suspension and multilink rear setup mounted to an "ultra-rigid" rear subframe. Hydraulic compliance bushings are used to isolated road vibration and improve ride quality. Front and rear stabilizer bars have also been beefed up, and disc brakes have been made standard at all four corners. A new agile handling assist brake-torque-vectoring system is available for enhanced cornering ability.

2016 Honda Civic Touring © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic Touring

The new platform has also granted the Civic more interior space—an additional 3.7 cubic feet, to be exact. That includes 2 inches of extra rear seat legroom. Meanwhile, trunk space grows by 2.6 cubic feet, and trunk liftover height decreases. The Civic finally ditches the polarizing two-tiered dash design, instead going for a more traditional gauge cluster. Honda says it used more high-quality materials inside the Civic's cabin to give it a more premium look. The soft-touch dashboard features molded stitching, and the door panels get actual stitching. Between the front seats is a center console with a piano black-finished gear selector surround and silver bezel. Above that sits a 7-inch high-def Display Audio touchscreen, which juts out slightly from the center stack. EX trim levels and above receive a new full-color TFT display in the gauge cluster and also get a leather shift boot and 60/40 split folding rear seats. In addition, the top trims get an eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power passenger's seat, and heated front and rear seats. Automatic climate control is now standard, with dual-zone climate control offered on EX-L and higher trims. Also standard are auto-up/down front windows, an electronic parking brake, walk-away auto door locks, and adjustable driver's seat thigh support. The 2016 Honda Civic sedan will be available with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smart phone integration schemes. Honda's suite of advanced safety features will be available for the 2016 Civic, including collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.

2016 Honda Civic Touring © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic Touring

We still have yet to see the other variants of the 2016 Honda Civic, but so far the 10th generation of Honda's bread-and-butter compact looks promising. With a Type R and sportier-looking coupe on the way, we can only imagine how much better the Civic lineup can get.

2016 Honda Civic © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Honda Civic
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