2016 Honda Civic review with video
Base price: $15,990 + taxes
As tested: $26,900 + taxes
Highway fuel economy: 5.5-5.8 litres/100 kms (depending on engine)
City fuel economy: 7.6-7.8 litres/100 kms (depending on engine)
Competition: Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla
Well, the tenth generation Civic is here and it has arrived with a splash – garnering the coveted 2016 North American Car of the Year award. And this completely reimagined Civic is blowing the doors off what was starting to look like a pretty sleepy, plastic-festooned grandma car. Don’t get me wrong, the Civic has been the best selling car in Canada for eighteen years now but it hasn’t been particularly exciting for a while now.
This new version of the Civic is a little wider, a little longer, has two new engines on offer and has a lot more standard features right out of the gate. The Ontario built Civic (Indiana for Americans) now comes standard with power windows, bluetooth connectivity, a back-up camera, and LED running and tail lights. And it’s wrapped up in a pretty sleek looking package that, if you covered-up the Honda name badge, looks like a much higher end Acura, Lexus or Subaru. A number of different trim levels along the way start to add a fairly slick infotainment system that (for the first time ever in a compact car) can mirror your smart phone’s screen. You can also get some impressive safety features, and another first for the Civic… a turbo engine. The two top level trims include the new 1.5-litre 4 cylinder that, according to Honda, should actually be more fuel efficient than its naturally aspirated 4-cylinder sibling included in the lower trims. But I struggled to match Honda’s proposed 5.5-7.6 litres per 100 kilometres claim. Yes, I gave it the beans from time to time to test out the performance but I wasn’t driving the car THAT hard and averaged 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres over a week of driving on both highway and city roads.
But the turbo is a lot of fun to drive and the continuously variable transmission that is coupled with this engine is also much more responsive than some of the other CVTs out there right now. Acceleration off the line is a little weak but after that, this is an eager little car that is really fun zip around in. The suspension is also very nicely tuned. And the result is a much sportier car than I would’ve expected for lower end family sedan.
Speaking of families, the slightly larger size of the new Civic means its back seat is fairly spacious. You may find it tight for adults or teenagers but car seats and booster seats fit very well. And its trunk space is surprisingly good as well for a car of this size. In fact, I had to do a lumber run at one point down to the local hardware store and with the second row of seats folded down, I was able to fit ten foot long lumber through the trunk and between the front to seats and close the trunk. I did not see that one coming! Then you couple the space with a Top Safety Pick + rating for the IIHS and it’s certainly worth a look for families.
Now, let’s talk about the top of the line Touring package that was included in our test vehicle. I have been complaining that Honda and Toyota haven’t been keeping up with Hyundai, Kia and Mazda with their interior finishes lately. And the old Civic was the perfect boring, plasticy example of this. But wow, this $27,000 touring trim may be the finest bang for your buck I’ve ever seen. The interior is sleek, the leather seats are supportive and comfortable, the safety features (adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist technology, automatic collision mitigation braking systems, a special camera mounted in the right mirror that will display your blind spot on the infotainment system whenever you turn on your right turn signal), etc, etc, etc… what you get for your money is truly amazing.
That said, there are a few small things I’d like to see changed. First up, an improvement in real-world fuel economy for the turbo engine. However, that turbo is so fun and smooth to drive, I’d also like to see paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel so you could have a bit more fun with it. In terms of interior comfort, there is no adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat and the steering wheel mounted buttons look and feel a bit cheap. But these are pretty picky issues for what is a remarkably good car and a seriously huge upgrade for Canada’s best seller.
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 4/5
Family Wheels performance score score: 4/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4/5
Family Wheels value score: 5/5
Family Wheels overall score: 27.5/35