When the Honda Civic was redesigned for the 2011-MY, the new car hit with such a resounding thud that it had to be overhauled for 2012. A recurrence is not likely with the 10th-generation Civic, which launched early this year as a 2016 model and is poised to bolster Honda’s legacy in the compact segment.
The new Civic is bigger, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient than the outgoing model. It also boasts a combination of performance, technology, styling, and rear-seat and trunk room that is unrivaled by such competitors as the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra. And with a starting MSRP of $18,640, it is also a bit pricier than its rivals — all of which start at around $17,000.
The 2016 Civic sedan is 2 inches wider and 3 inches longer than the 2015, adding a few cubic inches to the already roomy backseat and trunk and potentially drawing in some eco-conscious Accord buyers.
The exterior styling is approximately as overwrought as that of the outgoing model, but the cabin is an exercise in restraint. High-quality materials and a classy, upscale design are prominent. The split-level dash and prominent digital speedometer are gone, the 5- or 7-inch touchscreen display looks a lot like a built-in iPad, and a cavernous storage space has appeared under the center console.
The sedan is available in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring trims. The LX and EX get a 2.0-liter inline four that delivers a serious upgrade over the outgoing 1.8, along with 158 horsepower (hp) and 138 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. The LX gets the only six-speed stick in the lineup, but fleet buyers can opt for the same continuously variable automatic that comes standard in the EX and above.
The better choice might be to opt for the EX-T, EX-L, or Touring edition to get the Civic’s first turbo, a 1.5-liter four-banger good for 174 hp and 162 lb.-ft. and, remarkably, superior fuel economy. Upper trims also add the bigger touchscreen and full smartphone integration, dual-zone climate control, leather, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and more.
The 2016 Honda Civic sedan is in showrooms now and will soon be joined by a new coupe, a new five-door hatch, and new editions of the sporty Si and Type R variants. The Civic Hybrid and Civic Natural Gas have been discontinued.