So, back in 2011, Honda redesigned the Civic to try to make it more appealing and more competitive with some of the other compact cars on the market. It was better, but they didn’t go nearly far enough. One thing about Honda, they are not afraid to admit their mistakes. Oh sure, everybody knows Honda makes a great car, but that’s not enough anymore. You have to build a great car that has styling and is not bland.
Turn the calendar to 2016, and the Civic I am driving is the 4th version since 2011. This time they got it almost perfect. My White Orchid Pearl review vehicle is the Touring edition, which I think is going to be the best seller by far. It is sharp looking and will catch the eyes of the old and young alike. Bear in mind as you read this, everything I mention here comes with the Touring package, there is not a single option-everything is standard including the awesome paint job.
Starting with the outside, it is very un-Honda like. I would describe the hood, the side profile, and even the rear view of this new Civic as bold and sporty. This 4-door sedan at a glance looks like a coupe with a swooping roofline. Alloy wheels and a rear spoiler really set the car off. The hood curves down at the front to integrate nicely into the grill and headlights, and also gives you a nice view of the road. This new Civic is lower, wider, and 3” longer that last year.
Moving to the inside, Honda simplified the dash layout from previous years. All materials are soft to the touch, and the leather seats are incredibly comfortable. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has finger controls, and in the middle of the dash is a 7” color display to operate audio, Bluetooth, and the navigation system. You operate the automatic climate control with knobs and buttons, which I love. However, if you want to adjust the audio volume from the touchscreen, it has an annoying finger slide, but the good news is you learn quickly to adjust the volume from the steering wheel controls.
The front and rear passenger legroom and headroom are much better than I would have imagined, but Honda did not sacrifice trunk room to achieve that.
Let’s talk powertrain for a minute; this is a real departure for Honda. Under the hood is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and for the first time in Honda history, they hooked a turbocharger to the engine. The result is a Civic with 174-horses and spectacular fuel economy. For a transmission, Honda is using a CVT (continuously variable transmission) that I am not normally a fan of, but I must say they did this one right. After a very slight turbo lag, acceleration is really good.
I’ll hit the high points of what you get with this car at no charge because the list is impressive. You get leather interior, a 10-speaker sound system with a subwoofer, Bluetooth, Pandora app, voice recognition with texting ability, and the greatest invention ever, Honda LaneWatch. LaneWatch provides a right-hand camera mounted in the exterior mirror. When you turn your right blinker on, the camera engages and gives you a panoramic view of what is to your right, and that is shown on the center screen. No more glancing over your shoulder for lane changes.
But wait! There’s more. You get pushbutton start, power seat, heated front and rear seats, a power moonroof, automatic headlights, LED lights, remote start, electric parking brake, hill start assist, and a capless fuel filler (which I love). There is much more, I am only hitting the high points.
To keep you safe, you get adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with assist, meaning the car corrects itself if you stray out of your lane.
To bottom line the new 2016 Civic Touring, it is an exceptional car that rides well, handles great, looks great, and if you needed another reason to buy it, it is getting 42-miles per gallon on the highway. The new platform on the Civic is terrific, and I will restate what I earlier said: Honda got it right. So did the people who chose the 2016 Civic as the North American Car of the Year.