Honda’s redesigned 2016 Civic is a class leader in all aspects

Even the back end of the 2016 Civic strikes a sexy pose

Honda’s 2016 Civic is the most striking, stylish and sexy looking sedan in its history. Chiseled, angular, aggressive lines form a breath of fresh air for this top selling (and most stolen) front drive sedan.

This 10th generation Civic is built on an all new and lighter but stiffer chassis for better handling than any Civic of old. It’s also better riding since it is 0.8 inches lower, 1.8 wider and 3 inches longer.

Offered in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L and top-line Touring that was tested, there’s also a coupe version, a 5-door hatchback, sporty Civic Si and high-performance Type R forthcoming.

The new Civic has two new engine choices. The base engine is a 2.0L, 158-hp (138 lb/ft of torque) inline four cylinder, and a 1.5L, 174-hp (162 lb/ft of torque) inline four with single scroll turbocharger that boasts a hot compression ratio of 10.6:1.

The latter provides best in class performance and fuel economy and has been independently tested at 6.7 seconds for 0-60 mph. Its EPA fuel economy estimates are in the hybrid area of 31 city, 42-highway mpg with a CVT transmission. As such, there’s no want for power which is applied linearly (thanks to the CVT) after a slight touch of turbo lag. A traditional transmission would improve performance, but not fuel economy.

Honda also did a great job on the interior. A blend of quality plastics, leather and snappy design says it all. A 7-inch touchscreen serves GPS nav, rearview camera, audio, apps including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, HondaLink and optional LaneWatch that shows a view of the passenger side rear view when activating the right turn signal. This in itself is a great safety aid when merging back into a lane or making a right turn when another car sneaks into your blind spot with the same intent.

The display takes on the appearance of an iPad with similar operation. For audio volume there’s a touch slider control on the screen and one on the steering wheel that can be operated with the left thumb. But finding a radio station requires constant tapping. The console now has three push button settings for the seat heaters of low, medium and high, whereas earlier models only had low and high. An Econ button improves fuel economy by adjusting the performance of the engine, CVT, climate control and cruise control. With that there’s an Ambient Meter on the gauge cluster that changes color based on your driving style. Green is most efficient, light green represents moderate acceleration/deceleration and white means you’re driving aggressively.

Aside from a myriad of airbags, the test car came with forward braking system (that is overly sensitive) and lane departure warning. There was also a Brake Hold that maintains rear brake hold when starting off on hills. It holds the car after letting off the brake pedal and releases when pressing the accelerator. And under the console, there’s a flat tray to stow a purse or other small items. A good use of dead space.

Front seats are comfy and supportive and the back seat is rated for three but mainly youngster size. Ingress/egress is made easy with wide opening rear doors.

Back in the 14.7 cubic foot trunk, two large roll-a-long luggage’s can be stowed. When pulling two handles in the trunk, the rear seatbacks flip down to accommodate two golf bags or lengthy items.

Overall, the new Civic rides quietly, smoothly and with staunch stability om 17-inch Firestone tires. It’s agile and parks easily. On the highway it feels like a much larger sedan as the steering tightens yet softens for city maneuvers.

Price wise, the test car started at $26,500 with a long list of standard features. The only added cost was $835 for delivery that brought the bottom line to $27,335. So equipped, the new Civic has the best driving dynamics in its segment. It’s also the best Civic ever.

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