LIVE: 2016 Honda Civic Sedan
Honda unveiled the 2016 Civic Sedan today at YouTube’s massive studio in Los Angeles, the live launch broadcast live across the video sharing network. Now in its tenth generation, the swoopy new sedan — equipped with turbo, heated rear leather seats, and larger than a late-90s Accord — is almost unrecognizable from the peppy hatchback that set the model in motion in the 1970s.
Even compared to the outgoing model, the Civic is two inches wider and has a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase. Miraculously, however, the 2016 model is one inch lower overall, thanks to a lower floor and sleeker styling. Cab-forward styling is gone.
For the first time ever, the Civic will have the option of a turbocharged inline-four. Entry-level LX and EX trims will be powered by a 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder that generates 158 horsepower, a bump of 15 over the current Civic.
Meanwhile, EX-T, EX-L trims and Touring trim levels will have a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, direct-injection DOHC inline-4 turbo under the hood. The forced induction motor — introduced in Japan earlier this year — will churn out 31 more horses than the outgoing 1.8 for a total of 174, the most powerful engine offered on a Civic not counting the Si performance models.
Two choices of transmission will be offered, a 6-speed manual or CVT. Sadly, it appears that the turbocharged motor will only be available with the CVT. As a result, Honda estimates a highway fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon, but more details will be revealed closer to the on-sale date.
Underneath it all
Despite the larger size, the new Civic actually weighs 68 pounds less than the outgoing model. In addition, Honda says torsional rigidity has been increased by 25 percent thanks to a body that’s 12 percent ultra-high-strength steel (compared to just one percent on the current iteration). Honda also claims a 58 percent reduction in cabin air leaks due to new body-sealing techniques, a metric we didn’t know anyone was measuring.
The unibody sits on a redesigned front suspension and a new multi-link rear, with thicker sway bars front and back. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, as is variable gear ratio steering and a new brake-torque vectoring system.
My Cabin, Oh My Cabin
Inside, the Civic gains 3.7 cubic feet of interior space. The half is absolutely cavernous, with two new inches of legroom. Despite its fastback looks, trunk space actually grows by 2.6 cubic feet and features a lower lift-over height and a larger opening. A 60/40 split and folding rear seat is available on EX and higher trims.
Sliding into the driver’s seat, the driver experiences a dashboard with soft-touch surfaces and a color TFT multi-function screen. Honda is one of the first automakers to adopt Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone syncing technologies so your apps display right on that screen. An 8-way driver’s seat and 4-way power passenger’s seat, both power adjustable, are available as well. Not only are the front seats heated, so are the rears, and the side mirrors too.
LED lights abound, including the interior illumination and both head and taillights on upper trim levels.
The list of standard mod cons is pretty impressive and includes an electronic parking brake with hill holding assist, power locks that activate as you walk away, and automatic climate control (dual zone in higher trims).
The Honda Sensing suite of safety equipment, including collision and lane departure mitigation braking, as well as adaptive cruise control with tractor beam following functions at low speed, are also available as options.
An American Classic
The Civic model is no longer sold in Japan, so all Civics sold in the US will be built at Honda’s plants in Greensburg, Indiana and Ontario, Canada. Its engines will come from factories in Anna, Ohio while the CVTs will be be manufactured Ohio, and Mexico.
With over 35 million Civics sold in North America, can’t afford to mess up the continent’s best-selling compact for the past eight years. Fortunately, the model seems like a significant step forward from the current model. Expect an on-sale date this fall, the coupe to follow in about a year, and the hotted up Type R to arrive a year after that.