2016 Honda Civic Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, September 16, 2015
- Completely redesigned for 2016
- Coupe, hatchback, and sedan body styles
- Sporty Si returns, Type-R version offered for first time in United States
- Sedan arrives first in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring trim levels
- Available turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
- Improved driving dynamics and fuel economy
- Honda Sensing suite of safety technology
- Next-generation infotainment system
- Larger inside and out, bigger trunk
- Quieter and more refined interior
Honda says that with the redesigned 2016 Civic it has set out to create the world’s best compact car. The goal was to set new benchmarks for fuel economy, safety, refinement, and enjoyable driving dynamics, and so the automaker started from scratch, remaking the Civic from the tire contact patches up.
The result is the 10th-generation Civic. Honda will sell it in 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and 5-door hatchback body styles, and for the first time in America the performance-tuned Type-R variant will represent a step up from the returning Si version.
First to roll into showrooms is the new 2016 Civic Sedan, which Honda says will be offered in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring trim levels when it goes on sale in the fall of 2015.
Larger than the car it replaces, the new Civic is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing 2015 model. Honda pushed the wheels further toward the corners of the car, reduced the amount of front overhang, sharpened the front styling, added a longer hood, and gave the Civic Sedan a fastback roofline. The result is a sleeker, more tailored appearance, with Acura-style lighting and grille elements combined with unmistakable new C-shaped taillights.
To go along with its more rakish appearance, the new Civic’s driving position is “sportier,” according to Honda, and the windshield pillars are thinner for improved visibility. Interior volume increases by 3.7 cu. ft. and rear-seat legroom expands by a full 2 in.
Honda promises a higher-quality cabin with improved materials. Acoustic windshield glass, triple-sealed doors, a reduction in air leaks, and improved aerodynamics contribute to a quieter interior, and Honda employs LED lighting, piano-black trim, and high-contrast finishes for a premium look and feel.
The Civic Sedan’s trunk is also larger, growing by 2.6 cu. ft. to a total of 15.1 cu. ft., putting the car into midsize sedan territory. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat, which is standard on all but the base LX trim level, further aids utility.
In addition to Honda Sensing and new infotainment technologies, which are discussed below, the 2016 Civic is available with additional features as the buyer moves up the trim level ladder.
Under the Hood
The 2016 Civic LX and EX will have a new, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which Honda says will be the most powerful standard engine in the model’s history. A 6-speed manual gearbox will be standard for the LX, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered as an option. The CVT is standard for the Civic EX.
Choose the Civic EX-T, EX-L, or Touring trim for a turbocharged, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. A different CVT developed specifically for use with this engine is standard for these trim levels.
Honda says it will release complete specifications for both power plants at a time closer to the new Civic’s on-sale date. For now, the company says that each engine will deliver better than 40 mpg on the highway.
In addition to developing more powerful and efficient drivetrains, Honda set out to improve the Civic’s overall driving dynamics. The new platform boasts a 23% increase in torsional rigidity, and uses 12 times more high-strength steel than did the previous Civic, according to the company. Furthermore, while the car is bigger than before, it is also 68 lbs. lighter.
New variable-ratio electric steering is used in the 2016 Civic, and Honda bolts in a reworked MacPherson strut front suspension and a new multi-link rear suspension complete with larger front and rear stabilizer bars. Four-wheel-disc brakes are standard in all versions, and Honda introduces Agile Handling Assist brake torque-vectoring technology in the redesigned Civic.
Honda clearly has no intention of relinquishing the Civic’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Though requirements for this top honor are tightening for the 2016 calendar year, Honda’s new Civic has stronger vehicle architecture and is available with a forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking system. That bodes well for earning the top rating once the IIHS completes testing.
Those two new technologies are a part of the Honda Sensing suite of safety systems that will be optional or standard equipment, depending on the trim level. Additionally, Honda Sensing includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed following capability, and a lane-departure warning and lane-departure prevention system.
Honda also debuts a new infotainment system for the 2016 Civic. The next-generation technology features a 7-in. touch-screen display incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems.
Essentially, when a compatible device is connected to the infotainment system via the USB port, the dashboard screen becomes a display for the smartphone, showing supported applications with the intention of making it easier and more intuitive to access and use various features. Siri Eyes Free compatibility is also built into the system.
With the 2016 Civic, Honda introduces Walk Away automatic door locking, which does exactly what the description says it will.