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Night Moves: 2016 Honda Civic Touring

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It’s time to face the facts of life, cars are no longer what they used to be – in the since that they are not just a point A to point B form of transportation. As for the life of a future Honda owner, the all new Civic might just give the Accord a good run for its money.

In the past, Honda’s styling may have lingered towards the conservative side. So then for 2016, it’s almost as if Honda is getting a little adventurous with the pencils – LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, and this gorgeous Burgundy Night pearl paint? All we’ll say is, it’s quite the site to see on our top tier spec’d Touring.

Out of 5 trim levels, the Touring is the highest you can get when selecting your Civic, it also comes with a price tag of $26,500 – if that’s a little high for you; the base LX Civic starts 18,640. The great thing about Honda’s packaging is that it’s an all-in-one combo. There are no extra packages required to get leather seats, navigation or all the latest safety features that you could find in the larger Accord like lane assist, adaptive cruise, and forward collision assist. One price fits all.

Depending on which trim you do opt for, there are two engines – a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 1.5-liter Turbo. The standard 2.0-liter makes due with 158-horsepower – which just so happens to be one of the more powerful engines in the entry level market.  A six-speed manual comes standard on the base LX whereas every other trim gets a CVT transmission. Our sampler here had the more powerful 1.5-liter Turbo – 174-horsepower is what the doctor prescribed, and boy is it a lovely engine.

Now, 174-horsepower isn’t powerful, but any means. However, in a compact car that weighs just less than 3000lbs, it’s a number that works great with the car. Even though it’s connected to a CVT, the Civic is peppy and always ready to play. Highway speeds can be achieved in merely seven and half seconds and while a CVT transmission is not ideal – it works well here – power is always available – torque comes in early and zips right up to speed to pass other motorist. Surprisingly we didn’t even know this was a turbo until we sat down and started our research. The main reason automakers opt for a CVT over a traditional gearbox is mainly fuel economy – it runs a lot more efficient. With the ability to achieve nearly 42 mpg, we can see why the Civic has it.

We have to hand it to Honda for the bones on the Civic – the chassis is very well engineered here feeling tight as a drum. There is some body lean when turning in – and a little more when the turns get aggressive – but we won’t be so quick to judge its body roll, the Si will be a little more cohesive to the more spirted driver. Even from inside things are top notch – the steering has a good on center feel and while it is numb, it has added weight and a thin profile so it feel good in your hands. The brakes feel solid too – there quick to respond and provide an acceptable stopping distance to the unobservant driver. But really it comes down to the ride quality – even on our 17-inch wheels, it’s a ride even PODUS would enjoy.

One of the things that always drove us nuts with the previous gen Civic was their two tier instrument cluster panel – it never made sense to us – so we’re needless to say, glad it’s gone. The design is much more appealing and modern – it has distinctive three-dimensional outlines with good looking accent trim throughout. One thing we’re definitely not sold on is the extremely difficult use touch screen infotainment system. The lack of buttons makes it difficult to navigate & control, we ultimately found it distracting. Luckily, Honda now has Apple CarPlay so everything can be managed from your phone.  

Because the Civic is now bigger than ever, it can be quite accommodating to all passengers – plenty of room for all and because our sampler arrived in Burgundy Night Pearl, there’s only one leather option – two-tone ivory.  Since we did have the Touring, it wasn’t shy with the comfort features, power adjustable front seats, heated seat – both front and rear, and a dual-zone climate control system.

Compacts having the stigma of being basic economy cars are a thing of the past. With the amount of tech and comfort loaded into the new Civic, it might as well be mistaken for an Acura.  

 

5 Comments »

  1. It’s true what you say, the new Hondas are so good they’re potentially going to cannibalize sales from Acura! I wish I’d gotten to see this Civic while you had it but if I remember correctly it was picked up early due to a stereo problem.

  2. Looking forward to seeing the manual hatchback, the Sport trim looks a great deal if you do not want to pay the bucks for a Si or big bucks for the R. The new Civic makes choosing between Civic, Golf and Mazda 3 – nice first world dilemma! PS, think you meant 3000lbs.

    • A manual in this would be a lot of fun for a standard economy car. I still don’t get all the hype on the Mazda3. But the Golf is still a tough one to beat. Plus, with the new Hyundai Elantra, it’s sneaking up behind everyone – the new Sport model on the Elantra that too will have a manual – that will be something to see. And thank you, yes, 3000lbs. Ack!

      • We have a Mazda 3, 2.5l Touring with 60k miles, great handling and gas mileage. The road noise on the OEM Dunlops was not great, but better now on some Michelins that were recommended. It is a lot of fun to drive, but its an automatic, manual would have been better (Mazda do great stick shifts). Had a GTI MkVI, but decided to go RWD, but I wish I had an excuse (and the $ and the space) to own a MKVII GTI Sport.

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