CHARMING DELIGHT: 2022 HONDA CIVIC
To be ever so blunt, we’re finding it difficult to start this story when we feel like we’ve just driven one of the best compact cars in its class? Perhaps we’re already coming on too strong, hyping up the all-new 2022 Honda Civic in this first paragraph, but when we walk away from a media vehicle liking it so much that we’re half tempted to walk onto a dealership floor to buy one; yup, it’s that good.
It may seem like it hasn’t been that long since the last generation Honda Civic was just revealed, but that was already back in 2015, and as history has shown, about every six-years a new Civic emerges. And this one, may just be the best Civic that was ever made. Going in the opposite direction of the previous generation and more in direction of the Honda Accord, this new Civic is quite the handsome devil. The design carries a level of simplicity that even an Architect can admire. There is styling in the littlest of elements like the encompassed deck lid spoiler that looks like the trunk is piercing its lips. Even in the front bumper, you cannot find where the radar cruise and emergency crash detection system is located. And it doesn’t matter what trim level you opt for, all models come equipped with semi-stylish LED headlights, daytime running lights and LED taillights. Our top trimmed Touring however was elevated with LED fog lights and larger 18-inch wheels.
Carrying into the interior there is a vast array of minimalism with a sleek dash design and a single strip honeycomb air vent. Every touchable surface carries an attractive element like the glossy black trim and faux aluminum accents. Apart from our Touring model promoting snazzy tech that we’d find in higher price vehicles, the Civic’s interior is quite the comfortable place to be. The front seats are soft, yet supportive. The Touring trim featured power adjustable drive AND passenger seats. There is ample rear passenger space, so much so it almost thinks it’s a mid-size sedan.
Nearly crossing the $30,000 threshold, the Civic Touring is entering a new territorial realm – it can’t just be a basic Honda Civic anymore. Utilizing catchy gadgets like the digital cockpit steps up its technology game – the system is fluid and semi-customizable. The Touring also features a larger 9-inch touch screen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mitigation. All other models require the use of a cord to be plugged in. Considering that the whole wireless game is new to Honda, we will forgive the glitches and frozen screens as that can be resolved later on with a simple software update.
Into the nitty-gritty however, all Civic’s, apart from the Touring, receive a 2.0-liter, non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 158-horsepower that will get anyone from Point A to Point B without frills or thrills. The Civic Touring however, gets a slightly, gutsier bump in performance with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 180-horsepower to boot. Using a continuous variable transmission (CVT), the system is smooth and linear without hiccup. Taking about 8.0-seconds to 60-mph, the boost in performance is sufficient, but not extravagant. It’s enough to get going, but not so much it will get you in trouble.
Our enthusiasm all came down to the chassis and its handling components. In nature, the compact car is about as exciting as our accountant explaining Tax Law to us. But Honda somehow took a non-performance based vehicle and made it enjoyable. They improved the structure and rigidity of the chassis from the previous generation with added welds and structural support. They boosted the electric steering and improved the suspension. In fairness, the previous generation Civic was a doll to drive, but compared to this newer generation, it might as well be a Hyundai from the 1900’s.
This new Civic feels much more solid than before. Everything about it feels tight and hugs the curves with grace. The steering, while still very light, feels enthusiastic to maneuver. The dampening of the suspension feels composed, handling corners like a hot-hatch but also maintaining smooth comfortability over rough surfaces.
At the end of it all, we were struggling to find things we didn’t like about the all-new Civic, but that didn’t keep us from finding something…
Like most brands, the Honda Civic comes standard with all of the latest safety hardware. All models come equipped with forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, collision mitigation, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and high-beam assist. The Touring is exclusive to featuring blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic detection with low-speed braking control. All is fine and dandy at the forefront; however, its traffic-jam assist as part of the adaptive cruise control system is not quite the smoothest in the industry. It tends to have hard braking when traffic is coming to a smooth slow down and even with the distance setting set to a 2 to 3-car distance, it manages to do hard braking too far back causing the drivers behind us to honk at our depraved driving style.
Even in a perfect world, not everything can be perfect. But if that the Civic’s only fault, then its looking pretty darn good; after all, it’s comfortable, nice to drive and a handsomely styled vehicle with more standard equipment than a Mercedes-Benz. Who knew a compact car could be such a charming delight.
|Vehicle:||2022 Honda Civic Touring|
|Engine:||1.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder|
|Horsepower/Torque:||180-Horsepower | 177 lbs-ft of Torque|
|Transmission:||Continuous Variable Automatic Transmission|
|MPG:||31 | 38 | 34 (City | Highway | Combined)|
|As-Tested MPG:||33.3-MPG Combined|
|0-60 MPH:||±7.5 seconds|
It’ll be interesting to see how the ILX/Integra/Civic Touring sales and marketing pan out. Hopefully the ILX will disappear by 2024 unless Acura goes a different way with it(?)