Without a doubt, the 9th generation Honda Civic will go into the company’s history book as a most disappointing piece of metal. In its short life cycle, the Civic needed four major refreshes in order to compete with its mainstream rivals.
However, with the introduction of the 10th generation, 2016 Honda Civic, it looks like Honda has once again found its way back to the formula that made it so popular in the first place. At first glance, the new Civic looks like a shortened and shrunken version of the now defunct Accord Crosstour. At launch, the Civic will only be available as a sedan, but it will later be joined by a coupe and a four-door hatchback.
The new Civic’s chassis will be shared with the next generation Honda Accord as well.
For the first time in the nameplate’s history, the Honda Civic will be powered by a turbocharged engine.
Compared to the 9th generation model, the 10th generation Civic’s structure is a lot lighter, stronger, and stiffer thanks to clever usage of aluminum and other high-strength alloys in the body’s construction. As a bonus, the ride quality has also been vastly improved.
The front struts and rear multi-link suspensions are aided by thicker 1.0 inch front and 0.7 inch rear anti-roll bars, which minimize body roll. Honda engineers have also fitted the new Civic’s chassis with a brake-base torque vectoring system, which enables it to go around corners much better than its predecessors. The new variable-ratio, electrically assisted power steering is now 10% quicker than before, which should result in better steering response.
Dimensionally, the 2016 Honda Civic is 2.9 in longer, the wheelbase has grown by 1.2 inches to 106.3 inches, and it is marginally wider and lower than the 9th generation model.
Like the completely redesigned exterior, the interior has also been totally overhauled. The two-tired dashboard is now a thing of the past, being replaced with a more modern, single tier dashboard. It includes a new instrument cluster and a large touchscreen on top. Interior materials look a lot richer than ones found in the 9th generation model and the layered dash design makes the plastics look a lot more sophisticated than before.
Even though the car is bigger on the outside and roomier on the inside, the interior space is only slightly larger than before, but the cargo space in the trunk has grown by 2 to 3 cubic feet, depending on equipment chosen.
Base 2016 Honda Civic models will be powered by a new naturally aspirated, 2.0 L inline four engine which produces 158 horsepower @ 6500 rpm and 138 lb.ft. torque @ 4200 rpm. The 2.0 L engine is either backed by a standard six-speed manual (LX only) or an optional CVT automatic gearbox.
The optional engine on higher trim levels is a new turbocharged and intercooled, 1.5 L inline four engine which produces 174 horsepower @6000 rpm and 162 lb.ft. torque @ 1700 rpm. The 1.5 L engine is backed exclusively by the CVT automatic transmission.
The EPA rates the fuel efficiency of 2016 Honda Civic with the 2.0 L engine and six-speed manual transmission at 27 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Models equipped with the optional CVT are rated at 31 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. The Honda Civic with the optional 1.5 L engine and CVT transmission is rated at 32 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.
When the 2016 Honda Civic goes on sale next month, its price range will vary from $18,640 for the base LX, with 2.0 L engine and six-speed manual, to $26,500 for a fully loaded Civic Touring, with the 1.5 L turbocharged engine and CVT transmission.
The base Civic LX with the optional CVT transmission retails for $19,440. The Civic EX with the 2.0 L engine and CVT starts at $21,040. 2016 Honda Civic EX-T, with the turbocharged 1.5 L engine and CVT starts at $22,200. Civic EX-L with the 1.5 L/PZEV engine and CVT starts at $23,700.
The top-of-the-range 2016 Honda Civic Touring, with the turbocharged 1.5 L/PZEV engine starts at $26,500.
These prices do not include the additional $835 destination fee.
Honda Sensing, a driver assistance system, is available on the LX, EX, EX-T, and EX-L trim for an additional $1,000. However, Honda Sensing is not available on the EX-L with Navigation trim. Honda Sensing is included as a standard feature on the Civic Touring model, however.
*Rahul Raman is the author of the First Look series on Automoblog.net. He resides in the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.