Neo-Luddite gearheads! Honda has heard your cries! Those of you that loath automatics and semi-automatics with a white-hot revulsion that will never be extinguished, deliverance is at hand! Not only does the new for 2017 Civic lineup feature turbocharged engines, but, a manual transmission will also be available.
Look, I like a manual transmission. Especially in certain vehicles: sports cars, performance cars, and the like. But I also fail to understand why some enthusiasts dislike (i.e. hate) semi-automatic boxes.
“I don’t feel as involved,” they whine.
Active & Engaged
Well, the first time I ever drove a car with a semi-auto, paddle shift transmission, it was a Ferrari Scuderia, and pal, lemme tell ya, I was plenty involved. Deeply involved. I was involved and connected to that car in every way a driver can be. My current car, a 1994 Mazda Miata R-Package, has one of the best manuals this side of Formula Ford. So I get it. I understand. And, luckily for all of us gearheads out there, Honda seems to understand as well.
“For 2017, we’re thrilled to boost the Civic lineup by pairing the manual transmission with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine – something we know our customers are very excited about,” enthused Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President and General manager of the Honda Division.
Already sitting in Honda showrooms as we speak, the Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe intend to retain their position as members of the best-selling compact car nameplate in America. The expanded application of manual transmissions comes for the 2017 model year. Buyers can opt for a 6-speed manual transmission as standard on the turbocharged Civic Sedan and Coupe in EX-T trims. Given that the 2017 version of the Civic Sedan starts at $18,740 (MSRP) and $19,150 for the Coupe, it looks like Honda is keeping to their tradition of not asking for too much scratch for a decent ride.
The manual transmission is teamed up with a 1.5-liter direct-injected and turbocharged DOHC engine, cranking out a peak of 174 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque. Which, come on, isn’t all bad for that little displacement, and, uh, well, it’ll be a start for tuners, grease-monkeys, shade-tree mechanics, and the like to produce absurd amounts of horsepower (insert maniacal laughter here).
Going with the manual box gets you 2 more ponies and 5 more lb-ft. of grunt compared to models equipped with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). I’m assuming the missing horses were consumed by the magical gnomes that dwell within a Continuously Variable Transmission. (Seriously, how do they work? Quaife differentials are more easily understood than CVTs).
Those of you that do not want to stir your own (or are not opposed to troll-mitigated dark arts) the CVT remains an option on the turbocharged EX-T Civics. The CVT is standard on EX-L and Touring.
Awards & Accolades
In case you’ve been living in a cave and have missed out on the seemingly immutable fact that everyone loves Civics; always have, and, seemingly, always will – the Civic has received copious awards and accolades, including the 2016 North American Car of the Year for the Civic Sedan. Honda also racked up top safety honors too. The Civic has earned the highest available collision performance safety ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS.
Oh, and for those of you that are really jazzed by the manual transmission being available, you’ll also love that a new Civic Type-R arrives next year.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life around racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.