2016 Honda Civic Touring 1.5T Sedan Second Drive Review

#hashtags: #Having #Honda Civic #Honda

Having spent a number of my post-high school years engrossed in the tuner scene, my ears still perk up when I hear the words “Honda Civic” uttered in casual conversation. If what comes next are the letters “EF,” “EG,” “EK,” or “Si,” I listen even more intently. But if it sounds like the car in question is a more pedestrian model from any of the past three generations, I quickly lose interest. Now that I’ve driven the 10th-gen Civic with the turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, there’s a newer model I can get excited about.

Styling-wise, the 2016 Honda Civic sedan represents a dramatic departure from the last generation’s safe, flavorless design. The raked roofline that flows into a striking set of C-shaped taillights is unlike anything else in the class and still gets the car a lot of looks even though it’s been on sale for months now. But the changes aren’t limited to aesthetics. The powertrain choices are also all-new and mark two firsts for the Civic: the first turbocharged engine and the first time the engine lineup doesn’t include a single-overhead-cam option.

Our tester was an EX-L NAV model with the 1.5-liter turbo engine that produces 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque (the Touring model with the same engine is pictured here). Currently, that engine is only available paired with a CVT, but Honda says the turbo model will soon get the six-speed manual as an option. That doesn’t mean buyers that choose the CVT will miss out on all the fun, however. As CVTs come, Honda’s is one of the most intelligent and un-CVT-like. The transmission makes the best use of the turbo engine’s broad powerband, allowing the car to pull throughout the rev range. Throttle response is good and has relatively low turbo lag in the lower rpms. The engine feels just as at home cruising on the highway as it does at wide-open throttle. For a non-performance variant, the Civic 1.5 turbo is decently quick. A 2016 Civic turbo recorded a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds in our tests.

Ride and handling is an area where the Civic has always been strong, and the 10th-gen car continues that tradition. The Civic feels light and nimble with a chassis that negotiates turns precisely and predictably. Steering feel is on the lighter side but still communicates all the necessary feedback from the front wheels. Highway ride is smooth and a little less noisy than the last-gen Civic. Still, sounds from the outside world will creep in.

The infotainment system looks modern and is well-integrated into the dash, but it needs improvement when it comes to functionality. The Bluetooth connection wasn’t solid. Streaming music cut out every few seconds, and phone calls were inaudible at times due to a constant hiss in the background. I even tried disconnecting and reconnecting my phone only to get the same results. The rest of the interior is tidy, showcasing a sharp design and high-quality materials. Honda definitely learned from its mistakes with the 2012 model.

Our tester was a tad pricy for the class at $25,535, but the turbo model starts around $23,000. And with its EPA-rated fuel economy of 31/42 mpg city/highway, you get a good balance of frugality and fun—two qualities that made past generations of the Civic so popular. So the next time someone brings up their Civic, I’ll have “1.5T” added to my keyword filter.

2016 Honda Civic test numbers below reflect a previously tested Touring sedan.

2016 Honda Civic Touring VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 1.5L/174-hp/162-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,925 lb (61/39%) WHEELBASE 106.3 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.3 x 70.8 x 55.7 in 0-60 MPH 7.2 sec QUARTER MILE 15.5 sec @ 92.4 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 123 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.83 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.5 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 31/42/35 mpg ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 109/80 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.55 lb/mile