2016 Honda Civic Truly Worthy of ‘Car of the Year’

On the day it was named North American Car of the Year, the all-new 2016 Honda Civic sedan was delivered to the test driveway. Civic is Honda’s longest-running automotive nameplate and it is one of the best-selling cars in the world period. This is Gen 10, and it may just be the best Civic yet.

2016 Honda Civic Touring sedan/Images courtesy Honda

2016 Honda Civic Touring sedan/Images courtesy Honda

Honda describes the creation process for this 10th-generation Civic one of the most comprehensive and ambitious new-model developments the brand has ever undertaken. Development was led by a North American team and aided by designers and engineers around the globe. The team benchmarked not only competitive vehicles in the C-segment but luxury compact class models as well as they sought to deliver the best ride, handling, steering, and NVH in a Civic.


The 2016 Honda Civic features all new architecture, interior and exterior styling, more spacious and high-tech cabin, two new engines (including Civic’s first turbo), and a lengthy list of new premium features and state-of-the-art safety and driver assistive technologies. The body is lighter yet more rigid, the chassis features new multi-link independent rear suspension, and the interior features the most room in the compact class. This newest generation Civic will be offered in sedan, coupe, performance Si, five-door hatchback, and first-ever Type-R model for the U.S. market.


Let’s talk about the new powertrains. Honda has come a long way since that first Civic and its 55hp 1.2-liter engine. For 2016, buyers have a choice of the base 2.0-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine that produces 158hp and 138 lb. ft. of torque. This engine can be mated to a CVT gearbox with Honda G-Design shift control or a six-speed manual. EX and Touring Civics get an all-new turbocharged 1.5-liter DOHC, direct-injected inline four-cylinder that cranks out 174hp and 162 lb. ft. of torque. This engine (for now) only comes paired with the CVT tranny that has Sport and Low range modes. Our Touring sedan tester featured this powertrain and once we found the right combination of drive modes (Econ off, CVT in Sport) we had a blast zipping around town in the new Civic. It is still a CVT but power is spread across the powerband and delivered evenly and strongly.


This tester also arrived with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies that include collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and low-speed follow along with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist system. With these systems engaged, the vehicle can actually react faster and safer than most drivers are capable of in any situation and, at times, can almost drive itself.


The design language of the new Civic is, of course, modernized, with a more athletic stance. The rear pillars almost scream fastback yet the trunk is pure sedan. The wheels are wider apart and pushed more toward the outer corners which not only aid aesthetics but performance and handling as well. Overall, the new car is almost two inches wider and an inch lower than the outgoing model with a wheelbase lengthened 1.2 inches. All new front and rear fascia show the new look of Honda.


Those familiar with Civic will not find any familiarity inside the 2016 model. Gone is the split-level instrument panel in favor of a more traditional yet modern style. A large touchscreen monitor sits atop the center stack with most functions operating with a mere touch. I miss the traditional volume and tuning knob controls still found in most audio systems but the redundant steering wheel controls make these operations easier in the Civic. The seats are very comfortable and supportive and the space in the back seat seems at least midsize in volume.

Pricing for the 2016 Honda Civic sedan begins at $18,640 for a base LX model with the 2.0L engine and 6MT gearbox. The Touring turbo tester that we spent a week with rolled in here at $27,335. Fuel economy is rated at a whopping 31 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, making the new Civic one of the most fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicles on the road today.


Speaking of the road, the 2016 Civic sedan feels very well controlled. It offers a very quiet, very comfortable ride yet at any moment is capable of delivering an exciting driver experience. At the outset of this review I said this 2016 model may just be the best Civic yet and after spending a week behind the wheel I am convinced the “North American Car of the Year” honors were well deserved.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.