By Shari Prymak
2016 Honda Civic – The Civic is the bestselling car in the country. It’s a favorite, and for good reason. It’s so reliable that you can drive one until your grandchildren are ready to inherit it. And the resale value is so good that when your grandchildren are finished with it, they’ll be able to sell it for a small fortune. Like old age, Civic popularity is a certainty of life. That hasn’t stopped Honda, however, from making the Civic more tech savvy, safe, efficient, and bigger than ever.
The Civic has grown in size to the point where it is now as big as an Accord from a few generations ago. That means you get loads of interior room, plus a spacious trunk perfect for family duty. Up front, Honda has finally ditched the fussy two-tier gauge cluster from the old Civic in favour of a more conventional look. The materials are excellent, and the centre stack looks modern and upscale, though the touch screen begs for a proper volume knob.
Compared with the Mazda3, the class leader for handling and driving enjoyment, the Civic is more of a laidback cruiser. It’s certainly a competent handler through the corners, and the brakes have a nice strong feel. The standout qualities, however, are the quiet cabin and compliant ride. No need to fuss though, because those seeking a more enthusiast-oriented Civic have the sporty Si and Type-R models to look forward to.
The Civic offers a choice of engines. The entry-level engine is a 2.0L, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 138lb-ft of torque. Higher-end models, however, come with a 1.5L turbo, that produces a robust 174 horsepower and 162lb-ft of torque. The turbo is not only more powerful, but more fuel efficient as well, with a combined city/highway rating of 6.7L/100km versus 7.5L/100km. Whether it will be as reliable remains to be seen. Turbocharging adds a level of complexity to a naturally aspirated engine that may not be desirable to all Civic buyers.
Pricing starts at $15,990 for DX model with a manual gearbox and no air conditioning. The most popular model will no doubt be the well-equipped LX, which, when paired with the CVT automatic, carries an MSRP of $20,190. The top of the range Touring model goes for $26,995, which is still reasonable when you factor in the standard near-luxury features such as heated front and rear leather seats, power front seats, wireless charging, LED headlights, and every “Honda Sensing” safety system from collision mitigation braking to adaptive cruise control.
Even when it wasn’t the best car from a driving or aesthetic point of view, the Civic has always been an easy car to recommend due to its reputation for stunning resale value, low running costs, and no nonsense reliability. Now that the Civic is class competitive or class leading in every other area, there’s little reason to buy anything else. Even its luxury car brother, the ILX, has little extra to offer aside from the Acura badge. The only real decision to make is do you want your Civic as a sedan, coupe, or hatchback? Hint: You can’t go wrong with any of them.