The outgoing ninth-generation Honda Civic was not exactly a high point in the venerable compact’s history. Panned on its release, it had a remarkably short life cycle that lasted only from 2012-2015 (with an emergency refresh in 2013). Despite brisk sales during that time, Honda wasted no time readying its replacement and is pulling out all the stops with this all-new, tenth-generation 2016 Honda Civic that rides on a new platform, is powered by a new turbocharged VTEC engine, and offers newly available technology options like Apple CarPlay and active-safety features.
Honda is calling this the Civic’s “most ambitious remake ever,” and plans to roll out an extensive lineup of different models to back up that claim. This four-door sedan will kick things off when it goes on sale in the U.S. this fall, and coupe, five-door hatchback, and high-performance Civic Si and Civic Type R variants will follow.
Honda first gave us an idea of how the new Civic would look earlier this year, when it unveiled a striking Civic coupe concept at the New York auto show. While the sedan’s styling is certainly toned down for production, many elements remain from the concept. A large piece of chrome trim sweeps across the headlights and front grille, and transitions into a rising character line along the sides that gives the sedan a wedge-like profile. The sedan’s rear end is even more similar to the concept, with large, C-shaped taillights and a sharply raked rear window that combines with a short trunklid for an almost fastback-like shape.
The new 2016 Honda Civic sedan’s low-slung shape looks good in person, and the range-topping Touring model shown at the debut featured nice, upscale details like LED accents in the headlights and sharp alloy wheels. Longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor, a 1.2-inch wheelbase stretch results in 3.7 cu ft of extra space inside, 2 inches more legroom in the rear seat, and 2.6 cubic feet more trunk space. We wonder about headroom in back, though, as the steeply sloped rear end cuts into the space over your head a bit—passengers over six feet tall don’t have much clearance back there.
Powering LX and EX versions of the 2016 Honda Civic sedan is a 2.0-liter, direct-injection i-VTEC four-cylinder that mates with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. The big story, though, is an all-new, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection that will be offered on Civic EX-T, EX-L, and Touring models. In the standard Civic, the turbo engine will pair only with a CVT; you’ll have to wait around for the Si and Type R variants to get a VTEC turbo engine with a stickshift. More detailed info is yet to be announced, but we do know that the 1.5-liter turbo-four will offer more power than any non-Si Civic ever sold in the U.S. Honda claims EPA fuel economy numbers upwards of 40 mpg (presumably on the highway) for both engines.
Honda has lagged behind in offering slick interior technology, and tries to catch up here. Like in the refreshed 2016 Honda Accord, an available 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen is compatible with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems. Unfortunately, that screen eschews buttons and knobs for the same the same frustrating touch-capacitive volume slider and complex menu structure found on several other Hondas. New standard equipment includes automatic climate control, an electronic parking brake, and adjustable driver’s seat thigh support. A suite of active-safety features is available as a stand-alone option on any trim, bringing technologies like adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation braking.
The 2016 Honda Civic sedan will go into production at Honda factories in Greensburg, Indiana and Ontario, Canada within the next few months, and should arrive at dealerships later this fall. Stay tuned for more information to come about this redesigned compact.