Honda knocked the new Civic out of the park.
Is the 2016 coupe as good as the sedan?
Pricing: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe
Base price (Touring trim): $27,555
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $29,150
The new Civic is one cool-looking ride – it’s a modern, eye-catching design but not so out there that it becomes a love-it-or-hate-it thing. On that love-it-or-hate-it note, Honda sent me this coupe in an eye-watering Energy Green Pearl colour which sure got a lot of attention. I actually had people walk over in parking lots and at gas stations to take pictures. I like the edgy styling a lot, and the new Civic Coupe takes it to another level. Which is great in two ways. First of all, it’s a nifty looking car. And secondly, it’s a vast improvement on so many of the lame Civic coupe designs we’ve suffered through in the last couple of generations. That’s just my opinion of course.
External lighting is all LED here – including the super-bright LED headlights, turn signals, daytime running lights and tail lights. The Touring’s 17-inch rims (with 215/50-sized boots) and the “Turbo” badge in front of the rear wheels is cheesy but I love it.
The designers and engineers must have sat down for a couple of drinks and talked things out because the coupe looks tidy and all its proportions are right in my books – it always looks athletic and ready to pounce. And that wide stance makes for a squat, intense look that I quite enjoyed.
materials are nice (plenty of soft-touch plastics) and the styling is modern and downright cool in my opinion. I like the floating screen panel.
The heated leather seats are very comfortable (including longer highway trips) and are bolstered aggressively enough to support you during some sportier driving. I was a bit surprised that they are only manually adjustable.
Honda’s central 7-inch screen handles everything – audio (which sounds fantastic!), phone, navigation and car settings – and you’ll do so without the benefit of hard buttons. It’s a pretty clean interface and overall, I found that Honda’s system works pretty well for me. But I don’t like the no-hard-buttons-or-knobs theory. I appreciate a clean dash and I can give up most buttons, but I appreciate, at very least, a volume knob. To make up for the lack of one, Honda includes a capacitive touch strip on the steering wheel. So you can tap up and down for the volume, or slide your finger up and down the strip for finer control. A neat concept – but not as useful as a volume knob.
There’s a dual-zone automatic climate control and below that, a wireless charging zone for your smart phone. The sticky rubber surface makes this a perfect landing zone for your phone, whether you’re charging it or not.
The Touring trim comes loaded up with tech – at this price and in this category, it’s almost shocking. You get collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, a backup camera, adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow) and LaneWatch, which is Honda’s blind spot camera. That should keep any bells-and-whistles fan happy!
The remote starter and sunroof are nice touches.
Ingress and egress is always a consideration when looking at a coupe, but with the Civic, getting into the back is quite easy once the front passenger seat has been tilted and slid forward. Note that the passenger seat can be quickly released with a tiny kick pedal from the back seat or a handle on the side of the seat, which moves it forward and tilts it out of the way. The driver’s seat must be moved manually and so it’s not nearly as convenient to get into that side.
I’m 5’10” and I found the headroom just adequate, but surprisingly, the leg room was more than enough for me. You’ll find three seats back there, although the middle seat is laughable for any application other than little kids. Our three kids were just fine back there, and we didn’t really hear too many complaints from the piggy in the middle. Each outboard seat gets a tiny bin and a cupholder. Things are a bit claustrophobic thanks to that swoopy roofline. If you’re moving little ones, you’ll find a pair of LATCH anchors for child seats.
I like the innovative places that Honda has found for us to drop our stuff in the Civic. There’s an open space under the centre console, and you’ll also find a USB and 12V plug here. The innovation really ramps up further back in the console. There’s a highly flexible storage space, allowing you to slide and/or remove organizers, cupholders and the armrest lid around to make the most of a generally boring and not-so-useful space. Great job, Honda!
The 337 litre trunk is small, but still useful. The rear seats will fold down in a 60/40 split to increase your cargo space, and there is a nice, wide pass through between rear wheel wells. My usual Honda nitpick – there’s no pull handle inside the trunk, which will ensure you have dirty hands when you’re closing your trunk in the Canadian winters.
Under the Hood
The front-wheel drive Civic is driven by a new 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder, which puts out 174 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 162 lb.ft of torque at 1700 RPM. Yes, it’s efficient – Honda says it will get 7.5 L/100 km (31 US mpg) in the city and 5.6 L/100 km (42 US mpg) on the highway. We averaged 6.4 L/100 km (37 US mpg) during a week of normal commuting in the city and a roughly 600 km highway trip with no effort to drive economically. That’s very impressive and it takes regular fuel too, so there aren’t any extra surprises at the pump. Speaking of filling up, I really like the capless fuel door.
First and foremost, there’s always the question of whether a new powerplant is good. Let me answer that right off the bat. Yes. Yes, the new turbo four is awesome. It’s got plenty of power for this application and it’s wickedly smooth. The 0-100 km/h sprint is only a couple of tenths of a second behind the last generation Civic Si, which is pretty impressive.
While it takes a moment to wind things up from a standing start, the CVT is very responsive and is a good partner for the turbo engine. Frankly, I would say when you’re driving the Civic a bit more aggressively, this combination makes the car feel even faster than it really is. Putting it into Sport mode certainly makes things more responsive, although you shouldn’t expect it to transform the car into something different. You can “shift gears” with steering wheel mounted paddles, if you like that sort of thing – they’re not gears obviously, but the pre-programmed ratios do feel pretty convincing most of the time.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can choose the ECON driving mode – I definitely didn’t like it and it really takes the fun down a notch just to save a few drops of fuel.
The Civic’s hallmark has always been pretty great handling and the new one continues carrying that torch. There’s a little bit of lean, but it stays impressively flat during cornering and it always feels eminently tossable, even as its curb weight sneaks up to about 2900 pounds (1317 kg). The ride is firm but comfortable, and it felt terrific on the highway.
The driver’s visibility out of the car is great, except out of the back which feels a little restricted thanks to those extreme angles – but it still works. And hey, the Civic’s noise levels have been vastly improved over the last generation of Civics – I found the coupe stayed relatively quiet, even at highway speeds.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Honda has done a superb job with the new Civic and this new coupe is the Civic sedan’s equal. Overall, it’s a great car that feels modern, current and capable. It’s always competent on the road, and it’s comfortable and spacious enough for a coupe.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was pretty high considering she doesn’t like loud colours and doesn’t like coupes. She said it drove very smoothly and was very comfortable and when she was on the road, she forgot it was a sporty little two-door. That’s a positive review from her, if you’re wondering.
If you’re willing to forgo the convenience of rear doors and some more passenger and cargo space for the coupe’s styling, check out the new Civic coupe. I think it’s fantastic!
Blog provided with permission from Tom Sedens, a local automotive blogger in Edmonton, Alberta, and member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For more vehicle reviews, visit wildsau.ca.