The all-new 2016 Honda Civic saw its global reveal last night but much to my chagrin, unfortunately, the reveal seemed to focus more on an up and coming indie band than it did the highly anticipated car itself.
The debut of the all-new Civic is a big deal for Honda. While sales have remained strong for the ninth-generation Civic, enthusiasts and die-hard Civic fans have expressed their ongoing disappointment with the overall quality of the ninth-gen. And regardless of the fact that the Civic has remained on top to be Canada's best-selling car for the past 17 years, this new launch has a lot of weight riding on its success and I daresay, while it won't make or break the Civic, a flop on the part of the Civic may just usurp it from the throne.
Honda's calls the new Civic dynamic and the most ambitious remake of the Civic ever. With the inclusion of a turbocharged engine (something that Honda once said would never happen and I'm more than ecstatic for them to be eating those words now - turbo all the things!), and a much more aggressive and sporty stand than the last generation for starters, I'd say it's already on the right track for being the most ambitious redesign yet.
Somewhere along the line, a few generations ago (some would say exactly three generations ago with the launch of the seventh-generation Civic), the Civic seemed to lose its fun, and sporty appeal and with the new 2016 car, Honda is aiming to regain that fun driving experience. Dave Gardner, senior vice president of Honda Canada Inc. says, “This tenth-generation Civic is quite simply the most ambitious remake we’ve ever done. It was created with the same innovative spirit that helped established Civic, back in 1973 and subsequently, as the benchmark in its class and Canada’s best-selling car for 17 consecutive years.”
While Honda have only officially revealed the sedan, its been confirmed that along with the sedan, coupe, high-performance Si models, a 5-door hatchback and the first-ever Civic Type-R model for the Canadian market will be launched on the all-new platform.
To regain the fun driving dynamics of the Civics of old, Honda has given the Civic a more athletic stance with low and wide proportions. Compared to the current model, the 2016 Civic Sedan is nearly 50 mm wider and 20 mm lower with a 30mm longer wheelbase, featuring a more compact and sporty front overhang, a longer, more aggressively sculpted hood and fastback-style tail.
A sharp and aggressive face gives the front end a fresh look, and the bulging wheel arches gives it the aggressive stance that's so popular nowadays. LED exterior lighting is available, including new Honda LED headlights (in-line type), LED daytime running lights (standard) and distinctive C-shaped LED taillights (also standard).
Powering the new Civic are two all-new, more powerful and fuel-efficient engines. Civic Sedan LX and EX trims will be powered by a 2L, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder – the most powerful base engine ever offered on Civic – mated to either a 6-speed manual in LX trim or CVT. Civic Sedans in EX-T and Touring trims will be powered by a 1.5L, direct-injected and turbocharged 16-valve DOHC inline-4, mated to a unique CVT. I'm a little gutted that you can't buy a turbo model in manual.
As for the new chassis, Honda claims it will be the most quiet through the use of an acoustic sealed windshield and it will be the most tightly sealed and rigid chassis Civic - by up to 25%. Civic gets a less pedestrian like driving position by way of a 25 mm lower hip point compared to the current car. The lower hip point is enabled by the new Civic’s lower floor and engine and its all-new suspension design. The new Civic chassis features a redesigned strut front suspension and a new multi-link rear suspension mounted to an ultra-rigid rear subframe. Civic also gets beefier front and rear stabilizer bars and standard 4-wheel disc brakes, along with the application of new Agile Handling Assist brake-torque vectoring technology for more precise and agile cornering. Finally, we're back to a proper suspension setup on the Civic!
Aerodynamic efficiency is up by 12% to a class-leading level in part, due to the use of full underbody covers while ride quality, NVH and performance is improved through the use of hydraulic compliance bushings, a technology typically reserved for more expensive vehicles.
The interior has been redesigned to offer the most comfortable, sophisticated and premium-feeling cabin in the compact class. An additional 91L of interior volume translates into the largest cabin in the compact segment with 31 mm of added rear-seat legroom over the outgoing model.
In front, new ultra-thin front A-pillars offer up class-leading forward visibility while out back, trunk space has been increased by 75L with a lower liftover height, larger opening and wider and taller cargo area. Civic Sedan LX and above trims will feature a 60/40 split and folding rear seat.
Option wise, the new Civic delivers and will finally be more competitive with everyone else - new equipment includes automatic climate control on LX – dual-zone on EX and higher trims; auto-up/down front power windows; an electronic parking brake with Brake Hold; Walk-Away auto door locks and an adjustable driver’s seat thigh support with 14 degrees of tilt. All Civic Sedan models also feature a larger, reconfigurable new centre console with up to 7.2 litres of secure storage space, approaching SUV levels of console utility. Hot diggity!
Tech-wise, the 2016 Civic joins the freshened 2016 Accord in offering advanced smartphone integration with a new, 7-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen, offering tech-savvy customers a more advanced and intuitive connected-car experience. Apple CarPlay is available or Android Auto, if you please.
We're told that gone is the plasticky and cheap-feeling interior from the last generation Civic. The new interior takes up a more premium feel with high-quality materials and high-contrast finishes. This includes a new one-piece, soft-touch instrumental panel with moulded stitching; more premium seat fabrics; a new full-color TFT centre meter (LX and above trims); a centre console with piano black finish and high-contrast sliver bezel; door inserts with live stitching; an LED shift indicator and LED overhead lighting; and for EX and higher trims, a leather shift boot. While the upper grades offer even more premium features, including an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power front passenger’s seat as well as heated rear seats heated front seats are on LX and above trims, while heated mirrors are standard on all grades.
If the interior on the new HR-V is anything to go buy, the Civic will feel a little more upscale than its predecessor.
Pricing has not yet been announced but you can bet that the base models will remain around the same as the current model base prices. With the release of details for the new 10th-gen Civic sedan, I'm very, very excited for the release of the hatchback and the coupe... especially the venerable Type-R. The Civic will be a serious contender to every single market segment in the compact class with the availability of the sedan, hatchback and coupe. Not only will the sedan market be covered, but previous Civic hatch buyers flocked to the likes of the Mazda3 or Focus when Honda cancelled the hatch in North America. The return of the hatchback means good things for Honda.
Did I mention we're getting the Type-R yet? Oh, really? I did? We're getting the Type-R in Canada. Since I was a teenager, I've lusted after the Civic Type-R. When it was released in Japan in '96, I thought I would die if I couldn't own one... needless to say, I didn't die, but I was lucky enough to swap the Civic Type-R's engine into one of my sixth-generation Civics and it was everything I dreamed about and more.
The Civic will be built in our homeland in the Alliston plant.
Stay tuned for more as we have it.