2016 Honda Civic sedan: You don’t have to tell these guys twice – STLtoday.com

Posted: Sunday, May 08, 2016

The last time Honda gave us an all-new Civic, back in 2012, the company erred on the side of caution. Critics responded with a yawn and many buyers reacted like a kid served broccoli.

In my own January 2012 review, I noted “Civic has been the gold standard among compacts for so long, Honda seems utterly risk-averse … more concerned with not making a mistake than pushing the envelope.”

The car landed with such a thud, Honda performed damage control with a major overhaul the very next year. Still, as recently as 2015, Civic was outsold by archrival Toyota Corolla.

Well, you don’t have to hit Honda over the head. They got it. The result is an all-new 2016 Civic that really is all-new, from its sinewy styling to re-engineered greasy stuff.

This sedan is offered in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L and Touring trims, the latter three boasting a new 1.5-liter, 174-hp turbo four, LX and EX getting a tamer, but still new, 2.0-liter, 158-hp naturally aspirated four. A six-speed manual is standard on LX, with a CVT automatic optional. The CVT is standard on everything else.

We drove an EX 240 miles, including a round-trip excursion to southwest of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and found it a fine companion.

Save a bit of road noise from its 16-inch Firestones, it provided a serene cabin and confident handling while returning an impressive 41 mpg on the 140-mile highway junket. Throw in an additional 100 miles around town and our overall fuel economy was a happy 34 mpg.

The only problem we experienced was a faulty warning light. Throughout our week with the car, the “Tire Pressures Low” alert illuminated, although all tires were at the recommended 32 psi.

Otherwise, the car proved pleasant. Even the dreaded CVT periodically rose to the occasion, as when on Ste. Gen. County’s Hwy B, it downshifted virtually like a traditional automatic as we passed a lumbering farm implement.

Inside, EX belied its econo-car existence with snappy, faux-suede decor and a hip infotainment touch-screen. Still, we missed knobs for radio volume and tuning.

Room is fine up front and surprisingly good in back if front passengers scoot up a bit to provide rear leg room.

Finally, styling is sharp, from Civic’s multi-lens projector headlamps through its coupe-like profile to its concealed tailpipe.

This one won’t need an overhaul next year.

Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. You can email him at drivingwithdan@gmail.com


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