2016 HONDA CIVIC

Ignition - - Contents Table 0f - By Lee Bailie

It’s not much of a stretch to say Honda Canada would not be what it is to­day were it not for its wildly pop­u­lar Civic. The fact that the Civic has been built in the com­pany’s Al­lis­ton, On­tario as­sem­bly plant since 1988 is no ac­ci­dent – few na­tions have em­braced it like Cana­di­ans have.

All told, Honda Canada has sold more than 1.89 mil­lion Civics here since its in­cep­tion in 1969, and it has been the na­tion’s best-sell­ing car for the past 18 years.

Against this back­drop of long-run­ning suc­cess, Honda be­gan to roll out the 10th gen­er­a­tion Civic sedan late last year, which will be fol­lowed by a coupe, five-door hatch­back (the first hatch since the Uk-built 2002-05 SIR) and a Euro­pean­sourced Type R.

Un­like the eighth and ninth gens, which were closely re­lated, the 10th gen­er­a­tion marks a sig­nif­i­cant sea change for the Civic.

Sport­ing a com­pletely new de­sign, this lat­est

ON­TARIO

ver­sion is 50 mm wider, 20 mm lower and has a wheel­base that is 30 mm longer than the out­go­ing car. Greater use of high-strength steel in the chas­sis (now 12 per cent of its over­all mass) has im­proved tor­sional rigid­ity by 25 per cent and im­proved aero­dy­namic ef­fi­ciency by 12 per cent. It’s also 31 kg lighter.

In ad­di­tion, Honda en­gi­neers have made sig­nif­i­cant gains in re­duc­ing cabin noise via bet­ter bodyseal­ing tech­niques and the use of flush-mounted acous­tic glass, triple-sealed doors and a tightly sealed en­gine bay.

From a pack­ag­ing per­spec­tive, it’s all about get­ting low, which is bound to please Civic en­thu­si­asts. The driver’s hip point is 25 mm lower, which has been made pos­si­ble through the use of a lower floor and en­gine lo­ca­tion. The Civic also sports an all new front strut / rear mul­ti­link sus­pen­sion that in­cludes thicker front and rear sta­bi­lizer bars. New vari­able gear ra­tio steer­ing is also stan­dard.

Pow­er­ing the LX and EX trims is a 2.0L

COLLING­WOOD

16-valve DOHC I-VTEC four-cylin­der, which is mated to ei­ther a sixspeed man­ual or a CVT. Out­put is rated at 158 horse­power and 138 lb-ft of torque.

While the 2.0L en­gine sits firmly within the Honda four-cylin­der norm, the all-new 1.5L di­rect-in­jected tur­bocharged 16-valve DOHC in­line four-cylin­der is def­i­nitely ground-break­ing. It is the first tur­bocharged en­gine to be of­fered in a Honda and its out­put (174 hp, 162 lb-ft of torque) is the high­est for a non-si Civic sold in North Amer­ica. The 1.5 is mated to a CVT only, and is stan­dard is­sue on EX-T and Tour­ing trims.

In terms of de­sign, the Civic looks more Ac­cord-like than ever be­fore, par­tic­u­larly when viewed from the front. In­line LED headlights – a Honda / Acura sta­ple th­ese days – dom­i­nate a face that fea­tures a pro­nounced chrome-fin­ished nose with a belt buckle-sized H in the cen­tre, and a trape­zoidal air in­take below the li­cense plate holder.

It is a dra­matic de­par­ture, to say the least, from the ovoid-shaped Civics of the past two gen­er­a­tions.

This car is sleeker, but more sharply creased, with pro­nounced char­ac­ter lines, flared wheel arches and LED tail­lights that re­mind this writer of boomerangs. If Honda wanted to make the Civic’s ap­pear­ance more dis­tinc­tive – es­pe­cially when one goes whizzing by at night – it has suc­ceeded.

On the in­side, the spa­cious in­te­rior feels like it’s come a long way. From the well-bol­stered and very com­fort­able heated leather seats, to its gor­geous and easy-to-read TFT in­stru­ment dis­play, to its el­e­gant and easy to use in­fo­tain­ment in­ter­face, the Civic has an un­mis­tak­able up-mar­ket feel. A knob or a cou­ple of but­tons would be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated for the au­dio con­trols, but it’s a mi­nor com­plaint.

Most of my time was spent driv­ing the high-end Tour­ing, and a few things are ap­par­ent with the new 1.5L / CVT pow­er­train. Firstly, this com­bi­na­tion makes the Civic bad fast (par­tic­u­larly in Sport mode) where the rev-happy en­gine screams with de­light un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion. Even in reg­u­lar Drive, the Civic feels re­spon­sive and peppy.

While I’m not a huge fan of CVTS gen­er­ally (given their ten­dency to feel a bit rub­bery), the one in the Civic works quite well. Power de­liv­ery is lin­ear and pre­cise and quite re­spon­sive to one’s right foot.

From a han­dling per­spec­tive, the Civic sedan has me ex­cited for what’s to come with the Si. The lighter, lower and more pow­er­ful 1.5 Civic feel very con­nected to the road. Ride qual­ity is good, noise is well­su­pressed (ex­cept un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion and on re­ally bad roads), and the han­dling feels se­cure and nicely bal­anced. Get­ting out of shape in this car re­quires some ef­fort.

In all, the 2016 Civic is a ma­jor leap for­ward for a car that had been more or less trav­el­ling down the same road since the in­tro­duc­tion of the eighth gen in 2006.

It was time to chart a new course and, while some might feel it might have gone too far (at least in terms of its ex­te­rior de­sign), Honda should be ap­plauded for tak­ing a dar­ing and in­no­va­tive ap­proach with its most im­por­tant car.

Un­like the eighth and ninth gens, which were closely re­lated, the 10th gen­er­a­tion marks a sig­nif­i­cant sea change for the Civic.”

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