The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Civic’s all grown up, again

Best-selling car gets sharper styling, tricked-out cabin, loses none of its fun


When the Honda Civic arrived in 1973, it was a tiny ride that many likened to the original Mini — it was cute, got incredible fuel mileage, and it could be parked almost anywhere.

Now, 11 generation­s later, it has a larger trunk and more rear seat legroom than the 2010 Honda Accord.

The question is: does a smarter style and more interior room make it any better?

The exterior style is very different from the outgoing model. In simple terms, the 2022 Honda Civic has grown up. It now has a more formal grille with full LED headlights and sharper LED daytime running lights. Around at the back, the old C-shaped taillights have gone in favour of lamp clusters that mirror the look up front. This and a slight increase in the wheelbase impart a more mature style that has a stronger road presence.

The changes flow neatly inside, especially in the top Touring model tested. First, the 10.2-inch reconfigur­able instrument cluster, which is changed through steering wheel-mounted controls, presents the informatio­n in a clean and classy manner. Second, the large free-standing 9.0-inch infotainme­nt system touchscree­n features clear icons and supports the latest apps including wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, along with a smarter navigation system. It also works with a sweet-sounding 12-speaker Bose sound system.

This, however, only tells part of the story. The rest boils down to the body-hugging front seats that provide solid lateral support without confining, the quality of the materials used throughout, and some neat touches. Gone are the usual air vents in favour of a design that hides them behind a tidy mesh finish. What goes unsaid is how the use of thinner A-pillars improves outward visibility. In a tight parking lot, this and the high-definition rearview camera means little goes unseen.

There’s also more space — the wheelbase is up 35 millimetre­s to 2,735 mm. A subtle change, but every little helps. There’s 950 millimetre­s of legroom and 942 mm of headroom, which is enough to accommodat­e two 6-foot-2 riders in the outboard positions. Behind that is 419-litre trunk with split/folding seat backs. To put the cargo capacity into perspectiv­e, the 2010 Accord had 397L.

The Touring also gets all the desirable safety aids, including forward collision warning with auto-braking; lane-departure warning with keep assist; adaptive cruise control; traffic-jam assist; and, at long last, a proper blind-spot monitoring system on all models.

The carryover parts are found in the powertrain. All models except the Touring get a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. Step up to the top model and you’ll find a 1.5L turbo-four. This year, it gets six more horsepower and 15 poundfeet more torque, which gives it 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque anywhere between 1,700 and 4,500 rpm. On the drive, the turbo-four proved to be a perky and willing worker that loved to rev to redline without complainin­g loudly.

The turbo-four drives the front wheels through a continuous­ly variable transmissi­on (CVT) with paddle shifters and seven pre-set ratios when they’re used. It’s well-coordinate­d under hard accelerati­on, as it bumps up through artificial gears to cut the monotonous drone so many hate. There are also Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes. Normal is best in the city; Sport is for the fun times.

Flicking the paddle shifters on a twisty road when in Sport mode sees the Civic belie its sedan status. Everything feels crisper and, even when left to its own devices, the CVT adapts to changing terrain — it slipped down a cog whenever an uphill section was encountere­d.

The resulting performanc­e is pretty good. The turbocharg­ed Touring runs the riders to 100 kilometres an hour in 7.7 seconds, which is about a second faster than the 2.0L engine. The better news is the added performanc­e comes without penalty. Both engines have a posted average fuel economy of 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres. This means the Civic, regardless of engine, has enough gas to drive from Toronto to Trois Rivieres on a single tank. It will be very close, but it’s doable.

The platform and its longer wheelbase do give the Civic better road manners. As before, it features front struts and multiple rear links along with anti-roll bars at both ends. The combinatio­n is very good at delivering a smooth highway ride while controllin­g body roll when the Civic is pushed into a corner.

Throw in the P235/ 40R18 tires and variable ratio steering, and the Touring goes where’s it’s pointed very nicely. What really surprised me during the drive was the fact a large road ripple encountere­d mid-corner did not upset the Civic’s planted feel — it rode the ripple out without making it feel like the back-end was about to step out of line. Not many entrylevel cars feel as composed under these conditions.

Drive the latest Honda Civic sedan, and you will come away with the sense it has grown up. It is stylistica­lly sharper, the cabin takes some big strides forward in every area and the Touring feels as nimble as ever when it is pushed towards its surprising limits. These improvemen­ts not only bode well for the sedan, it gives a sneak preview of what to expect from the upcoming hatchback.

 ??  ?? Drive the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan and you will come away with the sense it has grown up.
Drive the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan and you will come away with the sense it has grown up.
 ??  ?? The maturation of the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan exterior flows neatly inside.
The maturation of the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan exterior flows neatly inside.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada