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2016 Honda Civic Gen-Ten Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2016 Honda Civic

2016 Honda Civic

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

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The all-new 2016 Honda Civic has been named the North American Car of the Year. So, there you have it!

Certainly, yes, there is more to it than just that. The award represents the majority view of a collective of skilled and knowledgeable automotive journalists. The award is intended to recognize the most outstanding new vehicle of the year. These vehicles are benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. But, each to his own, as the saying goes.

The Civic is a second-timer for this award, having won for the 2006 Civic a decade ago. And, the all-new 2016 Civic has gotten other accolades too from various rating agencies and auto publications.

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This new Civic is the 10th generation of a car that came on the American scene way back in 1973. The new model represents a ground-up redesign and was developed by a North America team with global input. It’s built right here in the U.S. and also in Canada.

The 5-passenger 4-door 2016 Civic features a new vehicle architecture; new interior and exterior styling; a more spacious and high-quality cabin; two advanced new engines; and many new available premium features and technologies, including the first application of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in a compact car sold anywhere in the world (so says Honda).

The front-wheel drive Civic is offered in five trims with prices starting at $18,640 and topping out at $26,500.

Like many all-new cars today, it’s longer, lower and wider. The body structure is more rigid for improved driving dynamics and there’s more use of high-strength steel. Aerodynamics are improved and there’s more noise reduction measures.

LX and EX trims are powered by a 158HP 2.0-L engine. The LX can be had with a 6-speed manual or a CVT automatic. The EX is offered only with the CVT. EX-T, EX-L and Touring trims are equipped with a 174HP 1.5-L turbo engine mated to a CVT automatic. It’s the first turbo in a Civic.

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Notwithstanding the low gasoline prices we are enjoying today, fuel consumption is still important. The best EPA test fuel economy ratings for the new Civic are with the higher horsepower 1.5-L turbo engine models. The EPA test combined rating is 35 mpg, with 31 city mpg and 42 highway mpg. For the lower priced 2.0-L powered models the EPA test combined and city ratings are the same as the 1.5-L but the highway is one mpg lower at 41 mpg. The manual transmission LX is rated at 31 mpg combined, with 27 city mpg and 40 highway mpg.

Both engines in the new Civic are certified as low emission vehicles. This is noteworthy not only from the “green” perspective, but also beneficial in that there may be specific closer-in parking for you at your workplace if you work in a LEED certified facility.

I drove the EX trim with the 2.0-L engine. Power was adequate with acceptable acceleration, merging and passing with just me on board. I’m not a lover of CVTs especially with low output 4-cylinder engines. The Civic’s engine had to work hard and therefore engine noise was more than I would have liked. If I were buying I would go for one of the up-trim models to get the 1.5-L turbo engine.

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The exterior design is all-new on the Civic and I thought it well suited for my taste. But taste and style is subjective, so you be your own judge.

The cabin has been redone too. It’s pleasing to the eye with quality materials and somewhat elegant. The push button start is easy to locate with its bright red coloring. There’s a touch screen for audio control but no knobs for tuning or volume.

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I wish there were knobs, especially for use in winter with gloves on. However, there is a volume control on the steering wheel that works quite well. The EX I drove did not come with heated seats, so I would again move up to a higher trim to get this feature. All in all the interior space was quite good for my average build. As always it’s a bit challenging in a smallish car if you are dressed for really cold temps. A somewhat minor complaint is that I thought the release mechanism for the tilt steering wheel was too low under the steering column making it hard to reach.

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I do love Honda’s Lane Watch feature that displays an image in the center screen of the right lane next to the car when the right turn signal is on. It’s great for checking for bicyclists.

As Honda does, ride is a bit firm…and I like that, but with a more upscale feel. Sweeping interstate on-ramps are taken with ease and there isn’t much body roll. Steering has a good feel and feedback, being direct and responsive. Around the streets of Chicago winter potholes and road heaves weren’t too jarring.

A complete redesign opens the door for new technology and Honda has loaded up the Civic. The optional Honda Sensing safety system offers a number of driver-assistive technologies that can further reduce the potential for a collision and mitigate the consequences. They alert the driver and can take emergency action when a collision is determined to be imminent.

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The Civic Honda Sensing technology suite includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow…a first in a Honda vehicle. Additional features are: Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning with automatic braking, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation. The system is standard on the Touring trim and a $1000 option on all others.

This new safety technology that has become available on more and more new vehicles really is proving beneficial to help reduce even minor collisions. If I had a young teenage new driver in my family I would want them driving a car like the Honda Sensing equipped Civic.

The new Civic is in dealer showrooms now. More info and specs can be found at You can shop the Civic and compare to other compact cars right here at

The all-new 2016 Honda Civic has received the highest available rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a SUPERIOR rating for frontal crash prevention when equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist technologies.

© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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