2022 Honda Civic 1.5T Hatchback Sport Touring - Review by David Colman +VIDEO
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Punches way above its price
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
With this new 11th generation Civic, Honda improves both the looks and performance of its benchmark sports sedan. Powering the latest Civic is an economic gasoline-powered turbo four that returns 33MPG in combined city/highway driving. This engine displaces just 1.5 liters, hardly larger than the size of a Honda touring motorcycle. But the added punch of an intercooled turbo boosts performance to gratifying levels. The Sport Touring posts a 0-60mph run of 7.2 seconds, and clears the standing-start quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 91mph. Top speed is governor limited to 126mph.
After a prolonged fling with Buck Rodgers styling, Honda has finally moved beyond fake louvers and origami creases and settled on a more visually palatable shape. From any angle, the new Civic's sheet metal is not only a huge improvement over the version it replaces. Its clean lines mark a welcome throwback to the simple contours of earlier Civics, like the 1987 Si I once owned. From certain angles, you will have a hard time distinguishing the well-tailored new Civic from its big brother, the Accord.
The Sport Touring model tops the Civic range, with a dizzying array of standard features. The most notable improvement is the interior presentation of Gen 11. For starters, it's 1.4 inch wheelbase stretch allows more comfortable rear seating. The beauty of choosing the Sport Touring hatchback model we tested is the deceptively large storage compartment that presents itself when you easily flip down the 60/40 split rear seatbacks. A quick measure of the length of my 63 inch long mountain bike indicated that it might just fit inside the Civic. Sure enough, it nestled tightly inside the Honda. The intelligent packaging is augmented by an innovation I hadn't seen before: a slide-out cover fixed to just one side of the rear space. It can be pulled out of its receptacle and attached to the other side to hide your items. This design alleviates the need for the typical spring loaded center bar/cover that always manages to interfere with loading and thus needs to be removed.
The upgraded interior accoutrements continue up front, where Honda has done a masterful job of integrating a 9 inch touchscreen into a simplified dash face. The screen is easy to operate, and the ventilation outlets splayed below it are artfully camouflaged with lattice grill openings that look elegant and work well. Honda provides the Civic with a complete portfolio of Honda Sensing nannies, including Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation. If you enjoy driving to an accompaniment of constant beeps, buzzes and steering wheel interventions, then by all means leave these systems engaged. However, I was pleased to discover just how easy it is to disable them with a few programming swipes, and spent the rest of my week with the Civic blissfully uninformed by any aids other than those my eyes and ears provided.
Since the Civic Sport Touring can be ordered with a 6 speed manual transmission, I was initially disappointed to find my test car equipped with a CVT automatic regulated by paddle shifters. However, the CVT is a good match for the power band of the somewhat peaky turbo, and I never found myself missing the do-it-yourself routine after discovering the aptitude of the CVT. The Sport Touring is ready to tackle back roads with an athletic suspension system and aggressive contact patches that gobble up corners with gusto. Our test car depended on beefy 8x18 inch alloy rims shod with 235/40R18 Continental Conti Pro Contact radials (TW 400) that stuck to the pavement like epoxy. No matter how much throttle we applied mid-corner, we never managed to dislodge the Civic from its intended path. Without question, this would be a fun autocross ride. It even offers a Sport Mode setting to increase your fun feedback.
In addition to the solid performance architecture of this hatchback, the Sport Touring version of the new Civic is furnished with the kind of niceties you wouldn't expect to find in a vehicle of this price. For example, the comfy and supportive front seats are leather trimmed, as is the steering wheel and shift knob. Bose provides a 12 speaker premium audio system that is stunningly clear and easy to program. Honda's top level Civic also includes a wireless phone charger , and dual zone automatic climate control with filtration system. If you have a budget of $30,000 for a new set of wheels, you can't do better than lay your bet on this fulsome new sedan from Honda.
2022 HONDA CIVIC 1.5T HATCHBACK SPORT TOURING
ENGINE: 1.5 liter inline 4, DOHC, 16-valves, intercooled and turbocharged
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 30MPG City/37MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $30,865
HYPES: Spacious, Better Looking Than Ever, Vibrant Performer
GRIPES: Lacks Station Tuning Knob
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10