The Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada for 23 years and Honda certainly intends to see this tradition continue. With ever-increasing competition, the mission becomes more and more a constant challenge.
With the redesign of the model for 2022, it was a good opportunity to make some meaningful changes to ensure the model continues its success.
Has the company done its homework? Overall, yes, but in passing, we discover a Civic that seems to have received a new mission. Last week we went to test drive the 11th generation model and here’s what we found out.
A softened style
The 10th generation of the Civic, the one introduced in September 2015 for the year 2016, offered a very polarizing style. On the one hand, its defenders who finally thought the Civic had style. On the other, its detractors who wondered what the designers of the model had inhaled.
This kind of debate will not take place with the new generation, because Honda played the card of conservatism. Everything has been smoothed out, in fact, both for the body and the interior, which benefits from a new, streamlined approach where the center of attention is… the driver.
Inside, you get a simplified approach, but it works. We quickly find our bearings with the settings of the seat that welcomes us or with the controls; the latter easily falling into our hands. Of course, it will take more time to analyze the new interface of the multimedia system, but at first glance its operation is simple. The same applies to the instrument cluster with a digital display in the model we tested (Touring in Canada). Clear information, highly configurable and easy to consult; it’s hard to find fault with this new display.
In fact, if one thing quickly became irritating during our test drive, it was the intervention of certain features of the Honda Sensing suite, such as the lane departure warning.
If you’re interested in the sedan version of the Civic, there are four trim levels to choose from. That said, even in the base model you will find the essentials. Here’s how it breaksdown for Canada.
LX: You now have to pay $ 24,465 to qualify for the base model of the Civic. We are a long way from the roughly $ 15,000 that was the norm 10 years ago. At least, the equipment is more adequate with a seven-inch color touchscreen, the integration of Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto applications, heated front seats, push-button start, an instrument cluster showing partial digital instrumentation, a 60/40 divisible rear seat, as well as LED headlights.
EX: By adding $ 2300, which brings us to $ 26,765, we take advantage of a few interesting elements, including 16-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated steering wheel, integrated turn signals in the mirrors and a dual-zone climate system.
Sport: Here the name says almost everything. In fact, for $ 27,865 you mostly get a model that takes on a sportier look with low-profile 18-inch wheels, black exterior accents, and a chrome exhaust tip. On board, sport pedals, paddle shifters, and a new Sport driving mode are included.
Touring: Finally, for $ 30,265, you get a larger 9-inch screen for the multimedia system, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, wireless access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, wireless internet connection, as well as wireless charging for cellular devices.
When it comes to engines, the equation is simple. With the first three proposals, we give you the base unit, a 2-liter 4-cylinder that announces 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. You won’t always be the fastest with the latter, but you will always reach your destination; we are talking about a model for reliability.
With the Touring model, Honda gives you a little more thanks to the work of a 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder, an engine that we have come to know from the previous generation. With 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, it delivers great speed under acceleration. The latter, however, is void of any kind of sporty feeling because unfortunately, Honda only gives you a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with this engine.
A serious misstep here. Whether or not you want the manual transmission is not the question. The 2022 Honda Civic has always been offered with this type of box and it’s a more economical way to offer the model. Is Honda forgetting its roots?
The manual gearbox will be available with the hatchback model, which will be presented on June 23, a small consolation.
Driving: a real Civic?
One of the things that always makes a Civic so charming is its handling. Simple, but dynamic and committed. It has always been fun to get behind the wheel of a model. With the last generation, this was even more true, as the engineers found an interesting recipe to provide a balanced experience for drivers.
Is it better with the new generation? Yes, but the step forward is more modest. We rediscover a well-balanced car. Comfort, steering, soundproofing, braking, handling, everything has been well balanced to please the masses. What we may have lost, or at least not improved upon, is the incisive character of the model. True with a CVT it’s hard to find.
What you can see, however, is this heralded improvement in chassis stiffness (torsion and flexion). It’s not huge, but noticeable when you push the car. With better tires, it would be even more interesting and probably even more noticeable.
Still, we have a good time behind the wheel and as such, the Civic delivers exactly what its future buyer will expect from it. Only, for those nostalgic for the model, this car may no longer have the same soul, at least in its sedan configuration.
And there is that base price of $ 25,000 which is disappointing. The quality is there, but with an even more enticing entry offer and a manual transmission, the essence of the Civic would still be there.
The new Civic is improved, don’t doubt it. However, we had taken such a step forward with the last generation that the progress is more modest here. Some will like the new style or the simplified and more user-friendly interior presentation. However, despite the step forward, we discover a model who is dressed up, for better or for worse. This is why we are talking about a new mission for the model. And let’s not forget the main mission; remain the most popular in its segment.
Fortunately, for those who want more, the 5-door variant, or even the possible Si (or Type R) will offer more excitement.