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2016 Honda Civic: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2015

Ever since its original debut decades ago, the Honda Civic has been continuously growing up, and the 2016 Honda Civic is the most evolved model yet. Boasting increased dimensions, new styling, an enhanced interior, a revised powertrain lineup and a long list of new features, the latest Civic is dramatically redesigned compared to its predecessor. We like what we see.

And what exactly is that? On the inside, it's more interior room, especially in back and in the trunk. Under the hood, there's a new turbocharged powertrain offering better fuel economy. On the outside, there's handsome new styling that helps the latest Civic look more upscale and modern than last year's model. The best change is to the car's equipment list, as the latest Civic has now leapfrogged its way to the top of the list of today's most technologically advanced small cars.

All in all, even the most loyal Civic drivers will have a lot to familiarize themselves with if they choose the new model. It's a big upgrade over last year's version.

What's New for 2016?

The Civic is fully redesigned for 2016, touting new interior and exterior styling, new features, new equipment, new gadgets and new powertrains.

What We Like

Handsome new look; even better fuel economy; larger interior; way more equipment

What We Don't

Getting surprisingly large; prices rising faster than some rivals

How Much?

$19,500-$27,500

Fuel Economy

For now, the 2016 Civic is offered with two engines. Base models use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which makes 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired to either a 6-speed manual transmission, which delivers up to 27 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which helps it achieve up to 31 mpg city/41 mpg hwy.

Drivers who upgrade to the Civic EX-T, EX-L, and Touring receive a different engine, a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Only offered with a CVT, this engine returns an excellent 31 mpg city/42 mpg hwy.

At the moment, the hybrid-powered Civic Hybrid and the sporty Civic Si have not yet been released, and they may not make the cut for 2016, but we expect to see them back in the lineup before long, along with a promised Civic Type R that should boast even more performance than the Civic Si.

Standard Features & Options

The Civic sedan comes in five trim levels, including base-level LX, midlevel EX, EX-T and EX-L and upscale Touring. Pricing is not yet available for the Civic Coupe, due out in the spring, but we expect it will offer similar trim levels with a slight premium over the sedan.

The LX ($19,500) offers automatic headlights, a backup camera, a 5-inch center display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4-speaker stereo, USB connectivity, power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control and LED running lights.

The EX ($21,100) adds Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, along with a 7-in center screen, a power sunroof, heated mirrors, keyless access with a remote starter, push-button starting and the HondaLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and text-message functionality.

Above that is the EX-T ($23,100), which boasts the turbocharged engine, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and SiriusXM radio with HD Radio.

Next up is the EX-L ($24,500), which adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver's seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Topping the lineup is the Touring ($27,300), which adds Honda's excellent Honda Sensing suite of safety features (forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control), along with a navigation system, LED headlights, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat, a 10-speaker sound system and automatic wipers.

The Civic offers just two options, the Honda Sensing system, which is available on all trim levels, and a navigation system, which is offered on the EX-L.

Safety

Because it's so new, the 2016 Civic has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

But the sedan offers a wide array of safety features. Standard equipment includes side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and a backup camera, while options run the gamut from forward-collision warning with automatic braking to adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning. In terms of safety features, it's hard to say the Civic isn't at the very top of the compact-car segment.

Behind the Wheel

The latest Civic offers upgrades in every area, and it shows. We like the new powertrains, and we think the 2.0-liter engine offers pleasing performance regardless of transmission choice. The 1.5-liter turbo is definitely quicker, though, even in spite of its mandatory CVT. Speaking of the CVT, Honda has done a great job of tuning the transmission, so it's quiet and unobtrusive in the latest Civic.

Inside, the Civic offers upgrades to both ride comfort and handling. The steering and chassis setup ensures that the latest Civic is impressively flat in the corners, while the stiffer body structure contributes to an overall serenity and quietness in the cabin, whether you're going around a curve or driving on the highway. Interior room is improved, also, with more space in the front and back for passengers and in the trunk for their stuff.

Speaking of the interior, we're also impressed with the latest Civic's improvements in quality. The interior offers nicer materials, better touch points and improved design touches, whether you're in the base-level LX or the high-end Touring.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Hyundai Elantra -- Hyundai's compact Elantra offers bold styling and reasonable pricing, along with the best warranty in the business.

2015 Mazda Mazda3 -- The Mazda3 touts roughly the same level of impressive technology as the Civic. It also offers sharper handling and a hatchback variant, but not as much interior space.

2016 Toyota Corolla -- Although the Corolla formerly held an upper hand over the small Honda, we think the Civic now has the advantage, especially considering its long list of high-tech features the Corolla doesn't offer.

Used Honda Accord -- If you like the Civic's equipment, features and dependability, but you need more interior room, you'll probably want to consider an Accord. The larger Honda touts many of the same benefits, but it's priced higher, so you may need to find a used example.

Autotrader's Advice

The fully redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is now one of our favorite compact cars, and the EX-T is probably our favorite Civic, especially if you add the Sensing package. It offers everything you need without any high-end, pricey extras.

Find a Honda Civic for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2016 Honda Civic EX-T Sedan
Used 2016 Honda Civic
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Used 2016 Honda Civic EX Sedan
Used 2016 Honda Civic
$17,950
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Used 2016 Honda Civic EX Sedan
Used 2016 Honda Civic
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Used 2016 Honda Civic LX Sedan
Used 2016 Honda Civic
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Honda Civic: New Car Review - Autotrader