Latest Honda Civic review
– Detroit, Michigan
This is the cheapest 2016 Honda Civic Coupe you can buy. Actually, let’s call it least expensive – there’s nothing cheap looking or feeling about this base, two-door coupe. And in fact, after spending some time with a very loaded (but very good), $26,960 Touring Coupe a couple months ago, I find this $19,885 LX model to be a refreshing look at what life is like on the base end. Make no mistake, all of the tenth-generation Civic’s goodness is still plentiful in this value model.
- This car stickers for under $20,000, including destination, but it sure doesn’t feel like a base model. The radio headunit isn’t egregiously downmarket – it’s not a touchscreen, sure, but what it lacks in pretty colors and functionality it makes up for in an actual volume knob. Beyond that, the whole cabin still looks clean and modern, with nice gauges in the instrument panel and easy-to-use controls for heating and cooling. What’s more, it’s really quiet inside, and all of the cabin materials feel great – plastics, sure, but good soft-touch ones with nice graining and impeccable fit-and-finish.
- Honda continues to prove its mastery of the manual transmission here in the base Civic, with a shifter that’s big on feel and light on action. Similarly, the clutch is nicely weighted with plenty of feedback, allowing crisp shifts at all times, whether you’re really hammering it or just moving through rush hour traffic.
- I love the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine of higher-end Civics, but this naturally aspirated 2.0-liter mill doesn’t feel like a total dog. It makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty of grunt for this 2,739-pound coupe, and it’s not buzzy or coarse like a lot of small four-pot engines.
- This might be the best-driving car you can get for under $20,000. Honda’s light-but-accurate steering does wonders here, and the chassis is forgiving over bumps and potholes without being a total wash in terms of stability. That said, if it were my money, I’d probably option up to the slightly more aggressive 17-inch wheel and tire package ($1,812) – the standard 16s look an inch too small to my eyes, and there’s surely a slight handling benefit to fitting the bigger rubber.
- Though I applaud the Civic’s steering wheel for its small overall diameter and decent heft, I don’t really get the weird ribbed rubber (make your own jokes) surface on the top part of the tiller. Reminds me of the weird, multi-textured steering wheel cover my stepmom had on her 1997 Civic.
- Not that it matters to a ton of people, but this is the only way to get a manual transmission in the Civic for now. Soon, though, Honda will pair the more powerful (and more efficient) 1.5T to the six-speed stick, and I expect that’ll be a super sweet setup.
- Much as I like the styling, the hatchback-ish shape is a little deceiving. It makes me wonder if anyone will notice this two-door once the five-door Civic goes on sale.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com