2016 Honda Civic Sedan: More style, substance
The wraps finally came off of the all-new 2016 Civic Sedan during its global reveal at YouTube Space LA. While the automaker chose to hold back a number of specific details regarding its all-new 10th generation Civic until the first drives take place later this month, we can tell you this reinvented 4-door represents a major leap in thinking and execution. Larger, more sophisticated and more powerful than its current counterpart, "it's quite simply the most ambitious remake of Civic we've ever done," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co, Inc. The Sedan will be the first of five new Civic variants, with a Coupe, high-performance Si, 5-door Hatchback and ultimately the first-ever U.S.-spec Type-R to follow.
The 2016 Civic Sedan has greater presence thanks to its combination of dramatic new styling and larger footprint. Nearly two inches wider but an inch lower and with shorter front/rear overhangs than the present model, it leverages these proportional changes with bolder bodywork. Jarad Hall, Senior Exterior Designer and project leader of the Civic Sedan, Honda R&D Americas says the new shapes "give the car a crouched and muscular look, like a tiger ready to pounce." Edgier body contours and a sweeping roofline are set off with equally aggressive LED lighting, including segment-first standard LED headlamps on upper level trims. While less obvious, the new Civic also features full underbody fairings that improve aero efficiency by 12 percent.
Lighter yet stronger
At the core of the 2016 Civic Sedan is a new center structure that makes greater use of high-strength steel to cut 68 pounds from the unit body while increasing torsional rigidity by 25 percent. The chassis benefits from a similar remake including a new multilink rear suspension, variable gear-ratio steering, Agile Handling Assist brake-torque vectoring and hydraulic compliance bushings that Honda promises will set new standards for dynamic handling, steering and ride quality.
Motivation for the new Civic Sedan comes in two forms, both all-new direct-injected 4-cylinder twin-cam Earth Dreams engines that boast more power and better efficiency. The LE and EX models get a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter i-VTEC that develops 165 horsepower -- 15 more than the current base Civic engine. It can be paired with either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic (CVT). The EX-T, EX-L and range-topping Touring variants are fitted with a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine -- the first turbo unit ever used in a U.S. Honda. Developing 181 horsepower -- the most ever for any non-Si Civic -- it will be backed by a specifically tuned version of the CVT. In addition to bolstering overall performance, Honda says both engines are expected to earn EPA highway ratings in excess of 40 mpg.
The Civic Sedan's cabin was remade with the goal of having best-in-class look, feel, space and sophistication. Complementing its cleaner, more user-friendly overall design are an additional 3.7 cu-ft of passenger space as well as 2.0 inches of extra rear-seat legroom. Among the many new model-dependent standard/available features are an upgraded infotainment package that brings a 7-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and 4-way power front passenger's seat, heated front/rear seats and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench on all but the LX. Cargo toting also has been made easier thanks to a 2.7-cu ft larger trunk that features a lower liftover height.
Finally, Honda will offer the new Civic Sedan with an array of driver assists including its Honda Sensing suite that includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation and, for the first time in any Honda product, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. We'll soon know how well all of this comes together in the real world. But even at this point, the 2016 Honda Civic Sedan appears more than ready to take it to key rivals like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.