By Allyson Harwood
KBB Expert Rating: 9.6
Completely redesigned for 2016, the Honda Civic sedan has beautiful new exterior styling, two new engines that are both more powerful and more fuel-efficient, and is sportier than ever without sacrificing ride comfort. The Civic is known for its reliability, resale value and safety, yet injects entertaining driving dynamics into the equation. There is no shortage of value, either, as many safety and convenience features come standard and, even though there are more features for 2016, some trim levels are near (or below) 2015 prices. Also, a coupe, 5-door hatch, and Si and Type-R variants are on the way. All of this keeps the Honda Civic a strong contender against the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and Kia Forte.
The Honda Civic takes its segment benchmark status even farther for 2016. Honda builds on the sedan's stellar foundation of strong reliability, safety, comfort and resale value with more upscale options at a value price. Whether you lean toward practicality or performance, there's a Civic for you.
If you're looking for alternative-fuel or hybrid solutions, the Civic doesn't offer them, and if you want a manual transmission with anything but the sedan's base engine and base model, you'll have to wait until other Civic variants go on sale.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Honda Civic sedan is all-new for 2016, with new engines, dramatically different styling, new trim levels, and new safety and tech features. In addition to the sedan, there will be a coupe, 5-door hatch, and Si and Type-R variants. The compressed natural gas and hybrid models have been discontinued.
The 2016 Honda Civic manages to successfully serve as both a practical, reliable sedan and a fun, sporty model that has some of the best steering, handling and driving dynamics...
... in the segment. The new Civic is decidedly sportier than last year, without sacrificing ride comfort, and it is agile and responsive when cornering. The Honda Civic feels both spry and stable, yet its highway demeanor is neither firm nor mushy. With the optional 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Civic has plenty of get up and go. This engine is one of the most powerful in its class, and definitely the one to get. Power delivery is surprisingly smooth, thanks in large part to an excellent continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). With the turbo and CVT pairing you get up to 31 mpg in the city and 42 on the highway, which is better than in the less powerful, but competent, 2.0-liter four.
This suite of safety features includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning. Honda Sensing and LaneWatch, the blind-spot camera available on the 2016 Civic, round out an impressive list of safety features.
The 2016 Civic is available with features that you don’t typically see in a compact car. There's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start, smart entry, driver memory settings, and remote engine start. There's also an electric parking brake, hill-start assist and seat heaters for rear passengers.
The new Civic is longer than the previous model, and now boasts best-in-class interior volume. Not only is it roomy, but the redesigned interior is enveloped in premium materials. The quality of the leather and plastics inside is top-notch for the segment, and the light gray leather seats use an appealing black accent strip down the middle. The available navigation system runs through a large, easy-to-read screen, which also serves as the control center for audio, CarPlay and climate control. This interior is so nice, it looks like it came out of a more expensive car.
Sweeping, elegant lines and a clean, modern design set the 2016 Honda Civic apart from its rivals, as well as from previous generations. LED headlights and daytime running accent lights give the nose a fresh, crisp look, and the lower, wider stance makes the sedan more athletic than in the past. The sedan's clean lines improve aerodynamics, a plus when it comes to fuel economy, and its long sloping roofline also allow for a huge trunk. This sedan is sportier, more sophisticated and more modern at once, and it's simply better looking than you expect a compact sedan to be.
The base 2016 Honda Civic LX comes standard with a rearview camera, LED daytime running lights, hill-start assist, an electric parking brake, an electronic remote trunk release, a capless fuel filler, Bluetooth, speed-sensitive stereo volume control, automatic climate control, and power windows and cruise control. You only need to move up to the midlevel Civic, the new EX-T trim, to get the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine standard.
There are several new features offered in the Civic, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All trim levels are available with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features that includes adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning. Also available are LaneWatch, which uses a camera to show you what's in the right-side blind spot, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 450-watt, 10-speaker audio system, a one-touch power moonroof and LED headlights.
The sedan comes with a choice of two engines and two transmissions. The base engine, a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, is available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an excellent continuously variable automatic transmission. This engine offers 15 more horsepower than the 1.8-liter engine it replaces. For the smartest choice you can make, step up to the turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is not only more powerful, with 174 horsepower, but also more fuel efficient: The 1.5-liter's fuel economy is only slightly lower than that of last year's Civic Hybrid.
158 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
138 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/40 mpg (manual), 31/41 mpg (automatic)
1.5-liter turbo inline-4
174 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/42 mpg
The new Civic sedan is available in five trim levels. The base LX, which is equipped with the 2.0-liter four and 6-speed manual transmission, starts at $19,475, only $165 more than it cost in 2015. The next level up, the Civic EX, starts at $21,875, which is less than it cost in 2015. The new EX-T adds the 1.5-liter turbo engine and starts at $22,200. The EX-L begins at $23,035, and the new fully loaded Touring trim has a base price of $27,335. Those are some pretty competitive prices against compact sedans like the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and
Mazda Mazda3. While those start in the $18,000 range, none matches the Civic’s comprehensive standard features. Be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2016 Honda Civic. Historically, the Honda Civic has one of the strongest 5-year residual values in the compact segment.