The new Honda Civic Touring, a design throwback to the ’90s Accord, is a category leader among Gen Zs and Millennials. And a great car for the price, writes Dan Neal.
Our guests, the 2022 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring—representing the new, 11th design generation of the Civic Compact (available in sedan and hatchback body styles)—will test an untrained theory in the showroom, a post peak-car strategy. Call it the Civic Classic. Here, the US-market Civic is nearing its final stage of development, taking back the ’90s accord while retaining this more formal-looking exterior and understated grille design. see it? Also note the lower hoodline and hidden windshield wipers, which helped create the old Civic’s expansive world view.
The cabin’s decor—smart and simple, cheap and cheerful—is just as brand new, yet somehow archaic, as in the “Friends” reunion episode. The signature bit inside is a panel of metal honeycomb trim that bisects the flat dash, which, like the old Porsche, hides the air vents. Climate controls are in the traditional three-dial presentation.
There’s a big touchscreen on the dash, but no one is playing World of Warcraft here. The “new touchscreen,” Honda said, features a simplified navigation structure with a physical volume knob, larger, easily recognizable icons and fewer embedded menus. On the left are hard buttons for the Home and Back functions. It is like the Civic Big Type Edition. Now dad will stop yelling while driving your car.
Under the hood is one of Honda’s fine turbocharged engines of suitable displacement (1.5 litres), power (180 hp) and consumption (34 mpg combined), buttoned to a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive.
And all. The 11th generation Civic wants to exit the blissful era of annual updates and cosmetic changes. Honda likes this pony no matter where it is.
Looks like they are reading my mail. Readers always ask me to recommend a car that is comfortable, safe, simple, efficient and, if possible, a car that looks like a runaway air conditioner (Toyota Corolla) or a twisted bottle opener on a catastrophe. No (Nissan Sentra).
I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes when I first read Honda’s hype about “revisiting the timeless design concepts of last-generation civics.” Oh yes, the Civic is an aftermarket Vitruvius. But I quickly recovered. The Civic scratch itch is a longing for automotive certainty, for style and function that will somehow be more durable, less perishable, in the years to come. This return to maturity has been brought to you by the wisdom of young people.
As for the pride of ownership: the Civic’s new formality is the result of the first time the base of the windshield pillars has been moved 2 inches to the rear and the wheelbase has been extended by 1.4 inches. These changes visibly lengthen the hood profile and align the pillars with the front wheel center, giving the Civic the axle-to-dash ratio more characteristic of a rear-drive car. These proportions are naturally considered prestige symbols in the auto-cultural lexicon of the West. At least it doesn’t look like a compromise.
Much of the Civic’s re-engineering is invisible to consumers, improving passenger safety and collision resilience. The structural rigidity and side-impact protection of the unit-body have been reinforced, which pays dividends in handling along with reducing noise-vibration-stiffness. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Civic a top safety pick. IIHS is one of the more determined judges of these things. The Civic also gets Honda’s latest front airbags that are designed to reduce traumatic brain injury. Can’t wait to try.
But most of the Civic’s innovations are on the value side: Our Touring Edition sedan out-the-door was $29,515, which includes delivery and a tank of gas.
Now you’re talking, Mr. Honda. Now my attention is on you. Because – even though I usually like my cars a little faster (0-60 mph in about 8 seconds) and generally prefer transmissions that don’t moan like a haunted house – for 30 grand Civic Touring is fantastic! For 30 thousand it is a silver spacecraft, a superyacht, an Arab stallion with a horseshoe studded with diamonds. For 30 Grand, it’s Magna Carta and Honda is the old King John.
If I look bullish on the price, it’s only because I recently made some purchases on the 30-tu range. Oh, is that so. There are some beautiful tad chickens in this segment. The Civic’s touch-and-feel—leather-trimmed seats, wheels and shifter—its instrumentation, quotient of active-safety features, all recommend themselves highly for the price.
If these are road manners and refinements that the Civic will take on in the near future, that’s good. Chassis changes were mostly refinements to various elastomeric components, bushings and such, MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear. Overall the ride quality is lively but still it can be a bit unstable at times. The e-assisted electric steering makes the Civic’s head swiveling well. But if you open the throttle while the front tires are turning, the grip is slowly and gently but far away. I think a set of summer tires would be transformative. Oh well, we’re keeping it under 30 grand.
It’s also fair to say that the Civic looks ahead. The company says the new design uses Honda’s new, single-camera sensor for its Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS), which provides a “wider field of view than previous radar-and-camera based systems.” With new software and a more powerful processor, the system is able to “more quickly and accurately identify road lines and road signs as well as pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.”
What a great little car for the money. The single experiential aspect of the Civic is its internal-combustion engine which is the backing track of fricative flatulence, snoring and moose. The rest feel like immortals. I can’t wait for the Electric Civic. for $30,000.
2022 Honda Civic Touring Sedan
Price, as tested: $29,515
Powertrain: turbocharged 1.5-litre inline four with variable valve timing and stop/start function; continuously variable transmission (CVT); Driven by front wheels.
Power / Torque: 180 horsepower at 6,000 rpm/177 lb-ft at 1,700-4,500 rpm
Length/Width/Height/Wheelbase: 184.0/70.9/55.7/107.7 inches
curb weight: 3,077 pounds
0-60 mph: 8 seconds (East)
EPA fuel economy: 31/38/34 mpg, city/highway/combined
Luggage space: 14.4 cubic feet
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