Reader Review: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Touring
Calgarian finds it easy being green in retooled, sporty compact
CALGARY — The Honda Civic is a legendary automobile, and to say it plays an important role in the automaker’s lineup would be an understatement. In 2015, the Civic was recognized as Canada’s best-selling passenger car for 18 straight years. But that doesn’t mean the car has been perfect.
“In the past couple of generations I think there was a misstep [on Honda’s part] and that meant a general lack of interest in the updated models – although that doesn’t mean they weren’t still good sellers,” says Steve Dadge, this week’s Calgary-based reader reviewer. “I’ve been reading about the newest 2016 Civic, however, and heard Honda had cured some of the problems and made the car much more interesting.” Dadge got to see for himself, as he spent a week with the all-new 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Touring.
Finished in Energy Green Pearl paint, Dadge’s first reaction upon seeing the car was: “Good grief,” he says, and continues, “I don’t mean that in a negative way. The Civic really cuts an image, and the new design was enhanced by the colour. You really notice the contrasts, and they’re wonderful.”
In other words, colour him impressed.
Completely redesigned, the 10th-generation Civic has earned many accolades, including an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ rating. For 2016, the Civic Coupe has received a new chassis, a larger and quieter cabin, and all-new sheet metal.
The Civic Coupe models range from the LX to the EX-T and the top-of-the-line Touring. The LX is equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, but can be ordered with Honda’s continuously variable transmission (CVT). The EX-T and the Touring feature a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with the CVT.
“The car pulled away from a stop with no sign of turbo lag, and I’ve never driven a CVT before so I didn’t know what to expect of the transmission,” Dadge says of the Civic Coupe Touring model that he drove. “But, it felt just like a normal automatic, as it gets up to certain rev points and then ‘changes’ gears.”
At six feet tall, Dadge says it’s not every car that fits his stature. The Civic Coupe, however, was easy to get into thanks to a low doorsill, and once in the leather-trimmed driver’s seat he found enough headroom to be comfortable – even with the sunroof.
“The contouring of the seatback could be improved, I think, and the seat could have used more lumbar support,” Dadge says. “But overall fit and finish was good inside. Everything fell to hand in terms of the controls, and it was all pretty intuitive. The trunk release latch was just in front of the driver’s door handle, and that’s a very convenient location for that.”
Dadge learned to drive in the south of England using a Vauxhall Victor. After three years in Southeast Asia, he moved to Canada in 1977, and has been in Calgary since then. He’s owned and driven many different vehicles including a Ford LTD and Bronco, as well as a 1984 Honda Civic sedan. Currently, there’s a BMW M325xi and Mercedes-Benz GLK SUV in the driveway; the vehicles serve he and wife Cathie as daily drivers, and either one could be driven on longer road trips to destinations such as Vancouver or California.
Honda says they’ve increased interior space in the Civic Coupe, and to test that theory Dadge moved the passenger seat forward and climbed into the back seat. He says it’s not that tight a fit in terms of legroom, but headroom would be an issue and he’d not want to spend several hours back there.
As the driver of the Civic Coupe, Dadge says, “The engine was really good, and I couldn’t get over the lack of turbo lag – I was very impressed. In the city there’s all kinds of power, it’s very peppy. On the highway, the car’s a very good driver with power and handling to make it somewhat entertaining.
“The underpinnings of the car were good, and the suspension was firm. You could feel bumps in the road, and it wasn’t an annoying sensation because I like to feel what the car is doing.”
The rear passenger seats can be folded forward, increasing overall utility. With the rear seats upright, Dadge reports there’s still plenty of room in the cargo bay.
“There’s easy access to the trunk, and the trunk lid is very well balanced,” he says. “When the latch is released, the lid glides open, and it glides down just as easily.”
Handing back the keys, Dadge says he’d definitely recommend the Civic Coupe.
“It would suit anyone who enjoys a somewhat sporty drive,” he says, and concludes, “It’s a fun car that doesn’t preclude any age – you could be young or old, single or a family. It’s an excellent car for daily use as well as touring.”
Day One: First impression of the Civic Coupe was one of being sporty and distinctive both in terms of design and colour. The driver’s seat height lever needed excessive action (ratcheting) to lower the seat height. Inside appearance was uncluttered and with clean lines. The parking brake was electronic which prompted questions as to on/off settings and, in addition, there was a brake hold button for which the usage was not immediately obvious (i.e. when and/or whether it should be used). The right mirror “camera to screen” proved an innovative and useful feature. The navigation system was familiar as it was a derivative of a mainstream navi system (Garmin). The infotainment screen is nicely built into the dash and proves easy to use. Clear screen; intuitive operation of touchscreen, easy to learn and efficient to use. The CVT was not discernable, it’s very smooth. One can use paddle shift with the transmission, too.
Day Two: Trip to Canmore. While leaving the city paddle down-shifted allowing for engine braking — showed that the CVT is effective at emulating characteristics of an automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. On the highway the vehicle held its speed effortlessly on hills while in cruise mode. The adaptive cruise control was very effective keeping a consistent distance to the car in front while automatically adjusting car speed and returning to cruise speed when possible.
Day Three: The CVT appears seamless. The car underpinnings are good for price range (there is a difference with premium coupes that have better dampened underpinnings and stiffer chassis). Seats look good, but driver’s seat could use some more work.
Day Four: Checking out some of the features; auto rain sensor works well. Eco option available if desired. Door touch to open and close “keyless” is good. Mobile phone charger is built in and very convenient. USB was available but not immediately obvious as to its location. The remote engine starter is built into the key — really useful for those who use remote starting in winter or summer.
Day Five: Canmore (again) and return via Hwy. 8. On trip display: 6 L/100 km out and 4.9 L/100 km return. USB stick functioned well along with music interface. Not overly impressed with the lane departure feature. Potentially the pull on the wheel stands to interfere with other observations of car behaviour in the wind or in icy conditions. Adaptive cruise is excellent but the counterpoint is promotion of a lax driving style.
Day Six: Conducted a random sample of voice control commands for the infotainment system – it worked well. Summing up, Civic Coupe is as happy around town as on the highway – a sporty, fun car with good value with multiple driver conveniences all rolled in. Drivetrain is quite sophisticated. Infotainment system was excellent from ease and efficiency of use standpoints.
Created with Raphaël 2.1.2
Type of vehicle
Compact FWD coupe
1.5L inline-four turbo
174 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 162 lb.-ft. @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
Four-wheel disc w/ABS
P215/50R17 91H all-season w/temp. spare
Price: Base / As Tested
Natural Resources Canada Fuel Economy
(L/100km) 5.6 highway, 7.5 city