Honda went back to the drawing board with the new, 10th generation Civic that was unveiled today during a special event in Los Angeles. We often hear automakers present revised iterations of existing models as all-new cars, but Honda means it with the 2016 Civic that brings a bolder and sleeker appearance reminiscent of what other brands call four-dour coupes, a new chassis, new tech, new engines and even a new body style for America – a five-door hatch.
In LA, the Japanese carmaker introduced the sedan model that will kick off the range later this year, followed by a coupe, high-performance Si models, the aforementioned 5-door hatchback, and another first for the US market, a Civic Type R model to rival the Ford Focus RS. The latter is believed to carry a version of the European model’s (built in Ohio) 306hp 2.0-liter turbo four.
Speaking of force-fed mills, one of the two new launch engines on the 2016 Civic Sedan is a 1.5-liter direct-injected and turbocharged 16-valve inline-4, mated to a CVT – the first turbo’d engine on a U.S. Honda model. It will be available in EX-T, EX-L trims and Touring trims. According to Honda exec Sage Marie, this unit will produce around “30hp” more than the current 1.8L unit, which puts it to 173hp.
The other engine is a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder for the base LX, which Marie said will be the most powerful base engine ever offered on Civic producing 15hp more at 158hp. Buyers will be able to choose between a 6-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Honda said that both engines “are targeted to receive EPA highway fuel economy ratings in excess of 40 mpg”.
The new 2016 Civic Sedan is nearly 2 inches wider (albeit 1 inch lower) with a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase than the existing model, yet it’s 68 pounds (31kg) lighter than before. Honda says that it offers an additional 3.7 cubic feet of interior space with 2 inches of extra rear-seat legroom, while trunk space has been increased by 2.6 cubic feet (73 liters) – but it’s not clear if this number is based on regular measurements or the slightly / grossly deceiving SAE methodology.
The new chassis features a revamped strut front suspension and a new multi-link rear suspension mounted to an ultra-rigid rear subframe, while other notable changes include variable gear ratio steering, beefier front and rear stabilizer bars, standard 4-wheel disc brakes and the application of Honda’s Agile Handling Assist brake-torque vectoring technology.
Torsional rigidity of the new body is improved by 25 percent, thanks in part to the more intensive use of ultra-high-strength steel (12 percent vs 1 percent).
And oh, during the presentation of the Civic, Marie said that the compact model will be “super fun to drive”, but that’s something we’ll have to see for ourselves.
On the equipment front, the Civic will introduce a few novelties such as optional LED headlights and a 7-inch high-definition Display Audio touchscreen for Honda’s Android-based infotainment system that works with bothApple CarPlay and Android Auto, while standard features have been improved throughout the range.
“This tenth-generation Civic is quite simply the most ambitious remake of Civic we’ve ever done,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co, Inc. “We are bringing more new technology and innovative thinking to Civic than ever before to establish a new benchmark for fun-to-drive performance, fuel efficiency, safety performance and refinement in the compact class.”