Honda's new Civic sedan uses the same engine options as its predecessor. The base 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine is carried over, but with a new catalyst and idle-stop system. Power outputs are the same as before, though, at 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine boasts the same upgrades as the N/A engine, but power has been increased this time around to 180 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to counteract the increase in weight, which will likely mean the Civic's acceleration figures will be similar to that of the last-gen models.
Honda Civic performance is as expected; Honda doesn't claim 0-60 times or top speed figures, but lightning-fast acceleration is hardly the point of a family sedan. We will say that the two Honda Civic engine options are adequately powerful and will continue to serve the model well going forward. Unlike rivals like Mazda and Subaru that boast AWD availability, the Civic drivetrain remains FWD.
Two available powertrains have been carried over from before, with the LX and Sport making do with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-pot. Its outputs remain identical to before at 158 hp and 138 lb-ft, despite some mechanical changes, and like before, the Civic is a strictly FWD machine. There's no manual transmission on offer, with power routed instead via a CVT - Honda dubs the base one an M-CVT - with paddles available on the Sport trim.
On the EX and Touring, the news is that the turbocharged 1.5-liter gets more power for the new model with 180 hp and 177 lb-ft. They also get a different CVT transmission dubbed the LL-CVT, with the Touring getting a pair of steering-mounted paddle shifters.
The CVT transmissions have been updated as well. Honda says both units will downshift earlier during braking, while the transmission on the Honda Civic with the turbo has modified torque converter performance.
We spent our test time in the Touring trim of the new Honda Civic, out on the best roads southeastern Michigan has to offer. We immediately enjoyed the extra 15 lb-ft of torque, though the extra six hp on the Honda Civic were a little harder to pick out. Its continuously variable transmission feels like it's tuned in a sportier fashion than before, even without hitting the new Sport mode button.
Once you've resigned yourself to the fact that there's no manual transmission here, the best thing you can do is learn to use the CVT properly. We've found that if you put your foot down about three-quarters of the way, the revs climb slowly, the speeds quickly, and then you can just let off when you get to your desired speed. It's not as fun as a manual, or an automatic with paddle shifters, or just an automatic, but you can make the best of it. And there is something to be said about going from 0 to 60 mph without a lull in torque for a shift.
No matter the transmission, Sport mode does liven things up, though it only changes the powertrain response, not the chassis or steering. The revs start out high and only get higher, hanging right around 6,000 rpm to get that entire fleet of 180 horses in a full stampede. If you flatten the pedal at a medium speed, it does make faux gear changes, and it sounds okay, though we wouldn't want to see one of those with the cheap, buzzy mufflers. At expressway speeds, in Sport, it feels very quick with the revs hanging high.
|Honda Civic Sedan Trims||LX Sedan||Sport Sedan||EX Sedan||Touring Sedan|
|Honda Civic Sedan Engines||2.0L Inline-4 Gas||2.0L Inline-4 Gas||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|Honda Civic Sedan Horsepower||158 hp @ 6500 rpm||158 hp @ 6500 rpm||180 hp @ 6000 rpm||180 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|Honda Civic Sedan Transmissions||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)|
|Honda Civic Sedan Drivetrains||FWD||FWD||FWD||FWD|
Honda says the 11th-gen is the most rigid in Civic history, with an 8% improvement in torsional rigidity and 13 percent improvement in bending rigidity versus the previous generation. All of that improves ride, handling, and NVH. And it's noticeable. Maybe not when you first get in, but after we tested the 10th-gen back-to-back with this one, the improvements were easy to feel.
Body movements are more controlled, especially over the little, rhythmic bumps that make your car bounce all over the place. Jiggles were muted over the broken edges of the road as well. It has an extra 1.4 inches in its wheelbase, along with new lower ball joints on the MacPherson strut front suspension, which provide smooth (but maybe a little slower than we'd like) turn in and easy following of sweeping curves. Honda also says that the reduced suspension friction and improved bushings help reduce harsh road shock by 20 percent, and that too was felt in the smoothness of the ride.
We will say the new Civic is fun to hustle around back roads, but we're even more excited for the hatch, and eventually a six-speed manual transmission.
The result of fine tuning the existing engines has resulted in improved gas mileage. While the increases are marginal, the previous Civic was already impressive in this particular segment.
According to the EPA, the entry-level 2.0 LX can achieve 31/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined, while the 2.0 Sport takes a slight dip to 30/37/33 mpg. The Turbo EX is capable of 33/42/36 mpg, while the sportier Touring comes with claimed figures of 31/38/34 mpg.
All models are equipped with a 12.4-gallon tank, which gives the most efficient model (Turbo EX) an estimated driving range of 446 miles.