2016 Honda Civic Coupe: Honda looks for its 12th Man
By David Miller
Oct. 13, 2016
In an ever-evolving world, 18 years is a long time to be on top. That’s what makes the Honda Civic’s reign as the best-selling passenger car in Canada a remarkable achievement, and by the looks of things, it will be on top for a record 19th year in a row.
To put this into perspective, Vladimir Putin, the current President of the Russian Federation, seems to have been in power forever, but his two terms as President only add up to 12 years, or 16, if you include the period between his terms. Heck, television programs such as Dallas, Cheers and Seinfeld felt like they had long runs, but those only lasted 14, 11 and nine years, respectively.
A lot has changed since 1998, but one thing that remains is the value proposition that the Civic offers: a combination of quality, reliability and sportiness at a reasonable price. After a small slip-up in 2012 that allowed a surge by its main rivals, the Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic is back and better than ever.
Honda currently finds itself in the perfect situation with its Civic. Not only is it killing it in sales, but it will soon corner the market with three body types in sedan, coupe and hatch (to go on sale late in 2016) versions, and with more sporty editions to follow, in the Si and Type-R.
For this review, we took out the 2016 Civic Touring coupe for a week-long spin. This two-door, low-to-the-ground variant may not be the most popular member of the Civic family, but there’s something to be said about its sporty curb appeal, especially when you learn it is fitted with a turbo engine.
Pros & Cons
- + Attention-getting styling
- + Transmission shift quality
- + Sharp handling
- - Rear seat access
- - Conservative interior design
- - Headroom
Driving a different car each week typically means it can take a while to find your press car in a full parking lot. That’s not the case with a Civic coupe dressed in the two-door-exclusive Energy Green Pearl paint, or what I like to call it “Seahawks Green.” I’m an avid “12th Man” fan of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, and to me, the colour felt just right. Perhaps Honda should run a special marketing campaign for this colour in the U.S. Pacific Northwest; they would probably get a lot of takers.
Not only does this colour symbolize a lush green landscape, it also shows off all of the car’s angles and design cuts. Looked at from the front, the coupe has a similar appearance to the sedan, despite its shorter overall length. The front fascia isn’t too flashy with some chrome and swept-back headlights, but when you take a step back and picture someone sticking that entire piece in on an assembly line, it loses a bit of its luster.
The Civic coupe generates more visual excitement when you walk around it and take in its sleek silhouette, dramatic lower body cuts along the side and youthful-looking C-shaped LED taillights.
The coupe’s exterior is on point, but with sleek body sculpting comes a reduction in headroom and overall interior and cargo space.
Getting into the vehicle can also be a challenge for vertically superior individuals. At six feet tall, I felt the need to constantly adjust the seat, as my hair brushed the roofline. That isn’t the easiest of tasks; electric seat controls would help solve this problem, especially in the Touring trim.
Headroom, however, may not be an issue with all people my size. My preference is to sit in an upright position and closer to the wheel, in contrast to the average buyer that may pony up for a coupe. (And yes, I know that sounds prejudiced.)
As for the seats themselves, they were nicely decked out in a two-tone grey scheme, and made the drive comfortable.
Attempting to get into the rear seat was one of the biggest chores here, and I may have pulled a muscle or two in my back trying to get out. Once you’re in there, headroom is once again a problem but surprisingly, there was plenty of legroom to be had. Most people don’t buy a coupe for back seat passengers, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most in the market for a car like this.
At 337 litres (11.9 cu. ft.), there’s enough cargo capacity for two carry-ons and two other small bags, but that’s less than the sedan’s 428 litres (416 in the Touring model). For extra room and versatility, there’s a split-folding rear seat.
Honda, known for its conservative interior design schemes, attempts to bridge the gap between loyal returning buyers and new customers in its latest Civic. It’s a fascinating approach that brings added safety technology with the Honda Sensing package (adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation and lane departure warning), while retaining large, readable fonts to keep its loyal consumers pleased with the past products they’re accustomed to.
In addition, you’ll find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain sensing wipers, SiriusXM satellite radio and Canada-only wireless smartphone charging.
Coupes in EX-T trim and higher get an added safety feature called Honda LaneWatch. It provides a camera view, through the central seven-inch touchscreen, of the roadway on the car’s passenger side that pops up once the right turn signal is engaged. The point is to provide a view of whether there’s a car, bike or pedestrian to your right as you make a lane change or right turn.
I typically don’t like LaneWatch, but visibility is often a problem in coupes and this Civic is no exception. For a week, I enjoyed the comfort of knowing no one was in my blind spot, and wished Honda offered the same function for left turn maneuvers.
The Seahawks call their jersey colour Action Green, and action — and an accompanying growl — is exactly what you get from the Civic’s turbocharged, 1.5-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Acceleration is much livelier than what you get from the 2.0-litre, non-turbo unit (158 hp and 138 lb.-ft. of torque, versus 174 hp/162 lb-ft with the turbo) used in the LX coupe trim and in most Civic sedan trim levels.
The Touring version is only offered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It is smooth in its transitions and and responds well to sudden throttle inputs, and is good at eliminating turbo lag. It’s also not calibrated for fuel efficiency unless you’re in Eco mode, but the best part about Honda’s CVT is that if you didn’t know the car had one, you wouldn’t notice. If you want more control, use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters – another exclusive feature in the coupe and found in EX-T and Touring models.
Along with an ECON mode that boosts fuel economy but makes the drive feel sluggish, there’s a sport mode that truly suits this turbo engine. In sport, the coupe becomes more aggressive as the engine speed rises. All of this action works perfectly with the coupe’s responsive electric power steering. It’s an all-around effortless driving companion that stays planted and balanced in enthusiastic turns.
There were times throughout the week when I wanted to push this car, and others in which I chilled and enjoyed a smooth ride. All of that actions combined for a 6.2 L/100 km fuel consumption average after 225 km of city and highway driving.
The Honda Civic is all about value. The sedan may start at $16,155, but the coupe’s MSRP jets up to $19,455. If you’re looking at my 2016 Touring tester, it gets you up to $27,555.
There’s loads of value in a trio of trims all under $30,000, including this aggressive turbo engine and a comprehensive suite of safety technology. You’re paying more for some extra styling; that’s important for some buyers and the main reason Honda offers this coupe variant in the first place.
The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe brings a bolder, sleeker side to an already cool-looking Civic. It’s not the most practical car, but if you don’t need it to be and don’t have a family to haul around, why not go for something a little bit different? And if you choose that exclusive Energy Green colour, you definitely will stand out.