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TESTED: New 2022 Honda Civic Is Slower But Still Our Favorite

2022 Honda Civic Picture
  • At our test track, the new Civic 1.5T was about a full second slower to 60 mph than the outgoing Civic 1.5T
  • It's still Edmunds' top-ranked small sedan thanks to its all-around excellence

In the end, what matters about the fully redesigned 2022 Honda Civic is that it remains the best sedan in its class. We ranked the outgoing Civic No.1 among small sedans to its dying day, and now that we've tested the new Civic, we can report that it won't be giving up that crown anytime soon.

In our instrumented testing, however, we uncovered something strange about the 2022 Civic. Despite utilizing essentially the same turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) as its predecessor — in fact, Honda cites "powertrain improvements" that "increase performance" — our test car needed 7.9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph.

So what? Well, in our testing of the previous Civic sedan with the "1.5T" engine and the CVT, we managed a 6.7-second dash to 60. It's not unusual these days for a new model to be only incrementally faster, but a 1.2-second deficit? That merits a closer look.

Why is the 2022 Civic slower than its predecessor?

If your first thought was weight, you weren't wrong. Our 2022 Honda Civic Touring test car weighed in at 3,081 pounds on our scales, while back in December 2015 those same scales measured our 2016 Honda Civic Touring test car at 2,920 pounds. OK, so the new Civic Touring comes standard with an extra 160-pound passenger. That's not nothing.

But it's not going to add 1.2 seconds to the sprint to 60, either. What else can we look at? How about weather? It's no secret that turbocharged cars don't like heat. Sure enough, on the day we tested the 2022 Civic, it was a toasty 77 degrees, whereas the 2016 Civic was tested on a 60-degree day.

So that must be it, right? An extra 160 pounds plus a too-hot turbo. Check this out, though. In early 2016, we tested another 2016 Civic sedan with the 1.5T/CVT powertrain. It too weighed in at 2,920 pounds. At the drag strip, it threw down a 6.9-second run to 60 — still a second faster than the 2022 Civic's best time.

The temperature that day? 80 degrees.


A tale of three Civics

We still haven't answered the question then. Truth is, we're not entirely sure why our 2022 Civic Touring test car brings up the rear among this trio. Here are the numbers in full if you want to geek out with us. As noted, all three test cars were sedans with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and the CVT.

Edmunds logo
Test Car
2016 Honda Civic Touring12/1/1560 deg2,920 lbs6.7 sec14.8 sec @ 95.7 mph
2016 Honda Civic Touring2/23/1680 deg2,920 lbs6.9 sec15.1 @ 93.4 mph
2022 Honda Civic Touring5/24/2177 deg3,081 lbs7.9 sec15.9 sec @ 90.2 mph

One thing we haven't discussed yet is "trap speed," or the speed the car's traveling at the quarter-mile mark. Here again the new Civic is oddly behind the times. You can see that the second 2016 Civic had a lower trap speed than the first, which we can attribute to the 20-degree bump in temperature. But on a day that was three degrees cooler, the 2022 Civic was 3.2 mph slower.

For the record, the 1.5T engine's nominal output has actually gone up for 2022, checking in at 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque versus the previous version's 174 hp and 162 lb-ft.

Edmunds says

Will the performance of our first 2022 Honda Civic test car prove to be an anomaly? We'd be surprised if Honda loaned us a car that was short a few ponies, but we look forward to seeing whether future 2022 Civics can raise their game in our testing. In the meantime, we'll keep singing the praises of Honda's latest little gem. It's a great car no matter what the stopwatch says — read our full review and rating for all the details.