2016 Honda Civic: A CVT I Can Recommend
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on April 27, 2016
A whole lot of vehicles these days employ fuel-efficient continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), and that's generally bad news for the driving experience. Many CVT-equipped cars are only too happy to peg the tachometer needle near redline during acceleration, making the engine sound like a distressed vacuum cleaner until you ease off.
But I've finally found a CVT-based powertrain that I enjoy interacting with, and it's right here in our long-term 2016 Honda Civic.
The secret sauce is the combination of the CVT's multi-step acceleration programming and the turbocharged engine's robust midrange torque. When you press the gas pedal down about halfway, the CVT boosts you up to roughly 3,000-4,000 rpm, rather than screaming toward 6,000 rpm like more primitive CVTs. It's an in-between option that plays well with the plentiful turbo thrust.
I rarely find myself putting my foot to the floor; there's more than enough juice in the midrange for daily driving. And because it's not being flogged mercilessly, the engine doesn't make a racket. Perfect pairing.
Some have complained that the turbocharged Civic doesn't have paddle shifters for a simulated manual mode, but if you ask me, it doesn't need 'em. I'm with Ed — this is one CVT-having vehicle that I can genuinely recommend, just the way it is.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 2,579 miles