2016 Honda Civic: Highway Cruising With Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Intervention
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 1, 2016
We still haven't taken any multi-day road trips in our 2016 Honda Civic, but I've taken it on a couple five-hour drives recently. Based on those drives, I think the new Civic will be an agreeable companion should one of my coworkers decide to head out of California this summer. In another interesting twist, our Civic Touring has both adaptive cruise control and lane departure intervention, two features that are rare for small sedans and can influence long-distance driving comfort.
First, I'll note the redesigned Civic is more enjoyable to drive on the highway than prior Civic generations. It's quieter and rides more smoothly over rough pavement. There's minimal engine and wind noise at 70 mph, so most of what you'll hear is tire/road noise.
I'm not claiming that the Civic has entered luxury sedan territory, but it should be fair to say that this is now one of the better small cars for piling up endless interstate miles. And although its range isn't substantially better than rivals, you can go pretty far without having to fill up thanks to that EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway and a 12.4 gallon fuel tank.
As for comfort, Ed wrote previously that he found the Civic's driver seat to be "good but not great," highlighting he couldn't stay entirely comfortable for more than an hour or so. I like them more than he does considering I've been able to sit in the saddle without issue, but we probably need more input from other coworkers on this issue. I will say I found the driver door armrest to be deficient in padding, and its hardness got to be uncomfortable for my elbow on my drives.
On to the technology. The Civic Touring comes standard with the Honda Sensing safety package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-departure intervention and forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking.The Honda Sensing safety package is optional on all other Civic sedan trims, so conceivably it's a popular package for all Civic sales.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) allows the car to maintain a set distance behind a vehicle ahead of you by automatically applying the gas or brakes as needed. The Civic's lane departure warning system will beep at you and vibrate the steering wheel if it thinks you're crossing out of your lane, and the additional intervention part (I'll refer to it as LDI later on, but Honda also calls it "Lane Keeping Assist") automatically steers the vehicle (up to a point) to maintain lane integrity.
Having the lane-departure warning and lane-departure intervention systems switched on can potentially minimize accidents due to driver inattention or drowsiness. Also interesting, though, is that on relatively straight stretches of highway, using ACC and LDI systems can give you a nice glimpse into the autonomous car future. I'm in no way recommending that you do this, but it is possible to not using your feet or hands at all and observe the Civic drive down the highway by itself. Based on my two drives, the LDI system seemed capable of steering along gentle highway curves as well as just simple lane integrity. Look mom, no hands! But the Civic will alert the driver that actual steering is required after about 12 seconds of inattention and disengage the system if you don't obey.
As for ACC, it's only OK. It's distance and smoothness adjustment for slowing down is, for the most part, accurate, but it's certainly in no hurry to get you back up to speed after that slowdown. That slowness in acceleration can get annoying. To Honda's credit, you can turn off ACC and just use regular cruise control if you want. On some other cars, you have to use ACC or nothing.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,219 miles