2016 Honda Civic: Monthly Update for November 2016
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
November was a big month. Our drivers added a total of 2,778 miles to our 2016 Honda Civic, with yours truly accounting for a large chunk of them. My wife and I drove the not-so-little red Honda north to Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, and our round trip consisted of 2,036 miles.
The usual route we take amounts to just over 1,700 miles, but this time we spent some time off the freeway on picturesque two-lane roads in Gold Country and out east of Mt. Shasta. Such voluntary detours added about 300 miles and several hours to our trip, but it was worth it.
Almost all of these miles qualify as some version of highway or interstate travel. But we did make several stops and poke our way through a few small towns. And I drove from the coast up the steep road to my parents' 1,600-foot hilltop home a couple of times, one of which was after a pizza run into town.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The Civic averaged 39.3 mpg over the entire 2,036-mile distance. The best of its five fill-ups came in at an even 40 mpg on the first leg out of town, and that tank also set a new best range mark of 422.4 miles. But that record stood only for five days because we managed 435.3 miles on the last tank that brought us home.
Why didn't we get closer to the car's 42 mpg highway rating? Well, I wasn't exactly restraining myself on the freeway, and the off-piste miles wound up into the Sierra foothills with more climbing than there otherwise would have been. I could have achieved better mileage if I had settled for a pure freeway run in the neighborhood of 65 to 70 mph.
Anyway, the Civic's lifetime average is up to 33.0 mpg, an increase of about 0.5 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 33.0 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 35 mpg combined (31 city/42 highway)
Best fill mpg: 49.4 mpg
Best range: 435.3 miles
Current odometer: 15,721 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Our Civic's onboard maintenance-minder system winked on during the waning miles of the trip to indicate its need for the "B1" service, which consists of a 0W-20 synthetic oil and filter change, tire rotation and several routine inspections. We brought it to the express service line at a local Honda dealer and got the job done for $81.07, plus tax.
During the check-in process, our service writer discovered an open recall concerning a software reflash to correct a potential malfunction with the electric parking brake. Apparently the parking brake may not always engage properly if the driver attempts to set it after first shutting off the car. No one on our staff has noticed the problem, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. The reflash specified in NHTSA recall number 16V-725 (aka Honda service bulletin 16-090) didn't add any additional cost or appreciable time to our service visit.
"These are world-class tri-level seat heaters. They're hot, heat up fast and, most importantly, don't time out." — Tracy Edmunds, as told to Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
"I was quite comfortable in the driver's seat for the entirety of the 2,000-mile trip. My wife, on the other hand, vehemently disagreed. The lumbar support was too high, too prominent and non-adjustable. Thing is, my 6-foot-2-inch height makes me a 95th-percentile adult male, but her 5-foot-4-inch stature makes her a 53rd-percentile adult female. Statistically, she's average and I'm a borderline freak. By all rights the seats should be better optimized for her, but that does not seem to be the case." — Dan Edmunds
"Not a huge fan of the adaptive cruise control system's response to vehicles that don't pose a threat. Faster cars that move in ahead oftentimes provoke a braking response even though the car that passed is clearly moving away and building a gap. In these and other similar situations, the system brakes or slows when an attentive human would not consider doing so. Fortunately, it is easy to switch to standard cruise control, and that selection is remembered after the car is shut off and restarted numerous times." — Dan Edmunds
"Do we really need to rehash the touchscreen audio system's lack of a volume knob? Yes, we do. Podcasts and audiobooks tend to be mixed quieter and necessitate a higher volume setting than music that comes through the FM or Sirius radio bands, and so there's a sudden and oftentimes painful blast of sound when swapping modes. On this trip my wife scrambled to turn it down more than once, only to be stymied by the multi-step process and the slow and deliberate rate of change." — Dan Edmunds
"Few things drive me battier than a sound system that can't handle its bass. @kirkhilles1 wondered a while ago if our Civic Touring's premium stereo had the apparently common 'subwoofer rattle' issue. As you'll hear in the video, it sure does. That's a random techno song on SiriusXM's Chill station, with the bass setting roughly in the middle of its range (to be fair, I didn't check the separate subwoofer setting). The rear deck, which happens to be where the subwoofer is mounted, sounds like it's going to shake itself to pieces. According to this forum, the fix can be as simple as stuffing some foam around the sub, a service that was performed for at least one owner by a dealership technician. We'll put it on our list of things to investigate." — Josh Sadlier, Content Strategist