Read the 2016 Honda Civic's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2016 Honda Civic's long-term updates on this vehicle.
What We Got
The redesigned 2016 Honda Civic sedan impressed us so much during short-term tests that we knew it would make an interesting addition to our long-term fleet. It was not only better than its predecessor, but it was also the new class leader. Of particular interest was the all-new 1.5-liter, 174-horsepower turbocharged engine that made the Civic feel exceptionally potent while remaining suitably efficient.
We decided to look for a top-trim Civic Touring so we could test out the new engine along with all the latest technology the Civic offered for 2016. Most notable among the features was the collection of electronic safety features known as Honda Sensing. It included adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system and a lane keeping assist system.
We purchased our 2016 Honda Civic Touring for $25,160 and our test was under way. Read on to see how the new engine, high-grade interior and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) performed over the past year.
"This Civic is not a small car, so the fact that such a small engine (1.5 liters) still feels incredibly powerful from behind the wheel is a big deal. Whether you're in the city or out on the highway, this Civic feels strong. Fast even. ... I'm also impressed by the feel of the transmission. It's a CVT, yet it feels much like a normal six-speed setup. There's very little lag between when you press the gas pedal and when the transmission responds. It jumps to life quickly so passing on the highway is easy and there's even a Sport setting if you want it to feel even more aggressive." — Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
"I drove our long-term Civic along a deserted stretch of curvy backroad recently and came away impressed. It feels light and eager to charge around turns. There's some personality here, as if the car is encouraging you to have some fun. You can zip around corners and still feel like you have complete control of the car. Credit goes to the quick steering and the nicely tuned suspension that keeps the car taut and stable as you transition from one turn to the next." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
"With its turbocharged four-cylinder and CVT, there's an expectation of a distinct rubber-bandy power delivery in our long-term 2016 Honda Civic. It is not so. ... There's little sensation of being 'off boost,' and many people may not even guess that it's got a CVT based on how it moves in city driving. And every time you accelerate, there's the trump card of the CVT: an interruption-free, seamless shove seems to never end. It's something no other transmission can match." — Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
"When I pulled off the freeway after six hours of driving, I filled up and the trip odometer read 410.2 miles. The Civic took 8.304 gallons of 87 octane. For you non-math whizzes, that's 49.4 mpg. That's 7.4 mpg (or 17 percent) better than the highway EPA estimate for this car, which is already one of the best ratings in the class." — Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
"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." — Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Testing
"The verdicts are trickling in and most of us seem to like the seats in our Civic. ... It's strange, because the seats aren't especially firm or well-bolstered. They're shapely but not particularly sporty. Still, they're the best seats in a Civic that I can recall since the 2006 Si model debuted. Honda says the seat frames are 17 percent lighter and the range of the seat-bottom height adjustment has increased by almost a half-inch compared to the last model. Oddly, there's no lumbar adjustment. The fixed lumbar support isn't bad, though. Personally I'd prefer a little less, but I hardly notice it once under way. There's really only one downside. The perforated leather is a neat touch, but the perforations are already filling with crud." — Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
"At 6 feet 4 inches tall, my height often prevents me from thoroughly enjoying compact cars, coupes and sedans alike. ... The new Civic has a 0.4-inch reduction in headroom from the 2015 model, so when I took it home for a night, what I found was surprising. The new Civic fits me just fine. There's enough headroom to keep the top of my head from grazing the roof and the seat provides more thigh support than I anticipated. It isn't just roomy in the front seat either. I slipped into the backseat to test things out, and sure enough, there was enough legroom to sit behind myself. This is an impressive feat not matched by many compact cars." — Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor
"You'll like the way you can easily put your gear/groceries/luggage in here, too. The trunklid is light, and the rear bumper's liftover height is low, which you'll appreciate if you've got to heft up heavy luggage. Once you've got the lid open, the opening itself is quite wide, too. The trunklid's hinges take up some space when closed, but that's pretty typical. All in all, trunk space is another highlight for the 2016 Civic." — Brent Romans
"The trunk opening is pretty broad and fairly deep. Notice that the [bike] seat is still inside the confines of the trunk, and that's without loosening or lowering the seat post. The only thing I had to do was remove the front wheel, but I'd have done that anyway. The rear seatbacks had to come down, of course, but a pair of prominent release handles made it easy to do that from back here. The pass-through opening is fairly narrow, so I had to use care and monkey with the position of the pedals as I scooted the bike into position. It was a bit like playing Operation, but without all that buzzing." — Dan Edmunds
"Reach into the Civic's center console, just ahead of the shifter, and you'll find a hole. This hole leads down to the lower storage area, where you'll find a USB port and a power outlet. It's a pass-through for cables. Plug your USB cable into the port and run it through the hole and it'll hang out in the upper center console. It's the perfect spot for a smartphone." — Carlos Lago, Senior Writer
"He said he's a set-it-and-forget-it kind of guy, so he'd probably just let the automatic climate control system do its thing. Fair enough. If you're like him, maybe this setup won't bug you that much. But if you're a fiddler like me, it's the pits. Sometimes I want air blowing on my feet; other times I don't. Sometimes I want a blast of warm or cool air; other times I prefer a gentle breeze. I feel like these functions should be readily accessible, not hidden in a background menu." — Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager, Content Strategy
Audio and Technology
"I used our Civic's navigation system a few times and found it accurate and easy to program. In fact, I preferred the nav interface to using my cellphone via the Apple CarPlay navigation app function." — Brent Romans
"[The navigation street-prompt feature] proves its worth when you're driving in unfamiliar areas. What it does is prompt you with the very next cross street, or if you're on the freeway, the next exit. It's displayed at all times on the navigation map screen, and it's done in a way that's entirely unobtrusive. ... This isn't a new idea, and I couldn't tell you the first vehicle to have this feature. But I'd point out that many modern navigation systems do not have this feature, or else they execute it poorly, and it's also one of the few advantages an in-car system has over Google Maps or Waze." — Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor
"Let's talk about the crash alerts in our long-term Civic. Specifically, how sensitive they are. I would posit that they are too sensitive. The Civic's crash alert, a flashing 'BRAKE!' sign in the instrument cluster and an insistent BEEPBEEPBEEP, triggered numerous times in my rush hour bumper-to-bumper crawling commute. And I mean crawling. There was no imminent crash, no significant speed differential (or speed at all), and the brake pedal was already applied. Just oozing along. It became so tiresome that I perused the center screen to turn down the crash alert's sensitivity only to find it was already set to its least sensitive setting. Well, poop." — Jason Kavanagh
"It's been a month since the windshield was cracked and we still haven't been able to get it replaced, but not for a lack of trying. One small part is still holding things up, and as soon as Safelite gets the part in-house, we'll schedule another appointment, trying to put this whole debacle in our rearview." — Travis Langness
"I haven't been able to test the result on a road trip similar to the one that highlighted the problem in the first place, but I gave it a good try on the 2-mile freeway cruise back home and detected zero dithering or surging. I think we can put this one to bed." — Dan Edmunds
"The steering wheel itself is pleasing to grip, and I also like the view through the windshield. The front roof pillars (A-pillars) are pretty thin and unobtrusive, while the front edge of the car is easy to ascertain. It's a wide view that gives you extra confidence in placing the car on the road." — Brent Romans
Maintenance & Repairs
Honda's onboard computer dictated routine maintenance during our test, which occurred at roughly 7,500-mile intervals. And over our 22,000-mile test, that totaled three. Each were reasonably priced, with the first costing $70, the second $81 and our final $89.
We spent a few dollars more on maintenance items outside the normal scope. A cracked windshield was $816 to replace and took a month from start to finish, due largely to the rain-sensing wipers on our car. And a surprise door dent set us back $1,724 and 22 days in the body shop.
Our Civic suffered recurring bouts of e-fluenza, requiring two special dealer stops to remedy its ailments. First there was a failure with the adaptive cruise control system that also triggered warnings for the collision mitigation, road departure mitigation and brake systems. Next it needed a reflash to address recall 16V-725, an issue with the electric parking brake. Yet another computer update was necessary to fix a throttle dither per technical service bulletin (TSB) 16-028.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA fuel estimates for the Civic were 35 mpg combined (31 city/42 highway), which we found to be modest. Our best single tank of fuel stretched to 49.4 mpg, and it wasn't the only over-the-42-mpg-highway projection. On the other hand, our worst tank of 20.5 mpg fell well below the city mpg rating. We traveled nonstop 435 miles to mark our longest range on a single fill-up.
Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our Civic Touring one year ago for $25,160. After one year of ownership and 22,000 miles, we sold it to a private party for $19,050. This reflected depreciation of 24 percent.
Top-notch performance from the new turbocharged engine; more than 400 miles of range possible from one tank; capable of fuel economy above the 42 mpg highway rating; above-average driver seat comfort; more fun to drive than most compact sedans; full suite of electronic safety systems is available; plentiful rear-seat room.
Frustrating radio touchscreen radio controls; overly sensitive collision warning system; more trips to the dealer for warranty fixes than we would have liked.
We consider this Honda Civic the new benchmark in the class. It offers everything you could want in a compact sedan — performance, efficiency, cabin comfort and the latest safety features. If you're shopping for a compact sedan, it deserves a test drive.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$1,724 for door dent|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$240 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$816 to replace cracked windshield|
|Warranty Repairs:||Reprogram computer to remedy faults with adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, road departure mitigation and brake system. Reflash to fix electric parking brake (recall 16V-725). Reflash to repair throttle dither (TSB 16-028).|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||2 for warranty repairs|
|Days Out of Service:||22 in the body shop|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||49.4 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||20.5 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||33.1 mpg|
|Best Range:||435.3 miles|
|What it sold for:||$19,050|
|Depreciation:||$6,110 (24% of paid price)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||22,000 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.