2016 Honda Civic Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Roomy cabin filled with high-quality materials
- lots of trunk space for all your gear
- ride and handling expertly balanced between comfort and athleticism
- excellent fuel economy and performance from turbocharged 1.5-liter engine
- numerous available advanced technology and safety features.
- Touchscreen interface is a bit confusing and slow to respond to inputs
- depending on the tech you want, the Civic can be pricey: slow-responding adaptive cruise control and overly vigilant forward collision warning safety system are irksome.
You might think of the 2016 Honda Civic as a small, relatively inexpensive car for buyers on a budget, but this little Honda is so much more than that. This new Civic has daring looks, turbocharged power and a spacious, technology-rich interior for you and your friends or even a few kids. Find out why it's a must-drive compact sedan or coupe.
The outgoing Honda Civic (2011-'15) generation garnered some very un-Honda-like controversy during its run, with lackluster early reviews leading to a virtually unprecedented second-year overhaul. Although that emergency surgery made the Civic more competitive, it failed to restore the car's class-leading status. With rivals improving by leaps and bounds, the Civic just wasn't a no-brainer pick like it used to be.
The 2016 Civic has new styling. Slimmer headlights and more pronounced fenders are two key changes.
For longtime Honda buyers, the fully redesigned, profoundly improved 2016 Honda Civic should come as a relief. From the Civic's edgy yet upscale looks to its mature cabin (no more two-tiered dash!) with nifty touchscreen-based tech, it's clear that Honda's innovative spirit has been revived. There's innovation under the hood, too, in the form of a new turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A first for the Civic, this turbo mill, which is offered on the higher trim levels only, produces a strong 174 horsepower and yet earns an estimated 42 mpg highway. Less expensive Civics receive a new engine as well, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's more powerful (158 hp) and fuel-efficient than the 1.8-liter it replaces.
Like the best Civics of yore, the new one feels sporty and fun when you're driving it on winding back roads. Unlike its predecessors, however, it's fairly quiet inside at speed, and its ride is more compliant than ever. We generally take boasts like Honda's "best-in-class interior volume" with a grain of salt, but in the new Civic's case, it translates into so much rear passenger space that families might question the need for an Accord. The interior design and materials are laudable, too, approaching Acura-grade refinement in the top Touring trim.
As noted, there are a lot of great choices for compact sedans or coupes these days. The Mazda 3 continues to distinguish itself with strong fuel economy, a sleek cabin and sporty handling, though its cramped backseat puts it at a disadvantage. The nimble and well-equipped Ford Focus may not be the freshest face, but this year's model should rival the Civic for the latest in-car technology. For a less expensive but still well-rounded sedan or coupe, we certainly recommend trying the Kia Forte. Last but hardly least is the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze, which comes gunning for the Civic with styling that Honda may find distinctly flattering.
To be sure, it's going to be tough to choose this year. But if you've been waiting for the Honda Civic to get its groove back, consider your patience rewarded.
2016 Honda Civic models
The 2016 Honda Civic is a compact car offered initially as a sedan, with coupe and hatchback styles to follow. The sedan is available in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L and Touring trim levels. The coupe comes in LX, LX-P, EX-T, EX-L and Touring.
The base LX comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels (alloys for coupe), automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, full power accessories, cruise control, an expanded-view driver side mirror, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and manual front seats with driver height adjustment. Electronics features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth (phone and audio) and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port and Pandora connectivity.
LX-P coupes have this equipment plus a sunroof and keyless ignition and entry.
The EX sedan adds those LX-P features plus 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, a multifunction trip computer, a rear center armrest with cupholders, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, an eight-speaker audio system with dual USB ports, Honda's camera-based LaneWatch lane-change assistant, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with HondaLink smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SMS voice-to-text functionality and smartphone-app integration (including app-based navigation).
The EX-T adds a turbocharged engine plus 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear deck lid spoiler, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and satellite and HD radio.
Leather upholstery comes standard on the EX-L and Touring trim levels.
The EX-L tacks on leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Touring adds different 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats (sedan), an integrated navigation system with voice controls and a 10-speaker audio system. Also standard is a 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, and it adds a basic trip computer to the LX. The navigation system is optional on EX-L sedan.
Performance & mpg
The front-wheel-drive 2016 Honda Civic comes with a four-cylinder engine, but the exact type varies depending on the trim level you pick. The LX and EX trims come with a 2.0-liter four rated at 158 hp and 138 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that functions like an automatic. The CVT is optional on the LX.
The EX-T, EX-L and Touring trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. The CVT is the only available transmission. In Edmunds testing, a Civic Touring sedan sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is about what the old sport-focused Civic Si used to achieve. It's considerably quicker than anything else in the segment.
Fuel economy for the turbocharged Civics is actually slightly better, checking in at 35 mpg combined (31/42) across the board.
The 2016 Honda Civic comes standard with stability control, antilock disc brakes (many previous Civics came with rear drums), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Starting with the EX sedan trim, a right-side blind spot camera (LaneWatch) is also standard, as is the HondaLink system, which also includes emergency crash notification.On the Civic coupe, the blind-spot camera and HondaLink come standard on the Touring trim only.
In Edmunds testing, a Civic Touring sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet, a few feet shorter than average.
Standard on Touring and optional on other Civic sedans is the Honda Sensing safety package, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-departure intervention and forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking. On the coupe, it's standard on the Touring only.
We've found the forward-collision alert to be hypersensitive, however, annoyingly and frequently setting off its "Brake!" alarm in instances where other such systems would not cry wolf. The adaptive cruise control is also too quick to slam on the brakes, too slow to speed back up again and generally not very good at maintaining a constant speed.
The 2016 Honda Civic has a sharpness on the road that's been absent in recent years. Steering response is lively, and there's notably less body roll than in the previous Civic. That's also true for the Civic coupe, which has a slightly sportier suspension tune for crisper handling. At the same time, though, the Civic's ride is eminently comfortable, and there's less noise inside than Civic drivers have come to expect.
The new Civic is now one of the most distinctive-looking models in its class. Sporty performance backs up the look.
When you're accelerating hard from a stop or passing other vehicles, the base 2.0-liter engine can feel sluggish when paired with the CVT, but for normal driving it's capable enough. As for the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, its healthier midrange punch means it's not working as hard as the 2.0-liter most of the time, so the CVT makes for a better pairing here. Honda eschews any sort of manual mode for the transmission, instead providing a Sport mode that essentially just boosts engine speed a bit to make the turbo's sweet spot more accessible. Either way, acceleration is spirited, and the turbo Civic keeps pulling at highway speeds like a more expensive car. Overall, this is one of the best powertrains in the class, offering the fuel efficiency of an economy model and the performance of a sporty one.
The 2016 Civic sedan is about 3 inches longer and 2 inches wider than its predecessor, and its wheelbase is a bit longer, too. That means there should be more room for passengers, and indeed, Honda says the Civic has the most spacious interior in this class. Real-world testing sometimes calls bold claims like these into question, but make no mistake, this Civic is seriously roomy. Even in the coupe, four 6-footers should be content to ride all day, which is an extraordinary achievement for a vehicle in this class, and that enhanced space should also be a boon to families using bulky child safety seats.
A new infotainment system for the Civic includes a touchscreen and advanced smartphone integration. But we miss having physical volume and tuning knobs.
From the driver's vantage point, the new Civic feels like a luxury car compared to the outgoing model. Gone is the busy two-tiered dash, replaced by an elegantly restrained layout with upscale materials for the segment. Thoughtful touches abound, such as a capacitive-touch volume button on the steering wheel that works well whether you slide your thumb across its ribs or click either end like a rocker switch. A 7-inch touchscreen comes standard in all trims but the base LX, and it includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for full-fledged smartphone functionality via the touchscreen itself. Unfortunately, its slow response times, small buttons and confusing menu structure often make it frustrating to use.
In terms of storage, there's an unusually deep storage bin under the center console's armrest with 7.2 liters of capacity -- enough, says Honda, for multiple iPads or a large water bottle. Trunk space, meanwhile, has shot up in the new Civic sedan, expanding from 12.5 cubic feet last year (an average figure) to a whopping 15.1 cubes. That's true family-sedan territory. Note that the Touring's trunk drops to 14.7 cubic feet due to the premium sound system's subwoofer.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.5%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
The all-new, completely redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is every bit as impressive and game-changing as its predecessor was underwhelming. It boasts best-in-class performance and fuel economy from its new turbocharged engine, a commendably engaging and refined driving experience, superb interior quality and ample space for people and cargo. We gave it a resounding "A" rating, as it's a class leader without question.
What Is It?
The 2016 Honda Civic is currently on sale as a four-door sedan. Compared to the outgoing model, the new sedan is 0.8 inch lower, 1.8 inch wider and 3 inches longer overall. A coupe version will arrive in early 2016, followed by a new five-door hatchback, a sporty Civic Si and a high-performance Civic Type R.
What's Under the Hood?
There's an all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes standard on the EX-L and Touring trim levels and is optional on the EX trim. It produces 174 horsepower and fundamentally changes the Civic's driving character.
The Civic was previously one of the slowest compact sedans both in terms of our instrumented testing and how it felt in the real world. There was little in the way of low-end power — the feeling of being pushed into your seat — and one had to be aggressive with the throttle to get much of a response.
With the new turbocharged engine, there's a broad band of torque from 1,700 rpm all the way to 5,500 rpm. You have power whether you're pulling away from a traffic light or passing on the freeway. In our instrumented testing, the turbocharged Civic went from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. That's big news given that it took the previous Civic we tested 9.0 seconds to make the same run.
Admittedly, the new engine is a little growly, lacking that sweet, free-revving character of Honda's non-turbocharged VTEC engines. The standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) also saps some of the fun out of what might be possible from such a capable engine. Having said that, most won't find any of that to be of any concern. Typical, lackadaisical throttle applications will result in smooth acceleration. It should also result in outstanding fuel economy, given that we managed pretty good fuel economy despite spirited driving. The EPA estimates 35 mpg in combined driving (31 city/42 highway) with this engine, which would be best-in-class for a gasoline engine. We also achieved 36.8 mpg on the 116-mile Edmunds evaluation route, confirming that unlike those of some other turbocharged engines, the EPA numbers are attainable.
The 2.0-liter non-turbocharged base engine achieves the same EPA-estimated fuel economy. The base engine produces 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque, which is more than the old car (143 hp, 129 lb-ft) but it is noticeably less lively than the turbo 1.5. From a stop, there's a long pause between flooring the pedal and forward motion. The CVT also hesitates for a moment when passing slower vehicles, but that's not unusual for cars in this class.
How Does It Drive?
The 2016 Honda Civic is blessed with a sophisticated suspension that demonstrates impressive control over undulations that would flummox many competitors. Its ride is buttoned-down, and although you feel the impacts of bumps in the road, they are very well damped. This is just one of the ways the 2016 Civic feels less like its predecessor and more like a Volkswagen Golf.
It's more playful through corners, too. Body roll is present but well managed, and left-right transitions are handled with the utmost control. The stability control system also isn't overly quick to intervene and when it does, it's so smooth in its intervention that one rarely feels it when pushing the car far harder than most drivers would attempt.
The brakes are easily modulated and provide plenty of confidence while bringing the Civic to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet. This is better than average, and pleasantly, subsequent emergency stops were similarly short. The days of long stops and fading, smoky, underpowered brakes seem to be in Honda's rearview mirror.
The steering, meanwhile, provides consistent and spot-on weighting. It doesn't try to be overly light in parking lots or overly heavy as speeds increase in a misguided attempt to be sporty. It feels natural, it encourages you to drive and it provides a good sense of what the tires are doing. Stickier tires would make the new Civic even better, and along with stiffer antiroll bars and other suspension modifications, it's easy to see just how much fun the future Civic Si and Type-R will be.
How Is the Interior?
Our loaded Civic Touring test car stickered for $27,335. Other compact cars at that price point quite simply do not seem worth it, despite being lined in leather and loaded with options. That definitely would've been the case with the outgoing Civic.
The 2016 Civic, on the other hand, looks and feels like it could cost more. The design is grown-up and handsome, with enough eye-pleasing visual details to keep things interesting. There's the touchscreen interface that sticks up ever so slightly in front of the alloy-look trim and a wrap-around design element that stretches around the dash from one door to another.
Then there's the quality of the materials. Even after much-needed midcycle improvements, the last Civic was always a letdown in this area. The new Civic boasts soft-touch surfaces on the dash and doors, as well as ample padding on the center armrest and surrounding trim covered in simulated leather. The plastics have a richer look and feel to them, the switchgear is top-notch and the gloss-black trim of the touchscreen interface has a modern sophistication to it.
How Much Room Is There?
One of the ways the Civic hasn't changed much is in its backseat, which remains one of the roomiest in the segment. A 6-foot-3 driver was able to fit comfortably behind his seating position while also finding sufficient rear headroom.
Its cargo space is similarly praiseworthy, with a larger-than-average 15.1 cubic feet of trunk capacity (Touring trim drops to 14.7 cubic feet thanks to a subwoofer). It's very wide, very deep, and although the opening may struggle to swallow boxes or other bulky items, it's at least wide enough for golf clubs or other items.
We were also pleasantly surprised by the driving position provided by the eight-way power driver seat standard on the EX-L and Touring. There is an abundant range of motion, plenty of under-leg support and the steering wheel telescopes out sufficiently. As such, drivers of average and taller heights will more likely be comfortable in the Civic, although we'll have to test a lesser equipped trim level with the standard manually adjustable seats to see if that applies throughout the range.
What About Infotainment and Other Technology Features?
Here, the Civic receives less-than-stellar grades. We continued to be frequently irritated by Honda's touchscreen interface. It can be too slow to respond, some icons are too small and you're too often required to go from one menu to another. The lack of a volume knob is constantly frustrating, while the lack of a tuning knob would be forgiven if Honda provided a way to direct tune the radio. It doesn't, so you're left pecking the screen's virtual tuning "button" like an infuriated chicken when you want to find a new station.
Then there's the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows for familiar smartphone control. It's a good addition in theory, and we've found it useful in the Volkswagen Jetta and other cars, but the transition between the Apple/Android and Honda system is particularly clunky and confusing. The system also utterly refused to play a podcast from an iPhone whether using CarPlay or through the Honda media interface.
Most Civic trims are also available with the Honda Sensing suite of accident avoidance technologies. These, too, need work. The collision warning system is annoyingly hyper-sensitive. Slowly creeping to a stop at a traffic light with a car ahead or pulling into a parking space frequently elicited a beeping noise and an emphatic flashing of "BRAKE!" Eventually, you'll essentially ignore those warnings and turn the system off, in which case you won't get what should be the worthwhile benefit of a collision warning system. Honda Sensing's adaptive cruise control system also frustrates with its too-far distance to the car ahead, its reluctance to speed up again and its inability to maintain speed downhill.
How Much, and What Equipment Is Included?
The base model in LX trim starts at $18,460 and comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The CVT is available as an option, but is standard on all other trims. Standard feature highlights include full power accessories, automatic climate control, a rearview camera and a 5-inch touchscreen.
The EX trim adds alloy wheels, split-folding rear seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto integration and an upgraded audio system. Also included is Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera. The EX-T trim gets a more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged engine along with 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats. The EX-L dresses up the cabin with leather seats and trim and a power driver seat.
At the top of the range is the $26,000 Touring trim with features like LED headlights, a power front passenger seat, heated rear outboard seats, a navigation system and premium audio. Also included is the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features. The navigation system is available as an option on the EX-L, and the Honda Sensing system is offered on all trims.
What Other Cars Should You Consider?
The Mazda 3 is the only other compact car that manages to seemingly check off all the boxes as the massively impressive 2016 Civic does. Back-to-back test-drives are highly recommended.
Below them on the compact car pyramid would be the Volkswagen Golf, with its European refinement, near-luxury cabin and gutsy turbocharged engine. The Ford Focus, Kia Forte and upcoming 2017 Hyundai Elantra are also worth checking out.
Why Should I Consider This Car?
It may be a compact sedan, but this Civic is big enough, refined enough and even powerful enough to make you think twice about an Accord.
Why Should I Think Twice?
The touchscreen may drive you nuts and the CVT isn't for everyone. The Honda Sensing package may also irritate more than it helps.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2016 Honda Civic Overview
The Used 2016 Honda Civic is offered in the following submodels: Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), EX-T 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), Touring 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), EX-L 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6M), EX 4dr Sedan w/Honda Sensing (2.0L 4cyl CVT), EX-L 4dr Sedan w/Honda Sensing (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), EX-L 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), EX-T 4dr Sedan w/Honda Sensing (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), EX-T 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), LX-P 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl CVT), LX 4dr Sedan w/Honda Sensing (2.0L 4cyl CVT), Touring 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), EX-L 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT), LX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M), and LX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl CVT). Pre-owned Honda Civic models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine or a 1.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 174 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Honda Civic comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2016 Honda Civic comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2016 Honda Civic?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Honda Civic trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic LX is priced between $12,999 and$21,998 with odometer readings between 10060 and102651 miles.
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic EX is priced between $16,985 and$21,990 with odometer readings between 29901 and98343 miles.
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic EX-T is priced between $16,381 and$23,998 with odometer readings between 15269 and111777 miles.
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic EX-L is priced between $18,499 and$24,998 with odometer readings between 26420 and80007 miles.
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic Touring is priced between $19,998 and$24,998 with odometer readings between 12838 and88282 miles.
- The Used 2016 Honda Civic LX-P is priced between $19,990 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 33682 and46607 miles.
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Which used 2016 Honda Civics are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Honda Civic for sale near. There are currently 145 used and CPO 2016 Civics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,999 and mileage as low as 10060 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Honda Civic.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Honda Civic?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.