Honda Civic owners have been among the most loyal to their brand for many years, much like enthusiasts of Jeep and Subaru. Give them a minute and Civic folks will chatter about its reliability, fuel economy and value.
The popular compact sedan — the top seller in its segment — has been redesigned inside and out for 2022 and that is likely to bolster the loyalty. The 11th-generation Civic has a longer and sleeker body, improved handling traits and a more refined cabin with upgraded technology.
About the only thing the Japanese carmaker left unchanged are the two powertrains from last year, a 2.0-liter four and a turbocharged 1.5-liter, both paired with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). Oh, and Honda dropped the manual tranny from the sedan; only the hatchback can get the 6-speed manual.
Exterior changes are modest but effective. It has a longer nose and more aggressive profile. It also gets a slightly wider track, longer wheelbase and longer body by 1.4 inches. The top-line Touring has flashier 18-inch wheels, flat-black grille accents and LED headlights and foggers.
The Touring, not surprisingly, gets the peppier of the two engines. The 1.5-liter turbo compiles 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, and the power is sent to the front wheels only. No all-wheel-drive available here.
The low-end torque is competent for brisk starts from the traffic light, with 0-60 mph coming at 7.5 ticks and the quarter-mile at 15.8. Activate Sport mode and the Civic stiffens a bit and lengthens the CVT’s simulated shifts. Other drive modes include Normal and Econ.
Despite chassis refinements, handling is unchanged from last year, and that’s a good thing: Steering is nicely weighted and honest, making tight spaces a breeze. An updated suspension keeps Civic flat enough on sharper curves, yet it’s tuned to tame the road bumps and dips for greater comfort.
On the highway, the ride is comfortable and stable with minimal noise from the road or wind. Equally satisfying, Honda says to expect upwards of 42 mpg on the highway with the turbo, with 33 city and 36 combined.
The cabin has a cleaner look this year, accented by a broad honeycomb-patterned strip that stretches across the dash — pretty cool and it hides the AC vents, too. Soft-touch materials cover the doors and center console.
Passenger space remains the same but Honda boosted luggage space: With a low trunk floor, it can accommodate 14.4 cubic feet of stuff.
Leather seats are heated, supportive and comfortable with good space even for six-footers. With 8-way power adjustments and tilt/telescoping wheel, finding an advantageous driving position shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.
Head- and legroom in the rear is a bit more snug but adequate, but there are no rear AC vents, so make sure to blow some back there.
Sitting atop the dash in the Touring trim is a new 9-inch touchscreen — the others get a 7-incher. It houses a new-for-2022 infotainment system which is simple to figure out and use. Honda added wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too, plus a wireless phone changer — just lay it in the tray.
The driver gets a big upgrade with a reconfigurable digital display. An LCD driver-data display feeds the driver speed limit, traffic signs, and navigation instructions from Google maps.
Among options in the Touring trim is a 12-speaker Bose audio system, among the best at this segment level.
Honda upgraded its safety features within its Honda Sensing system. It includes adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, but this year improved its camera system for better detection of pedestrians and bicyclists. The system now has traffic-jam assist for stop-and-go driving and redesigned air bags.
With 12 million sold since its inception as a 50-hp buggy in 1973, the Honda Civic remains the third-best-selling sedan in the U.S. Now the Civic has upped its game and looks and feels a bit more upscale.
And, with its 50th anniversary coming next year, the Civic-minded cheers aren’t likely to slow down any time soon.
2022 Honda Civic Touring
What’s all the excitement about? Styling tweaks, cleaner cabin with new infotainment and instrument display, and upgrades in tech safety
Powertrain: 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to CVT transmission with simulated shifts
How’s the performance? Reliable handling, quiet and stable on the highway; 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds
Fuel economy: EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway, 33 city, 36 combined
(Barry Spyker was the automotive columnist for The Miami Herald and editor of its Wheels & Waves section. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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