Honda Motor Co. says the 2016 Civic underwent “the most radical redesign” since the model line was introduced in 1973. Through the years, in addition to the standard Civic sedan and coupe, there have been del Sol, three-door hatchback, wagon and CR-X versions. The Civic's predecessor, the CVCC, went on sale in 1971. The 2016 lineup, built on an all-new, lighter but stiffer platform, will spawn a five-door hatchback, Si and Type R variants. But it all kicks off when the sedan goes on sale this fall. A look at what journalists, analysts and others are saying about the retooled Civic sedan:
“Every generation of the car rested on the assumption that buyers were blindly loyal and that every competitor was asleep like they were in the ‘80s. This car will be far more dynamic and sporty than past Civics.”
-- Eric Noble, president of CarLab, a consulting firm in Orange, Calif.
"Those faithful to manual transmission can rest easy: a six-speed is still offered. Most buyers, however, will opt for the continuously variable transmission, or CVT, a version of which underwhelmed us in the new Honda HR-V ... The bane of Honda’s existence over the years has been high levels of interior noise, which, Honda says, will be much better with this new model. In an effort to quell the din, the 2016 Honda Civic uses new body-sealing techniques, a flush-mounted acoustic glass windshield, a more tightly sealed engine compartment, and triple-sealed doors ... There was a time when Civics ruled our ratings, but the last several years have seen the once-mighty Honda play second fiddle to the Mazda3, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza, and Hyundai Elantra. Will the new 2016 Honda Civic win over new buyers and become a solid contender again? We’ll let you know when we buy ours for testing."
-- Consumer Reports
“The new Civic faces a major challenge as the market has clearly shifted from small and mid-size cars to small and mid-size SUVs and trucks. With that said, the Civic is an icon in the industry, and will always be one of Honda's most compelling products. The introduction of sportier variants will certainly help, as the Civic needs to be viewed as more than just a reliable car to get you from point A to point B. The new Civic should add fun and style to the mix, along with a host of strong features and value for the buck.”
-- Kelley Blue Book analyst Akshay Anand
"The new 2016 Honda Civic sedan’s low-slung shape looks good in person, and the range-topping Touring model shown at the debut featured nice, upscale details like LED accents in the headlights and sharp alloy wheels. Longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor, a 1.2-inch wheelbase stretch results in 3.7 cu ft of extra space inside, 2 inches more legroom in the rear seat, and 2.6 cubic feet more trunk space. We wonder about headroom in back, though, as the steeply sloped rear end cuts into the space over your head a bit—passengers over six feet tall don’t have much clearance back there."
"While the Civic has stood atop retail compact car sales since 2007, the challenge to its sales growth is evident inside Honda itself, where the Honda CR-V crossover — built on the same platform as the Civic — has become the hottest-selling vehicle in the hottest segment in America. CR-V sales jumped 10.9 percent to a record 335,019 in 2014 and are up 6 percent this year while Civic sales slid by 4 percent. To prove its relevance, the U.S.-developed, tenth-generation Civic throws everything and the kitchen sink at the market. It will come in the most diverse packaging in the Civic’s 43-year history: Sedan, coupe, five-door hatchback, performance Si models, and a hot-hatch, 300-horsepower Civic Type-R. A suite of driver-assist features will be available including Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control as well as a buffet of digital features from a 7-inch touchscreen to apps for Apple Car Play and Android Auto."
-- The Detroit News
"Cheers: New looks make the car very sporty. Better gas mileage, more interior room and more power. High performance versions should be fun to drive. Jeers: Comes out when small-car sales are falling in the U.S. and more people are shifting into small SUVs."
-- Associated Press
Bloomberg contributed to this report.