Honda is sticking to a familiar playbook to keep the redesigned Civic compact among the best-engineered and best-handling cars on the market. The 11th-generation Civic features more technology, improved fuel economy and new safety features to increase its appeal to younger buyers and maintain itself as a key entry point to the brand. Honda says it offers improved handling, better outward visibility and a simplified interior design. The latest Civic sedan is launching with two powertrains: a 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in LX and Sport models and a 180-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in EX and Touring models. We've rounded up some early reviews from the automotive press.
2022 Honda Civic: A heavyweight gets more agile
"Its looks have been totally overhauled, inside and out. Gone are the various cutlines and fake vents, replaced by a design that borrows heavily from the Accord and appears more premium and mature than the previous Civic.
"Inside, the new Civic is comfortable and well thought out. A 1.4-inch longer wheelbase goes primarily toward the comfort of rear-seat passengers. Front seats are wider in the shoulders to fit bigger people more comfortably, and after several hours in them we emerged happy. The center console area is covered with a textured and attractive material instead of the currently trendy piano-black trim that looks great until it's covered in fingerprints. At 70 mph, the new car registered 69 decibels, a significant 2 decibels below its predecessor."
— Annie White, Car and Driver
"Here are the claims: A 20 percent smoother ride achieved through that longer wheelbase and fanatical work at reducing suspension friction. A chassis that's between 8 and 13 percent stiffer via changes to the subframes and floor pan. Tweaks to power steering programming to improve feel and response. Transmission programming that mimics gearshifts in hard driving. A Civic-first Sport mode that actually does something (in this case, adjusts the throttle and transmission mapping).
"How that all plays out behind the wheel should be no surprise: the 2022 Honda Civic is now and again a benchmark performer. It's an eminently approachable machine that rises to the challenge of making driving fun without being self-serious about it. Steering is sensitive and direct enough for a fast curve without being twitchy around town, a balance not felt on some cars with prices two and three times the Civic's. The ride is likewise on point: smooth, planted, tight.
"The 1.5-liter turbo engine has plenty of punch, enough to snap through the haze of the CVT and reward a firm foot with a commensurate leap forward. Sport mode definitely sharpens the response, though, and using the paddles on the Touring trim is an absolute must to keep revs where you need them when the Civic gets thrown into any mildly spicy situation. The 2.0-liter — well, peak torque hits at 4,200 rpm, and you'll spend a lot of time around there if you want to point it down a good road and glimpse the chassis' potential."
— Kyle Cheromcha, The Drive
"Dynamically, the Civic is a touch tighter and more composed than before thanks to some added body stiffening as well as suspension and steering upgrades. Turn-in for corners is snappy with satisfying heft in the steering wheel, while body roll is controlled and there's a healthy amount of grip from the 18-inch Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires.
"After driving the new Civic back to back with the outgoing car, one thing that really stands out is the steering. In the 2022 model, there's greater feedback without unnecessary chatter over bumps and ruts. The brakes are also really nice with a firm pedal offering easy modulation of clamping power for confident stopping.
"The ride quality is smooth with the Civic's suspension easily soaking up small impacts, though bigger ones are definitely felt inside the cabin. None of this is harsh, however, and long drives in the Civic will be a snap. For the most part, the cabin stays hushed from unwanted rackets like wind noise, but a hint of tire noise does seep in."
— Jon Wong, Road Show by CNET
"The new Civic seems to be a mini Accord, which makes it feel sized and equipped slightly above other compact sedans. In our brief time with the rented press sample, we found it roomy, comfortable, and solid. Controls and buttons felt substantial and doors closed with a firm feel.
"We found the turbocharged engine and CVT (which come in the EX and Touring trims) lively and refined for the class. Ride comfort is firm and well composed, and the Civic's handling agility makes the car enjoyable to drive. It's also encouraging that the infotainment system is now easier to use. Honda's streamlined interior is less busy than in previous generations, and cool details like the honeycomb-patterned trim across the dash, which hides the air vents, add a bit of character."
— Jon Linkov, Consumer Reports
"Both the 2.0 and the 1.5 rev, pull, and sound as they did before. This means the sizable gulf between the engines returns, as well. The 30 minutes spent with the Sport revealed the standard engine is an adequate, if not a bit of a wheezy entrant in the segment. Honda worked hard to isolate both engines from the cabin with the nameplate's first use of urethane foam, but there is simply no way around the combination of a CVT with a small engine. It's better in the new car, but revving out the base engine on an entrance ramp or passing lane is an exercise in mechanical thrash, gnash, and bash.
"There's noticeably less NVH from the 1.5, but we think this is mostly a byproduct of turbocharging, and not really from any additional damping from Honda. That said, the Touring does include some extra insulation in the carpets and under the floor. If the 2.0 is adequate in power, the 1.5 is more so; although it's the "bigger" engine, acceleration is best described as a notch above fine, as our derriere-dyno estimates a 0-60-mph run for the Touring at somewhere in the low 7-second range. Enthusiastic drivers should pick the Sport or the Touring — those are the only two trims Honda offers with the Sport driving mode and paddle shifters on the wheel, the former improving throttle mapping and the CVT's simulated shift points."
— Conner Golden, Motor Trend
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