Sacramento, California – I’ve been saying for years that the venerable Honda Civic is a universal car, one that pleases on so many levels that no prospective buyer is immune to its charms.
I can cite numerous cases of religiously “buy American” parents who opted to get their child a Honda Civic when he/she went off to college.
Why? It’s affordable, it tends to run forever with few problems, it’s well-equipped and gas mileage is excellent.
That’s pretty convincing, right. Maybe that explains why the Civic entered its TENTH generation with some tpleasing weaks and major improvements for the 2016 model year.
My tester was the 2016 Civic 1.5T Touring sedan starting at $26,500. No extras needed beyond the $835 destination and handling charge.
For that amount of money, the tested Civic was loaded up with leather-trimmed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, a cockpit-rockin’ audio system with 10 speakers, heated front/rear seats, a driver’s eight-way power seat, a navigation system and an electric parking brake.
Throw in the extensive safety systems and exterior goodies such as LED front/rear lights and rain-sensing windshield wipers, and you’re looking at a motor vehicle that probably should cost $35,000.
Feeling good about saving that much coin on this relatively high-end Touring edition? Wait, there's more. On the tester, fuel mileage came in at 31 miles per gallon in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Those numbers will leave a few gas stations in the dust.
Interior room is good, although large adults in the backseat area might feel a bit squeezed.
Beyond this, the latest Civic looks good and is fun to drive.
The tester was sporty and sleek in profile, and it looked sharp riding on 17-inch alloy wheels and wearing Cosmic Blue Metallic paint.
The Honda sedan was decidedly peppy with a 1.5-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine (174 horsepower) doing the chores. Matched to a continuously variable transmission, the power plant moved the Civic around with ease. Accelerations were strong. Steering was effortless.
Body rigidity was improved by Honda engineers, and it showed in the tester, which sawed off high-speed corners with barely a wiggle felt in the driver’s seat. Four-wheel disc brakes stopped the Civic sedan on a dime.
Somehow, Honda has managed to make an A-grade car even better, a talent that likely translates to many motorists buying Civics for generations to come.