On Wednesday, Honda officially began mass production of the global platform 10th generation Civic at their Alliston, ON manufacturing plant. Over the next 18 months, the automaker will begin rolling out the vehicle in five different forms: starting with the sedan, and then a coupe, hatchback, Si and for the first time in Canada, an ultra-high performance Type-R model.
During a presentation to the media, Dave Gardner, senior vice president of operations at Honda Canada, said this is “the most ambitious redesign of the Civic in Honda’s history.”
Somewhere along the way, the country’s best-selling passenger car for the last 17 consecutive years lost a bit of its spunk that made it so loved in the first place. That’s why Gardner said the Civic finally returning to its roots of being fun to drive and possessing great fuel efficiency.
The four-door now looks like a completely different animal compared to the 2015 version. It’s bigger — 50 millimetres wider than before — but also 20 mm lower and with a shorter front overhang, reduced by 30 mm, to give it better handling characteristics.
Rather than going with a conventional flat sedan shape, designers have opted for a fastback look, similar to the shape of the Honda Crosstour — however, the Civic is sleeker and less bloated than its sibling that was discontinued last year. This move gives the vehicle a unique appearance while yielding significantly more interior space, particularly in the cargo area.
Lighting has been given an upgrade to full LED front and back. The headlights are completely integrated into the grille as though it were one piece, and the taillights are shaped like large “Cs” wrapping up and onto the trunk area, flanking a handsome subtle lip spoiler.
A couple of big changes in the interior include the use of higher-quality materials, and a traditional handbrake delete, replaced by an electronic unit to save space. This allows for the much larger storage console that can gobble up an iPad and large drink containers with ease, and even has a small tray for your key fob. All grades benefit from a brake hold button that, when activated, automatically applies the brakes for you so you can remove your foot from the gas, something that can be useful in stop-and-go traffic.
Android adopters no longer have to be jealous of iPhone users and vice versa, because both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported.
The news that everyone really wanted to hear revolved around the two newly developed engines. A normally aspirated 2.0-litre motor will be standard on the base LX and EX trims, producing 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The show stealer, though, was the introduction of the first turbine-driven powerplant ever offered by Honda, and the most powerful in a non-Si model: a 1.5 L turbo making 174 hp and 162 lb-ft., available on the EX-T and Touring. Consumers interested in the former can choose either a six-speed or CVT transmission, with the latter have only the CVT as an option.
Pricing will be made available when the 2016 Honda Civic Sedan goes on sale later this fall, and stay tuned in the coming months for more information on the other variants.