Specifications of Honda Civic XI Hatchback 2.0 i-VTEC (158 HP) CVT
General characteristics of Honda Civic XI Hatchback 2.0 i-VTEC (158 HP) CVT
Generation 11 shares two exterior measurements with the previous model. The 55.7-inch height is the same as is the 70.9-inch width. Honda's new design creates the illusion of a more hunkered-down car, however. The overall length is up to 184 inches, but more importantly, the wheelbase has been increased by 1.4 inches to 107.7 inches. On the downside, the all-new Civic is heavier than the previous model. The last base model weighed 2,771 pounds, while the new entry-level model weighs 2,877 lbs. For the first time in its history, the Civic breaches the 3,000 lbs mark. The EX and Touring models weigh 3,004 and 3,077 lbs, respectively.
The new Civic is available in eight colors, mostly carried over from the previous model. Familiar color options include Rallye Red, Aegean Blue, Platinum White ($395), Lunar Silver, Crystal Black, and Sonic Gray Pearl. Two all-new colors join the existing palette: Meteorite Gray and Morning Mist Blue. Both of these new colors retail for $395.
Honda's new Civic sedan uses the same engine options as its predecessor. The base 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine is carried over, but with a new catalyst and idle-stop system. Power outputs are the same as before, though, at 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine boasts the same upgrades as the N/A engine, but power has been increased this time around to 180 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to counteract the increase in weight, which will likely result in similar performance figures.
Honda doesn't claim 0-60 mph or top speed figures, but they're hardly relevant in a family sedan. We will say that Honda's two engines are adequately powerful and will continue to serve the Civic well going forward. Unlike rivals like Madza and Subaru that boast AWD availability, the Civic remains a solely FWD vehicle.
Two available powertrains have been carried over from before, with the LX and Sport making do with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-pot. Its outputs remain identical to before at 158 hp and 138 lb-ft, despite some mechanical changes, and like before, the Civic is a strictly FWD machine. There's no manual on offer, with power routed instead via a CVT - Honda dubs the base one an M-CVT - with paddles available on the Sport trim.
On the EX and Touring, the news is that the turbocharged 1.5-liter gets more power for the new model with 180 hp and 177 lb-ft. They also get a different CVT transmission dubbed the LL-CVT, with the Touring getting a pair of steering-mounted paddle shifters.
The CVT transmissions have been updated as well. Honda says both units will downshift earlier during braking, while the turbo model's transmission has modified torque converter performance.
We spent our test time in the Touring trim of the new Honda Civic, out on the best roads southeastern Michigan has to offer. We immediately enjoyed the extra 15 lb-ft of torque, though the extra six horses were a little harder to pick out. Its continuously variable transmission feels like it's tuned in a sportier fashion than before, even without hitting the new Sport mode button.
Once you've resigned yourself to the fact that there's no manual transmission here, the best thing you can do is learn to use the CVT properly. We've found that if you put your foot down about three quarters of the way, the revs climb slowly, the speeds quickly, and then you can just let off when you get to your desired speed. It's not as fun as a manual, or an automatic with paddle shifters, or just an automatic, but you can make the best of it. And there is something to be said about going from 0 to 80 mph without a lull in torque for a shift.
No matter the transmission, Sport mode does liven things up, though it only changes the powertrain response, not the chassis or steering. The revs start out high and only get higher, hanging right around 6,000 rpm to get that entire fleet of 180 horses in a full stampede. If you flatten the pedal at a medium speed, it does make faux gear changes, and it sounds okay, though we wouldn't want to see one of those with the cheap, buzzy mufflers. At expressway speeds, in Sport, it feels very quick with the revs hanging high.
The result of fine tuning the existing engines has resulted in improved gas mileage. While the increases are marginal, the previous Civic was already impressive in this particular segment.
According to the EPA, the entry-level 2.0 LX can achieve 31/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined, while the 2.0 Sport takes a slight dip to 30/37/33 mpg. The Turbo EX is capable of 33/42/36 mpg, while the sportier Touring comes with claimed figures of 31/38/34 mpg.
All models are equipped with a 12.4-gallon tank, which gives the most efficient model (Turbo EX) an estimated driving range of 446 miles.
This is where the new Civic sedan comes into its own, and where most of the improvements are seen. The Touring trim has full digital instruments, while the rest of the trims are partially digitized. The LED cluster is easy to read and understand and the simple steering wheel has logical controls. The central part of the cluster can be customized to whatever information you need at the moment.
Most surfaces have a matte finish, and even the shinier ones are made from fingerprint-phobic materials. They also look cool, especially the center console covering near the shifter. The coolest part is the honeycomb grate accent, which stretches from door to door hiding the air vents. It looks cool, not flashy, but utilitarian. Honda talked to owners and found they always liked the simplicity of Honda's cabins. The dual-zone climate control uses hefty, metal knobs for fan speed and temperature, making them easy to use while driving quickly.
It seats five passengers, and we checked out the back row, which was fine for an average sized adult. Like most cars in this segment, three adults abreast in the back would feel tight, but at least with 37.4 inches of rear legroom and 37.1 inches of headroom, two will never have any problem.
Visibility is great, as with most Civics. The windshield wipers sit low and the a-pillars are pulled back for an expansive view of what's in front of the vehicle. The cowl is the same height as the door trim, and the body lines are horizontal going towards the rear.
Overall it does harken to the Civics of yore. It feels spacious and straightforward, but it also has more tech than any predecessor, hiding it under a layer of simplicity. It's a great combination and the standout reason this car feels so easy to use.