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Auto review: Refined looks, tech for 11th-generation Civic

Barry Spyker, Tribune News Service on

Published in Business News

Honda Civic owners have been among the most loyal to their brand for many years, much like enthusiasts of Jeep and Subaru. Give them a minute and Civic folks will chatter about its reliability, fuel economy and value.

The popular compact sedan — the top seller in its segment — has been redesigned inside and out for 2022 and that is likely to bolster the loyalty. The 11th-generation Civic has a longer and sleeker body, improved handling traits and a more refined cabin with upgraded technology.

About the only thing the Japanese carmaker left unchanged are the two powertrains from last year, a 2.0-liter four and a turbocharged 1.5-liter, both paired with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). Oh, and Honda dropped the manual tranny from the sedan; only the hatchback can get the 6-speed manual.

Exterior changes are modest but effective. It has a longer nose and more aggressive profile. It also gets a slightly wider track, longer wheelbase and longer body by 1.4 inches. The top-line Touring has flashier 18-inch wheels, flat-black grille accents and LED headlights and foggers.

The Touring, not surprisingly, gets the peppier of the two engines. The 1.5-liter turbo compiles 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, and the power is sent to the front wheels only. No all-wheel-drive available here.

The low-end torque is competent for brisk starts from the traffic light, with 0-60 mph coming at 7.5 ticks and the quarter-mile at 15.8. Activate Sport mode and the Civic stiffens a bit and lengthens the CVT's simulated shifts. Other drive modes include Normal and Econ.

 

Despite chassis refinements, handling is unchanged from last year, and that's a good thing: Steering is nicely weighted and honest, making tight spaces a breeze. An updated suspension keeps Civic flat enough on sharper curves, yet it's tuned to tame the road bumps and dips for greater comfort.

On the highway, the ride is comfortable and stable with minimal noise from the road or wind. Equally satisfying, Honda says to expect upwards of 42 mpg on the highway with the turbo, with 33 city and 36 combined.

The cabin has a cleaner look this year, accented by a broad honeycomb-patterned strip that stretches across the dash — pretty cool and it hides the AC vents, too. Soft-touch materials cover the doors and center console.

Passenger space remains the same but Honda boosted luggage space: With a low trunk floor, it can accommodate 14.4 cubic feet of stuff.

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