The proverbial compact sedan: The Honda Civic. You can't get much more Canadian than this car, the best-selling sedan in Canada for 17 consecutive years. My tester is probably a little more loaded than the average Civic on the road though, a Touring model, which is the top model if you exclude the sporty Si.
This 2015 Civic is priced at just over $25,000 but it does have a lot of features you may find in a more upscale car as well -- initial impressions are that this is not a basic compact sedan that I expect from a Civic. The leather seats look grown up, navigation and automatic climate control are included as well, and of course power heated seats and a moonroof.
Also included is a rear-view camera that is incredibly clear, but even cooler is Honda LaneWatch with blind spot display. This is the first time I've seen this working and it is wonderful -- turn the right signal light on and the infotainment screen displays your blind spot clearly and ultra sharp, I've never felt so comfortable changing lanes!
Hopefully this new Civic, now with CVT, feels as grown up as it looks.
Pricing: 2015 Honda Civic Touring
Base Price: $24,050
A/C Tax: $100
Price as Tested: $25,650
I'm no Honda Civic expert or anything but I have driven the last few model years (2013, 2014 and now 2015). Each year seems to come with some interior changes that some think are worse than previous years and some think are improved. Without seeing them back to back, I honestly couldn't tell you the differences specifically, but I will say that this version seems the best of the bunch.
The door panels have a quality look and feel while there were some cheap feeling pieces in previous years. Perhaps the leather trim gives the Civic that extra upscale panache, but it certainly seems like the nicest interior in a Civic I've driven.
Visibility is good all around in the Civic as well and I'm really, really loving that LaneWatch feature that displays your blind spot in the infotainment screen, it's truly one of the biggest technology improvements. I've adapted so quickly and seamlessly, I'll miss it when it's gone next week.
Civic's of the past had very little leg and headroom for rear passengers, but as the years have gone on the car has grown. It doesn't take much to make a car feel that much larger inside and the 2015 rear seats especially feel surprisingly roomy compared to comparable vehicles I have driven recently.
When I picked up this vehicle I wondered if it drove as 'grown-up' as it looked. After a nearly a week behind the wheel the answer is an obvious yes. The 2015 Civic has grown up quite a bit; gone are the days of the noisy rev-happy engine that tires you out on long drives.
Gone is the tin can feel of the old Civic too. I have always found Civics of the past to be very noisy on the highway (road noise mostly) and just not enjoyable on longer drives. The 2015 Civic solves all of that, and I do wonder if the "dreaded" CVT transmission is what solves a lot of it.
Acceleration is smooth from a start all the way up to beyond legal speeds on the highway. The little four-cylinder engine feels much bigger than its 1.8 litres and the torque delivery is smooth and linear. I am certain this is because of the CVT transmission is always keeping the engine at the sweet spot.
The 2015 Civic is quiet and actually a joy to take out on the highway -- at highway speeds the engine turns over just under 2,000 rpm, road noise is very minimal and there is no wind noise that I can hear.
The ride quality seems to have improved over time as well, the suspension is very controlled and compliant over rough pavement, yet it still sticks in the corners when you want it to stick. The tires are obviously a little on the "save the planet" side as they certainly give up quickly – especially when braking.
It's very odd but there seem to be some cars that just kill my back and the Civic unfortunately is one of them. I couldn't figure out why my back was sore this week, then I put two and two together, it has been sore since I picked up this car. What is odd is that the seats feel comfortable to me, but it's only after I drive the car that my back goes into fits.
Despite the sore back I have endured and averaged 6.6 L/100 km over the week with the Civic -- pretty darn good indeed. The Corolla I had a few months ago averaged an eerily, nearly identical 6.5 L/100 km and I'll have to admit to driving the Civic, on average a little faster. So conclusion? Well the Civic is just as efficient as the Corolla in my travels.
Overall I liked the 2015 Civic, it offers a lot of features in the Touring trim and the price is on par. The aforementioned 2015 Toyota Corolla I tested was a few thousand less expensive but was also missing a few features, namely that wicked LaneWatch system I so dearly love.