I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hondas sell because they have that “H” logo on the front. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s very good. It proves their company is trustworthy and their products are proven. Brings to mind that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The Honda Civic definitely ain’t broke. And it’s been more than OK since it arrived roughly four decades ago. As well, it’s been the bestselling car in Canada for 17 years now. That’s right, Canadians love Civics, and with good reason.
While the 2016 Honda Civic has hit the road already, I got behind the wheel of the previous gen recently, and while I’ve never been a huge Honda fan, it’s clear to see why the Civic has such a strong following and does so well in its segment.
In general, humans gravitate towards sensible, logical decisions and purchases (most of the time anyways … please, no one look at my bank statements). From our homes to our modes of transportation, we tend to go for the practical (before we indulge in toys and extras). So, there’s a logical reason as to why the Honda Civic is such a popular car.
The Honda Civic is the sensible choice. It’s a great first car for your teen, a second car for the family or an affordable family sedan that’s as practical around town during the week as it is on an adventure on the weekend. That’s the beauty of the Civic: it’s interchangeable, it’s adaptable. And only its lack of AWD holds it back, really -- and that can and is forgiven quite easily.
Here’s a sensible vehicle that’s good on gas, and still heaps of fun to drive. That’s a huge selling point in any Honda: the drive. And the Civic Touring I puttered around town in for a week is just as engaging to drive as the Si (just not as quick). How is that? Well, it’s all in the way Hondas are made, with a base that’s solid, performs well and is generally well-sorted on the road.
In large part, Honda’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system is responsible for the peppy, ramped up feeling the Civic has on the road. There’s also the 1.8L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that produces 143 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. Outfitted in the Touring model is a CVT to handle the Civic’s power and control it out the front wheels.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of CVTs (really, I don’t think any auto journalist is), however, those who bring the 2015 Honda Civic home will love the solid swell of acceleration afforded by the system, and also appreciate the fuel-saving attributes of the set-up with a combined rating of 7.1L/100km.
In every Honda I’ve driven so far (save for the new HR-V perhaps, but that review will come at a later date…), I appreciate the steering feel of each vehicle. Connected to the car and responsive, Honda’s steering is direct and as precise as a vehicle that’s pricing starts in the mid-teens can be. The 2015 Honda Civic Touring features that steering, and so is quite enjoyable to drive overall. Not once did I wish I was in something else.
Now, Honda design. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the Honda look overall. Their lineup doesn’t really do much for me. Not that their cars are unattractive, just that they don’t make me do double takes or have me wobbly in the knees (unless an S2000 rolls by… swoon).
So, the 2015 Honda Civic Touring. It’s a sedan. It’s a Civic. It looks the part. That’s about it. Of course, the brand new 2016 model sports a much different and more aggressively designed exterior, one I’m also not totally sold on, but perhaps it’ll grow on me. Because of its Touring designation, my particular Civic was rocking a set of 17” wheels which added to the perhaps more mature look of the sedan. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the exterior of Hondas, I just don’t get turned on by their lines and edges -- and there are plenty of them on Hondas.
Especially inside: I have a hard time wrapping my brain around Honda interiors. Dual screens, a million buttons, colours galore that change as you drive. It’s a bit like an amusement park every time you turn the car on. Simplicity is often best, and Honda haven’t quite grasped that concept yet when it comes to their interior designs.
Thankfully, they make up for it with comfortable seats, and plenty of space. With a sizable 353 litre trunk, the 2015 Honda Civic is quite practical and served my son and I quite well for the week. He had plenty of room in the backseat, and front-seat passengers were able to sit comfortably without him kicking the back of their seat.
Really, there’s a damn good reason the Civic has been the best-selling car for nearly two decades: it’s a really, really good car. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and should you choose to part with your dollars and own one you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll likely buy another one a few years down the road (or upgrade for an Accord as you become more successful in life).
Sure, the Honda has some steep competition in the likes of the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and new Volkswagen Jetta, but its namesake keeps it up there backed up by its build quality, driveability, and overall appeal.
Because it’s a Honda. That’s all you really need to know.