Reviews

2016 Honda Civic Coupe Walk Around

As noted the coupe shares the sedan’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, a 3.1-inch stretch versus the previous generation. But at 176.9 inches, the new coupe is an inch shorter than the previous version, 1.8 inches wider (70.8 inches), a smidge lower (0.1 inch) at 54.9 inches, with much wider track: 60.9 inches front, 61.5 rear, increases of 1.9 and 1.6 inches, respectively.

And even though the coupe is an inch shorter, its overhangs, the portions of the car that extend beyond the front and rear axles, have shrunk even more, by 1.4 inches front, 3.0 inches rear.

Compared to the new sedan, the coupe is 5.4 inches shorter, and almost an inch lower.

If the image objective is cool and athletic, the Civic has it covered. It’s lean, sexy, and ready to rock and roll.

Interior

Inside, the coupe has the same high quality materials that distinguish the sedan. That includes first rate bucket seats, and a rear seat actually habitable by adults. Though the new car is an inch shorter than the previous coupe, and substantially shorter than the sedan, Honda’s interior designers, long celebrated for creating space inside that seems physically impossible for a given set of exterior dimensions, have expanded rear seat legroom by 2.2 inches.

The stretched wheelbase is the key to this design legerdemain. Honda has also increased the coupe’s rear headroom, even though the roof is a smidge lower. This was achieved by lowering the seating positions slightly, and the car’s center of gravity along with them. Also, a new electric parking brake eliminates the traditional mechanism, recovering space in the center console area. All good.

And as you’d expect of any new car, the coupe’s connectivity and telematics have been enhanced, with the same infotainment features and options that made their debut with the sedan. The new nav system, in particular, is a big improvement on the previous generation, much easier to program, much more helpful with traffic problems and alternate routes.

On the downside, Honda’s love affair with touch screen secondary controls continues to border on obsessive, not a knob or switch to be seen. The volume slide control is particularly irritating, very difficult to be precise if the car is jiggling around at all, though the driver can alter volume via a little thumb switch on the steering wheel.

The word irritating also brings to mind a couple of new available safety features: adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking; and lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist.

Like all of these systems, the Civic’s adaptive cruise leaves too big a gap to the car in front, even at the closest setting, allowing interlopers to cut in front. Turn it off to dissect traffic and the system’s radar is spring-loaded for panic, constantly flashing a BRAKE! warning on a screen below and between the major instruments. Fortunately, we never quite initiated the autonomous braking feature.

The lane departure/lane-keeping system flashes a warning when the car treads close to a center or edge line and the driver hasn’t signaled a lane change. Then it jiggles the wheel to nudge the car back to the path of true righteousness. The sensation is similar to that produced by a bad wheel bearing.

There is some comic relief. When the system gets to the wheel jiggling stage, another warning flashes in the instrument binnacle: STEERING REQUIRED! Oh, really?

Fortunately, this system can be turned off.

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