An all-new version of Honda’s best-selling Civic – and I still love it!
Review and photos by Tom Sedens. There are always more photos at the end of my reviews.
Pricing: 2022 Honda Civic
Base price (Touring trim): $30,265
Options: $300 Platinum White Pearl paint
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $32,365
Anyone who has followed along with my vehicle reviews will know I really like Civics. I have generally always thought they were a smart buy, and have often recommended one – as a matter of fact, I put my money where my mouth is and purchased a 2021 Civic for our kids.
So I have to be honest here and say it took a while for the new Civic’s styling to grow on me. It’s notably less chiseled and angular – the lines have been smoothed out and sculpted. And it’s looking pretty grown up. I’m just now sure I love it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous generation’s wealth of fake air intakes and outlets all over the place, but otherwise, I thought it was pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong – the new Civic is a beauty, but it’s kind of a boring beauty. The streamlined shape no longer sets it apart from the masses, and your 2022 Civic is in danger of blending in – something the last generation never did.
So personal and subjective opinions aside, it is a handsome car – although as I said, a bit bland. The headlight pods get a new design, compromised of a blend of LEDs and LED daytime running lights. The foglights and sideview mirror integrated signal lights are also LEDs.
The whole thing gets finished off with beautiful 18-inch rims, wearing relatively huge 235/40-sized tires.
Honda boasts that the new Civic’s cockpit is more open. It’s definitely a departure in terms of styling and I really like it. Things are cleaned up and feel more streamlined, and perhaps modern.
One of the coolest touches is the strip of hexagon-pattern mesh that spans the width of the dashboard – the air vents are invisibly integrated here, and the only hint they even exist are cool little joysticks to adjust them with. I love it!
The materials are very nice for an “entry-level” vehicle. The dash and upper door panels are clad in soft-touch materials, including upholstered panels with contrasting stitching.
Behind the heated steering wheel, that feels fantastic in hand, is a digital 10.2″ dash. Each side allows you to customize what you’re looking at in the middle of the “gauge” using thumb wheels on each side of the steering wheel – it’s an excellent, intuitive information system.
The heated leather seats (with lovely perforated inserts) are equally comfortable and well-bolstered – both sides are power-adjustable.
Front and centre is a 9-inch touchscreen, which is crisp and equally responsive to touch and swipe gestures. The user interface is quite intuitive and clean and you’ll manage everything from your phone, navigation, vehicle settings and the excellent 12-speaker BOSE sound system from here. Honda has mercifully included hard buttons for Home and Back, track skip and reverse as well as a volume and power knob – excellent! Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless and beautifully integrated.
Below the screen is a compact climate control panel (with super cool knurled control knobs), and that’s kind of it in terms of “stuff” on the dash. Like I said, very clean and simple.
The Civic has a proximity key system, so you just need to touch the door handle to unlock it and the ignition is a push-start. Overhead is a powered sunroof with a manual sunshade, and there are universal garage door opener buttons on the rearview mirror.
There is a lot of driver assistance technology included in the Civic. You get forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, a back-up camera and front and rear parking sensors, automatic high beams and rear cross-traffic monitoring.
As has been the case for a while, the Civic’s rear seats offer a significant amount of room. I’m 5’10” and sitting behind my own driving position, I had at least 6 inches of legroom and plenty of space for my feet under the seat as well. Both outboard seats are heated and there are two USB charging ports at the back of the centre console. You can fold the middle seatback down for an armrest with two cupholders.
The middle seating position is the odd man out – it’s narrow, raised and straddles a small floor tunnel. If you are transporting small children, there are two sets of LATCH connectors for their seats.
There’s a generous open tray at the front of the centre console, which is also a wireless charging mat. Above it are two USB and one 12V plug. Pop the lid on the armrest and you’ll find a fairly deep bin. What I miss from the previous generation is the utility of the sliding bins and organizers that were in the centre console – this new console is very much like every other one and lacks the extra flexibility.
The trunk has an assisted-opening gas strut, which is nice – you can open it from the driver’s seat, a button on the trunk lid or the key fob. The opening is large and the 408L space is spacious and usable. Rear seats split 60/40 and can be folded down from the trunk to reveal a large pass-through which allows for large/longer items to be handled in the cargo space. Actually, it’s interesting to note the rear seats can only be folded from inside the trunk – you can’t do it from inside the car.
This deserves a special shout-out. I have been bitching at Honda for years now for never including an inside trunk handle to close the lid with – the Civic now has one – thank you Honda!
Under the Hood
The engines for the Civic are a carry-0ver – this top-trim Touring gets the 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder putting down 180 HP and 177 lb.ft of torque at a nice low 1700 RPM. The front-wheel driver’s power is managed by a continuously-variable transmission and this combination is quite frugal, getting a rating of 7.6/6.1 L/100km (city/hwy) from Honda. We ended up with a stellar 7.2 L/100km average over the course of over 500 km in the Civic, much of it city driving and with no effort to drive efficiently.
Firing up the Civic to warm it up or cool it off is not a problem – all trim levels come with remote starters.
On the console is a driving mode selector allowing you to choose between Normal, Sport and ECON modes. The engine provides enough oomph off the line and around town, and adequate power when on the go. It’s not a rocket, but it can easily hold its own when getting up to speed, merging and passing so no complaints there. Of course the CVT will have your RPMs soaring while you’re trying to get up to speed, but that’s the nature of these transmissions. You can “shift” gears with paddle shifters if that’s your thing – it’s all fake of course since there aren’t any real gears, but it’s a pretty convincing exercise so have at it if you enjoy that.
The Civic’s suspension has been incredible refined in the last couple of generations. This one is no different. The ride is excellent, and even with those low profile tires, it soaks up big hits like a champ. But the real boon is the sublime handling characteristics this car has been blessed with. As with the last generation, the car happily carves into corners and curves at any speeds and stays remarkably flat and balanced. Its grip is tremendous and it feels so easy to take advantage of its capabilities. It’s as easy to drive the Civic as a daily commuter as it is to head into the canyons and carve some corners at high speeds.
The Civic is relatively quiet overall. There is some engine noise when you step on it, of course, and it’s not the best-sounding mill. But when the revs die down, you can tell Honda has worked hard to reduce wind and road noise.
Braking is outstanding – the binders are powerful and easy to modulate. Visibility out of the car is generally great, although the rear window is pretty short which somewhat restricts the view out back.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was very high. She actually really likes the new styling and said it drives beautifully.
As I’ve said before and in this review already, I’m a die-hard Civic fan. They are smart cars and they make a lot of sense for a lot of drivers. There’s a good reason they are one of Canada’s best-selling vehicles. This new generation carries over the previous powertrains – the 2L and the 1.5L turbo and the CVT transmission – but otherwise, it mostly feels updated.
It’s a remarkably easy car to live with – there’s plenty of luxury for the price, it has all the technology you can ask for, and the driving experience is simply outstanding from a comfort and accessible performance perspective. There’s room for 4 big adults, and enough trunk space for a road trip. There’s little if anything that feels entry-level about the Civic – it’s incredibly refined in almost every way.
Small sedans are definitely a shrinking market, but kudos to Honda for sticking with their Civic and continuing to make one of the best little cars on the road. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who’s shopping – even if you have your heart set on a crossover, check out the Civic – it might remind you of how great cars are.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Honda Canada.
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