Car of the Year

Honda Civic: 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year Finalist

Turbo Power and Active Safety Tech for the 10th-Gen Civic

Turbo Power and Active Safety Tech for the 10th-Gen Civic

We Like: Its roomier cabin, swanky interior digs.

We Don’t Like: The busy exterior design, needlessly complex infotainment system.

Honda‘s Civic made its reputation by being small, light, and unpretentious,” Angus MacKenzie started his notes. “Its designers would not recognize the new 10th-generation Civic.”

Bigger, flashier, and more technologically advanced than ever, the new Civic impressed us. Honda paid more attention to the interior than anywhere else. With the Civic’s adult-friendly back seat getting 1.2 extra inches of legroom, the more luxurious Civic makes a strong argument for itself. Our top-level Touring test car featured a futuristic interior design, swanky leather, and standard active safety tech. “This has to be the best lane keep assist and active cruise control for the price,” Ed Loh said.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Car of the Year contenders and finalists at the links below. Check out the Car of the Year introduction HERE, read about the evaluation process HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.

The new Civic’s exterior design didn’t find as much favor with judges as its interior. “There’s too much surface activity with the lines and surface breaks,” guest judge Tom Gale noted. “The ‘humpy’ feel of the front fender and quarter panel is most bothersome.” Other judges commented that the Civic’s nose looked “Acura-y” and that the profile was reminiscent of the old Crosstour.

Although most Honda buyers will likely care more about how their cars look than drive, they’ll still enjoy the Civic’s two powertrains. The volume engine is a 2.0-liter I-4 producing 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. The optional turbocharged engine is a North American first for Honda cars. The 1.5-liter, turbo I-4 is paired with a CVT and makes 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque.

“The first thing you notice when you start the Honda Civic is the quietness of the engine and its smoothness,” observed guest judge Chris Theodore. “The 1.5-liter turbo is a little slow off the line, but it gathers itself up at about 3000 rpm and pulls strongly from there. The CVT has artificial shift points built into it and, at least on acceleration, responded surprisingly well.”

The new Civic represents a strong evolution. Although its original designers may not recognize it, buyers sure will. “There’s little question,” Jason Camissa said, “that this is the best car in its class.”

2016 Honda Civic Touring
BASE PRICE $27,335
PRICE AS TESTED $27,335
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 1.5L/174-hp/162-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable automatic
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.3 x 70.8 x 55.7 in
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,925 lb (61/39%)
ACCELERATION, 0-60 MPH 7.2 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.5 sec @ 92.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 123 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.83 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.5 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 31/42/35 mpg (est)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 109/80 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.55 lb/mile (est)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 27/45/33

2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contenders:

2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year Finalists: