2016 Honda Civic uptick refinement earns ‘North American Car of the Year’
True enough, journalist that participated in the “North American Car of the Year” survey picked 2016 Civic Sedan out of all comers. That was the big Honda news for the opening day of Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. Then in rolled 2017 Ridgeline Pickup.
You that read this column know that I’m a fan of Honda’s 10th generation Civic. In true American Honda fashion, the next ‘big thing’ in Honda’s stable comes to market on a much improved platform, longer, wider, more refined and more powerful than previous Civic offerings, in-fact the most powerful in Civic’s 42 year history.
Yet for 2016, Honda held the base MSRP within $150 of 2015 models, increased the base Civic model engine output by 10%, bettered fuel economy and threw in an all new 1.5 Turbocharged 170 horsepower engine option, the most powerful and fuel efficient engine in Civic history.
The first time we drove 2016 Honda Civic Sedan in Los Angeles, the sales success of Honda’s #2 best selling family hauler became self evident. The all new Civic could sell on looks alone. For us it was the interior refinement, quiet, new found power and handling prowess that cemented the deal. Bulging the restrictive confines of the economy class compact segment, this all new Civic knocked on the door of European sedans costing $ thousands more.
North American Car of the Year Honors will return Civic to segment domination
Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have vied for the #1 sales position in North America for the better part of a decade. Both makers present a reliable, long-lasting product with reasonable good looks and utility.
When we subtract factory discounted rental car fleet sales out of the equation, Honda Civic is #1 in North America. For most consumers, it’s a brand loyalty thing. “Mom and dad drove a Toyota when I grew up, I drive a Toyota.” Uncle Buck put 350,000 miles on his Civic without changing the oil, I want a Civic.
2016 Civic design takes on Audi and BMW
By upsizing and refining 10th generation Civic to European car (visual) standards, Honda effectively changes the game by broadening Civic’s appeal to a wider demographic of plausible buyers. Civic was just voted car of the year for several reasons, the primary one being added-standard-value-pricing.
A bit premature for rating 2016 Civic reliability
Kelley Blue Book “Best Buy” and “North American Car of the year” is not based on tested, long-term durability and mechanical, electronics reliability. We’ll make that assessment latter in 2016 as consumers rack up a few thousand hard driven miles.
With 2 new motors, including Civic’s first manufactured in the U.S. 1.5 Liter Turbocharged VTEC 4 cylinder Earth Dream ™ engines thrown into the mix, and a CVT transmission that’s experienced a vibrational bump or two in the road, although past Honda Civic reliability is mostly a given, for me, I’ll hold off on my most probable congratulatory salute for a job well done as to 2016 Civic until mid year 2016.
In the meantime, I’ll look forward to reviewing 2016 Civic Coupe in late February.