In Sept. 16, 2015, file photo, American Honda Motor Co., Executive Vice President John Mendel unveiled the redesigned 2016 Honda Civic, in Detroit. One of America’s most popular cars for decades, the Civic sedan for 2016 has stylish new looks, a roomier interior, more features than ever and two new engines, including Honda’s first turbocharged engine for the United States. Fuel economy is improved, too. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
The Civic has been a best-seller in America for decades, but that didn't stop Honda from overhauling the sedan for 2016. The results: more room, features and power than ever, including the option of Honda's first turbo engine in a U.S. model.
The 2016 Civic is the largest ever, with interior and trunk space that actually qualify it as a mid-size rather than the compact model it has been, according to federal government classifications.
But the Civic four-door doesn't look or drive like a big car. The test-driven model rode smoothly and handled well, managing body motions better than ever with its new underlying platform.
Fuel economy is improved, too.
The U.S. government's mileage ratings for the 2016 Civic surpass all other non-hybrid, gasoline-powered, mid-size sedans. The government's rating of 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 42 mpg on the highway for the 2016 Civic four-door with a turbo four-cylinder engine even beats most smaller cars' ratings.
Honda revamped the Civic sedan lineup as well. The slow-selling Civic Hybrid sedan and natural gas-powered model are gone for 2016.
The starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, increased only $150 on the base 2016 Civic LX sedan. It starts at $18,475 for the six-speed manual transmission version and $20,275 for the version with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The LX and EX trim levels for 2016 come standard with a new naturally aspirated 2-liter four-cylinder that's the Civic's most powerful base engine ever. It generates 158 horsepower and 138 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. This engine is the only one that offers a choice of manual transmission or CVT.
The Civic's higher trim levels of EX-T, EX-L and the new Touring trim come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 174 horsepower and 162 foot-pounds of torque starting at 1,700 rpm.
The starting retail price, including destination charge, for turbo models is $23,035, but it reaches as high as $27,335 for the Touring model. The Touring model includes leather, LED headlights and taillights, dual automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, a moonroof and a package of safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane-keeping assist.
All 2016 Civic sedans are longer, wider and lower than their predecessor and come standard with a rearview camera.
In the test-driven Civic Touring sedan, the turbo power was noticeable and gave the car a new, fun personality when the Eco mode was turned off. There was a bit of turbo lag when starting up from a stop, and then the 2,900-pound Civic would take off.
The tested car managed 29 mpg in mostly city travel that was done with the Eco mode activated and occasional spurts of demanding driving. On the highway, it commonly managed 39 mpg.
The average city/highway real-world driving translated to a commendable 421 miles on a single 12.39-gallon tank of regular gasoline. Honda doesn't require premium.
The ride wasn't as quiet as expected — when idling, passengers could hear the engine and road noise.
The seats were surprisingly comfortable and looked good in the leather trim, and the back seats can legitimately accommodate adults, with an extra 1.2 inches of legroom than the previous version.
The Civic's headroom ranges from 37.1 inches without a moonroof to 36.8 inches with one.
Honda did away with its two-tier dashboard. The new Civic's streamlined dashboard makes the plastics look upscale. Unfortunately, though, neither the glovebox nor the center console locks.
The tested car's 7-inch display screen atop the dashboard didn't have a knob for tuning the radio or adjusting volume, forcing riders to use the touchscreen or steering wheel controls.
One nice touch: A ribbed control on the steering wheel that easily adjusted the audio volume.
Trunk space now measures up to 15.1 cubic feet, and there's more cargo space with the split rear seatbacks folded down.