The new Honda Civic’s recent Canadian Car of the Year title comes after success in two rounds of voting and scoring, backed by over 100,000 weighted data points, collected and tabulated after thousands of man-hours of competitive evaluation, by nearly 100 Canadian car review experts.

All of the driving and scoring occurred during Test Fest – the annual week-long evaluation portion of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC)’s Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) awards program. The event requires voting car review experts to drive groups of vehicles, arranged in categories by price and intention, one after the other, through various public road and special driving exercises, before filling out a report card on each model tested. Back to back testing, which highlights differences (and similarities) between competing models, is the core of the program’s test and scoring results.

The sticky? Civic’s Canadian Car of the Year title saw it first beat out all competitors with the highest score, by a not-insignificant lead, in its initial testing category, and then beat out all category winners during another round of voting on bigger-picture criteria, for the overall Canadian Car of the Year title.

A win is all about the scoring here, and for this update on the long-term Civic tester, I thought we’d dissect some of those scoring results, focusing on the areas where the new Civic stood out against other small cars in its testing category (Scion iM, VW Jetta, Toyota Yaris, Smart Fortwo).

Styling: Civic’s scoring for interior and exterior styling led the competitive set, with scores of 7.8 and 8.0, respectively. Civic’s new look is controversial, though ultimately unique, distinctive, and unmistakable. This might be the first Civic instantly identifiable at a good distance, and there’s little generic about it. Notably, the interior styling score bested the closest runners up (Scion iM and Toyota Yaris) by more than half a point – thanks in part to a modern, fresh and dynamic new cabin set off by above-average of attention to detail, and effective use of upscale materials.

Shoppers moving from an older Civic into a new one will find the cabin light-years ahead of the last-generation model, not to mention one of the very best in the segment today, all while maintaining core attributes including plentiful at-hand storage and spacious proportions.

Notably a Quality score of 8.0 left competitors trailing by a half-point or more, with good build quality, attention to detail and finishing, and a solid and dense feel throughout being partly to thank.

Behind the scenes: Building the New 2016 Honda Civic

NVH and Engine Refinement: The all-encompassing NVH score for overall smoothness, noise levels and lack of harshness and negative feedback saw Civic and Jetta leading the pack, with Civic’s score of 7.8 coming in 0.3 points ahead of the second-place VW. From the driver’s seat, though Civic rides on the sporty-stiff side, ride quality rarely degrades into discomfort, even on severely rough roads. The steering is tuned similarly – weighty and quick, it’s also isolated almost totally from harsh feedback and tugging when rough surfaces pass beneath. Steering aficionados won’t like the numb feel, but many will appreciate how virtually no harshness from the road makes its way to the driver’s fingertips. It all contributes to a driving experience that’s responsive, refined and upscale.

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