The Honda Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada for like… ever.

Expertly reflecting our national taste in vehicles, the Civic has resolutely stood for solid, basic, economical and reliable transportation, with a dash of driving flair on the side. Granted, there hasn’t been much of the latter lately. In fact, the outgoing ninth generation Civic pretty much lost step with he program. Not a year after being launched in the fall of 2011, Honda hauled it back into the workshop to address criticisms leveled at its sub par interior quality, uninspired handling and somewhat dull styling. The fact that they’ve been smearing lipstick on this car for four years seems not to matter much. It’s still the top seller here.

With this fresh from bumper to bumper 2016 Civic, Honda sure ain’t going down that path again.

The 2016 Honda Civic starts at $15,990 for the DX with six-speed manual, 16-inch steel wheels and an all new 158-hp 2.0L four. I’m at the other end of the spectrum with the top trim Civic Limited ($26,990), and at this point few, if any, have seen the 10th gen car.

And the weird thing is, it’s so far removed from any Civic that has come before, I’m having a hard time convincing people this car actually is a Honda Civic. It’s lower, longer, wider, has a daringly creased and rakish “four-door coupe” profile, and in this Touring trim it’s all blinged out with 17-inch alloys, full LED headlights, ritzy chrome accents and a “Turbo” sticker just ahead of the rear wheel well. Turbo? Honda? Does not compute.

Exhibit A: I pick up a friend. He eyes the sculpted exterior and then hops in the leather lined, soft-touch cabin. He asks me how much it costs. “What? Only 27 grand?” he replies incredulously. Then I tell him it’s the new Civic. Complete shock.

Exhibit B: My neighbor recently purchased a Acura TLX. On spying the Civic he comes over and asks “What’s THAT?” Total surprise when I tell him the nameplate… and the price. His response: “I should have bought one of those.”

Where it all began: Find of the Week: 1977 Honda Civic Hatchback

Sit in the Touring’s nicely contoured leather seats and you’re an inch lower than last year’s model. The cowl is low, giving the Civic a more sporty feel and fine outward visibility. You face a high quality dash that no longer features the Civic’s signature two-tier instrument panel. Look through the wheel and there’s a large, fully digital speedometer with various info displays within, including a turbo boost graph. To the right, a fuel gauge. To the left, temperature gauge. No tachometer though. Centre dash is a flush 7-inch infotainment screen, and below some hard buttons for HVAC.

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