In a press to make all things iPad-cool, Honda has determined humans have no need for a rotary volume knob anymore – despite all that tactile, opposing thumbs business that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution has bestowed upon us. So to change audio volume, you can either poke away at a digital slider icon on the screen, or use the admittedly slick control on the steering wheel that combines a slider function with a rocker switch. Or you can do what I did for the first couple of days – reach over and crank up the temp control, utter some unprintable epitaphs, and then turn the heat back down.
Other than that, the infotainment works quite well. Phone pairing was quick, navigation programming intuitive, and the pinch a swipe screen proved very useful when navigating through city streets. I could quickly zoom in, out and swipe ahead to see what was coming up.
Taking a cue from the Koreans who are steaming up the Civic’s tail, Honda is not being stingy with the equipment level here in the Touring. We get sunroof, adaptive cruise, proximity key with push button start, collision mitigation, lane keep assist, heated rear seats, wireless phone charging, full smart phone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, nav, full LED headlights, and Honda’s LaneWatch that shoots an rear-view image from the right side of the car when the right signal is activated. The 450-watt 10-speaker audio kicks pretty good too.
There’s a deep storage bin under the centre armrest, a hidden Volvo-esque cubby behind the “floating” centre console, and trunk volume shoots up by about 20 percent.
Okay, so the 2016 Civic Touring get some pretty slick duds both inside and out. What’s it like to drive?
The 2016 Civic rides on a new platform that will also underpin the next Accord. It is 25 percent stiffer than the old one, 31 kg lighter and wheelbase is up by 30 mm. The upper trim lines (EX-T and Touring) get an all-new 1.5L twin-scroll turbo four that generates 174 hp and 162 lb-ft from 1700 rpm. It drives the front wheels through a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This is the first time Honda has offered a turbocharged engine in our market. Fuel economy is pegged at 7.6 L/100 km city, 5.5 hwy and 6.7 combined. I saw 7.5 L/100 at the conclusion of the week.