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2022 Honda Civic: Still reigns as top compact sedan at age 50

Technology overload and extraneous warning lights and sounds. Mood lighting and champagne flutes in mini back-seat refrigerators. Paddle shifters standard in family sedans with continuously variable transmissions? Where will it all end?

How about with a 2022 Honda Civic? It’s not a return to automotive simplicity with roll-up windows and cigarette lighters.

Rather, it’s an iconic car, now in its 11th generation. It’s 50 years old, with 12 million sold. It cost less than $31,000 for the top-line model, about two-thirds of the average price of a new car in the United States.

The 2022 Honda Civic is the 11th generation of the iconic compact sedan now 50 years old.
The 2022 Honda Civic is the 11th generation of the iconic compact sedan now 50 years old.

With its new mature appearance inside and outside, the 2022 Honda Civic moves higher on the list, maybe to the top of the list, of the industry’s best vehicles. It combines sportiness with economy, durability with versatility.

The new Honda Civic, which debuted in June of 2021, is available in several offerings, including the reviewed Touring model. It’s the top-line trim featuring a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and a smooth-shifting continuously variable transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is also available.

The zero-to-60 miles per hour standard takes 7.4 seconds. It feels quicker. Gas mileage averages are 30 miles per gallon in city driving, 37 mpg on the highway.

The 2022 Honda Civic has a surprising large amount of cargo space.
The 2022 Honda Civic has a surprising large amount of cargo space.

A compact hatchback with substantial interior space and a handsome new exterior, the 2022 Honda Civic is chock-full of standard equipment. It’s an impressive list, notably considering its price points.

For 2022, updated technology includes a larger infotainment display, wireless smartphone connectivity and improved driver-assistance features. On the Touring and Si trims, a wireless charging pad is standard, a feature not offered in some far more expensive vehicles.

It’s not too much stuff. Visual and audio warning notices are present, but not via jarring flashes or abrupt sounds that may prove more problematic than helpful.

The 2022 Honda Civic has modern technology but not-so-much to be more detrimental than beneficial.
The 2022 Honda Civic has modern technology but not-so-much to be more detrimental than beneficial.

Additionally impressive for its class, the Civic also includes standard: 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic wipers, foglights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, rear USB ports and a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system.

Like many other small family cars, Honda Civic sales have plummeted, meaning Honda has improved its stalwart vehicle to maintain its status among the considerable competition. Rivals such as the Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla are all wise choices.

Throughout its long tenure, Civic annual sales have sizably fluctuated. A 9.4 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 increased the end-of-the-year sales tally in the U.S. to 366,927 in 2016. A year later, an all-time high of 377,266 Civics sold.

In 2020, with competitors’ vehicles vastly improved and with Covid-19 disrupting the automotive business, annual sales fell to 261,225. A slight year-end increase occurred last year.

As a compact, spaciousness and overall comfort shouldn’t be expected. The new Civic surprises again. With its 60-40 split seats down, 25.4 cubic feet of cargo space appears. It’s more than most competitors. The leather seating in top trims is comfortable and the seats are bolstered well.

Legroom and headroom are also considerable, again noting the segment. Entry and exit are better than in some large sedans. And the Civic doesn’t take bumps and other road imperfections with any less smoothness than cars known for road serenity.

The Honda Civic’s lone downfall isn’t the vehicle’s fault; it’s the carmaker’s issue. Honda has maintained its 3-year/36,000-mile powertrain warranty for decades. It’s a sub-standard policy and it could convince buyers to choose another brand.

But the warranty shortcoming shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. The Honda Civic at age 50 is as relevant as any vehicle on the road today.


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