2022 Honda Civic
2022 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic compact sedan or hatchback, one of the most popular cars in the world, has been redesigned for 2022. It’s sleeker and softer on the outside, and upgraded on the inside, with materials that are impressive even on the base LX.
The sedan is 1.4 inches longer, making it nearly a mid-size car. It’s 183.3 inches overall, on a 107.7-inch wheelbase, bigger than the Accord used to be. Its sloped hood has been stretched by 2 inches, while the rear deck has been chopped a bit. Meanwhile the hatchback is 4.9 inches shorter than the sedan.
The engines remain basically the same, with the standard 2.0-liter inline-4 making 158 horsepower on the lower models, and a 1.5-liter turbo-4 with 180 horsepower on upper models–that’s an increase of 6 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque from 2021. A CVT is standard, with a 6-speed manual gearbox available on two of the hatchback versions. The Civic is front-wheel drive, without the option of all-wheel drive.
Two big reasons for the Civic’s popularity are that it’s well equipped and affordable. The ride and handling are sophisticated, and there’s good room in the rear seat for two passengers, with the possibility for a third, in this five-passenger car.
A third reason is its fuel economy. The most popular model, the EX, is EPA rated at 33 mpg city, 42 highway, 36 combined as a sedan, while the EX-L hatchback gets 31/39/35 mpg. The Sport models get a bit less, and the available 6-speed manual brings the mileage down by a couple more miles per gallon.
The new Civic has not yet been crash-tested by the NHTSA, but the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick+. Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Top models get blind-spot monitors and parking sensors.
Made in Canada (the sedan) and Indiana (hatchback), the Civic sedan comes as LX, Sport, EX, and Si, while the hatchback comes as LX, Sport, EX-L and Sport Touring.
The entry-level LX sedan at $22,695 comes with LED headlights, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 4-speaker sound system, and 16-inch wheels.
The $25,695 EX comes with the more powerful turbocharged engine, and adds heated front seats, power sunroof, blind-spot monitors and 17-inch wheels.
The $29,295 Touring brings leather seats with power adjustment, a 9.0-inch touchscreen, 10.2-inch digital display for gauges, 12-speaker Bose sound system, satellite and HD radio, wireless phone charging, parking sensors, and 18-inch wheels.
The hatchback LX starts at $23,915; the Sport at $25,115; the EX-L (for leather) at $27,615; and $30,415 for Sport Touring. Both the Sport and Sport Touring can be had with a 6-speed manual gearbox instead of the CVT. The Si costs $27,300, not including destination.
The warranty is 3 years or 36,000 miles.
The overall shape of the new Civic is the same as before, but gone are the too-many creases, edges and slits on the previous version. Those busy details have been replaced by dramatic lines, at least in front, where a longer hood slopes toward the nose and makes the sedan look like it’s grown by more than a couple inches, despite being chopped off more at the tail. The roof pillars have a more relaxed attitude, adding sleekness, while the rear side windows add maturity by being less pinched than before.
Meanwhile the hatchback is five inches shorter than the sedan, all of that length coming (or not coming) from behind the rear wheels. But it doesn’t look chopped off, as the rear window tapers gently down to a rear lip spoiler. The hatchback also has its own grille, a honeycomb, to separate it further from the sedan.
If you want to step back a bit and go back to being showy, the Sport and Sport Touring models have optional body kits with glossy black trim, spoilers and emblems.
The new cabin is clean and appealing, with soft-touch materials that hit above their pay grade, including matte surfaces and plastic on the console that resists fingerprints, and metal details on some switches, which go on-off with a sharp click. One of the distinctive touches is a mesh strip that hides and separates the adjustable climate vents. The instrument panel seems designed as a small step toward the future of electric cars. The forward view through the big windshield and over the low dash is expansive, thanks in part to the slope of the hood. But first you have to raise the front seats, because they’re low.
The LX seats are cloth and manually adjustable, while the EX seats get heat, and the Touring gets power and leather. The Touring seats are plush and have good bolstering but need more lumbar support. The Touring also gets a 9.0-inch touchscreen, which is 2.0 inches bigger than other models. Touchscreens are measured on the diagonal, same as TV screens.
The rear seat is nearly big enough for three adults; it’s contoured for two, with a perch in the middle. There’s 37.4 inches of leg room, about average for a mid-size car (but remember the Civic is technically a compact). There are USB ports back there.
The rear seat folds forward, but it’s only split 60/40 on the EX and Touring. The sedan has a big trunk, 14.8 cubic feet (14.4 for the Touring), which is surprising since the redesign took some inches off the back. But the hatchback wins in utility, with 24.5 cubic feet when the rear seatback is dropped. In the cargo area, there are screens that conceal the contents.
The tight construction of the Civic shows. The cabin isn’t always quiet but it’s always pleasant, even when some engine noise finds its way in.
The shapely rooflines steal some rearward vision on both the sedan and hatchback.
The base engine isn’t very fast, even with only a light weight of 2,877 pounds to carry. It’s a 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 158 horsepower, mated to a CVT, and its acceleration might be acceptable, but it’s sluggish away from a red light. There are modes for the driver to select, but even in Sport the driver has to plan the car’s momentum for merging and passing.
The Touring model weighs 130 pounds more, but it has the 1.5-liter turbo-4 engine with 180 horsepower, and that makes a difference. The torque has been increased by 15 pound-feet over the 2021 model, and that’s enough to help low-speed acceleration a noticeable amount. However the powerband doesn’t come on strong until 4,000 rpm.
The 6-speed and turbo engine are a good fit, making the hatchback responsive and enjoyable. The clutch is a bit light, but it’s not one bit catchy.
The Sports also come with 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, versus the standard 16-inch or EX’s 17-inch wheels. The bigger wheels don’t hurt the ride, which might be the Civic’s best dynamic quality, along with the balanced handling. The steering wheel transmits some of the feel of the road.
The Si comes only as a sedan, and only offers the 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching to smooth gear changes. Its 1.5-liter turbo-4 churns out 200 hp and 192 lb-ft, which makes it capable of a 0-60 mph time of below seven seconds. It’s more assertively tuned, which makes for a firmer ride that’s still shy of unpleasant; the steering’s quicker but doesn’t dial in more feeling.
One downside to the new longer Civic is a larger turning circle, 38.1 feet, as much as a crossover. That will be felt in parking.
The 2022 Honda Civic remains at the top of the economy-car list, though it’s bigger and more expensive than ever. Low-key models have smart price tags and fuel-economy ratings, while the more entertaining versions get turbo power and more engaging road manners.
—By Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection