Sometimes, success can be a detriment.
Engine: 2.0 L four-cylinder
Power: 158 hp, 138 lb-ft of torque
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city, 41 mpg hwy
Optional Engine: 1.5 L turbocharged four-cylinder
Power: 174 hp, 162 lb-ft.
Fuel Economy: 31 mpg city, 41 mpg hwy
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Optional Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
US Price: TBD
The Honda Civic Coupe has been so accepted and so embraced by the youth car culture that it has gained the unfortunate reputation in some circles as being nothing more than a kid’s tuner car. But in reality, it’s a lot more than that. The Civic Coupe is bought by people of all ages and demographics that seek an economical, practical and fun-to-drive compact.
And as of 2016, it’s now a survivor. With the recent announcement that the Scion tC will cease to exist after this summer, Honda’s small coupe is left with just one, true competitor – the Kia Forte Koup. But rather than rest on the brand’s laurels and watch the cash roll in, Honda has introduced an all-new Civic Coupe for 2016 that may just be the best one yet.
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Like the Sedan
Love it or leave it, the styling that debut on the 2016 Civic Sedan is present and accounted for on the Coupe. But, like what typically happens during the metamorphosis from four- to two-doors, the Civic looks much better in coupe form – especially around its hind quarters. From some angles, it almost looks like a two-door hatchback, bringing back fond, teary-eyed EG and EJ memories for Civic diehards.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Honda Civic Review
Under the shiny sheet metal are the same mechanics as found in the sedan. That means a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 hp and 138 lb-ft is standard, while a 1.5-liter turbocharged powerplant making 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque is optional. As is the case with the sedan, a six-speed manual transmission can be had in the base Civic Coupe while the rest of the lineup comes with a continuously variable transmission – for now.
That’s right. Like Honda stated during the 2016 Civic Sedan launch, if enough demand warranted a manual transmission for the turbocharged engine, the manufacturer would introduce one. Well, all that furious finger typing spreading outrage across the interwebs has paid off – a six-speed manual is on the way. As Honda put it, it’s no longer a matter of if, but when. And if you’re wondering, yes, all three body styles will indeed receive the manual.
To prove development is well underway, a prototype 2016 Civic Sedan was brought to the Coupe launch sporting the 1.5L turbo and a six-speed manual. Not just there for show and tell, it was available for brief drives.
Honda is a master of the manual transmission, and the unit in the prototype did not disappoint. Throws are medium-short, engagement smooth and the clutch predictable. But most importantly, it adds new life to the turbocharged engine while heightening the engagement and fun-to-drive factor exponentially.
But Back to the 2016 Coupe
The 1.5-litre engine offers plenty of power and can really get the Civic Coupe going, regardless of which transmission it’s paired to. As we found in the Civic sedan, the CVT works well during regular driving and acts a lot like a regular automatic, mimicking lightning-quick gear changes. When driven hard, the CVT does get the most out of the engine’s power, but lacks that man to machine connection found with transmissions requiring a third pedal.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Honda Civic Touring Review
There is an upside to the CVT though, and that’s fuel economy. Mated to the turbo engine when not driven as if auditioning for a starring role alongside Ryan Gosling in Drive 2, the 2016 Civic Coupe is slated to return 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.
A Bit More Honda Feel
While sampling the new Civic sedan last year, we came away impressed by the car’s overall refinement and baby Accord persona. But Honda’s claim that the 2016 Civic is sportier than its predecessor fell a bit short in our eyes. With the coupe, that’s changed.
Lighter than the 2015 Civic, the new two-door differs slightly from the sedan. Trim to trim, the coupe wears lighter wheels and stickier tires than its sedan counterparts. As well, the dampers are a bit stiffer in the coupe.
This leads to an increased amount of steering feel and feedback. Cornering grip is also improved and tracking the Civic in a linear arc is easier with the coupe.
Smaller Outside, Bigger Inside
With the two-door transformation, the roof sits an inch lower than the sedan and the car is about five-inches shorter overall. In fact, at 176.9 inches long, the 2016 Civic coupe is actually an inch shorter in total length than the 2015 model.
Despite this, second row legroom, now totaling 35.9 inches, is vastly improved compared to the old car. And the trunk has also grown a bit. We’re not sure what type of witchcraft is going on here to get more from less, but it seems to be working.
Sit someone in the driver seat of the Civic coupe, and they will have a tough time telling it apart from the sedan. Everything is well laid out in a quality-laden design. There’s an optional 10-speaker, 450-watt stereo and the GPS system is now handled by Garmin.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Honda Civic LX Review
The front seats offer good support and after an hour behind the wheel, fatigue had not set in. And if your commute is an absolute nightmare that comfort alone won’t solve, Touring versions of the coupe can be had with low-speed adaptive cruise that will follow the car in front of it in stop-and-go traffic at a selected distance. For those with non-Touring models, there’s still brake hold to help with those soul-sucking rush hour traffic endeavors.
The Verdict: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Review
Pricing for the 2016 Civic Coupe hasn’t been announced as of yet, but expect it to fall in line with that of the sedan when it goes on sale in March.
It’s no secret we at AutoGuide.com like the new Civic – it won our 2016 Car of the Year Award. With the addition of the coupe, things have only gotten better. Improved looks, a more rewarding driving experience and of course, that upcoming manual transmission should once again put the Civic Coupe at the forefront of the performance compact world. But more importantly, it’s a great choice for anyone seeking an economical, practical fun-to-drive compact.
Discuss this story on our Honda Civic Coupe Forum