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2022 Honda Civic Test Drive Review

Everything about the 2022 Honda Civic sedan is reworked, rethought, or redesigned to ensure it remains the best-selling compact car in America.

7.7 /10
Overall Score

According to Honda, 75 percent of Civic owners return in the future to buy another one of the company’s vehicles. That represents a significant opportunity, and it makes the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic sedan crucial to the automaker’s long-term health. With so much riding on this car’s success, we’re happy to report that Honda nailed the redesign, engineering, and technology with few exceptions. And that makes the 2022 Civic sedan one of the best compact cars you can buy.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

Honda offers the 2022 Civic sedan in familiar LX, Sport, EX, and Touring trim levels. Prices start at $21,700 for the Civic LX and range up to $28,300 for the Civic Touring, not including a destination charge of $995. A new five-door Honda Civic hatchback is also returning to the lineup later in the year, but the two-door coupe remains a fading memory.

Our primary evaluation vehicle flirted with a $30,000 sticker price. It was the Civic Touring in extra-cost Morning Mist Blue, a new paint color that bumps the price up by $395. That brought the test vehicle’s price to $29,690, including destination charges.

We also briefly sampled a Civic Sport decked out with extra-charge Platinum White Pearl paint and the new Honda Performance Development (HPD) appearance package. The estimated price for this model was just under $25,880.

With no more than a glance, you’ll notice some of what's new about the redesigned 2022 model year Civic. First, in many ways, it resembles the larger, longer-wheelbase Accord sedan. Second, this 11th-generation Civic is more conservative and plain in appearance compared to last year's car. If you were never a fan of the previous Civic's styling, you’ll likely appreciate its new, more tailored, and grown-up look. And if you were a fan of the old Civic, well, this one probably looks a little boring.

For the interior, Honda sought a return to the simplicity of Civics past. The result is a minimalistic approach to the controls and layout. A span of intriguing metal honeycomb mesh runs the dashboard’s width to elegantly hide the air vents. Honda also improves the car’s interior materials, and especially with Touring trim, these elements reflect a maturity the previous Civic didn’t possess.

Performance

9/ 10

For now, Honda offers two engines in the redesigned 2022 Civic sedan, both improved versions of what the company used in the previous-generation car. Later, a sport-tuned Civic Si and Civic Type R will rejoin the lineup, both undoubtedly supplying more performance to go along with their standard six-speed manual transmissions. (Yes, you read that right.)

With LX and Sport trim, the front-wheel drive Civic has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. This engine is adequate for the task at hand and is most satisfying when you haven’t already tried the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that comes with EX and Touring trim.

But, chances are you’re going to want the turbocharged engine, which is more powerful for 2022. This powertrain supplies 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, and the latter stretches like taffy across a broad rev range from 1,700 rpm to 4,500 rpm. The result is quite a satisfying engine, one that delivers precisely the right blend of performance and efficiency.

Both engines pair to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but Honda uses different CVTs for each. Regardless, each one gets new Step Shift programming to better mimic the sound and sensation of a traditional automatic, and this means they operate in a mostly unobtrusive fashion.

Sport and Touring trims include a Sport transmission mode, which quickens the car’s responsiveness to match the genuinely enjoyable ride and handling characteristics. With improvements in structural rigidity, revised tuning for the car’s four-wheel independent suspension, and improved steering feel, the new 2022 Honda Civic is fun to fling around whether you’re in the Sport or the Touring model. It’s just that the Touring is quicker to accelerate.

The capable handling doesn’t come at a cost to ride quality, and thanks to Honda’s efforts to quell noise, vibration, and harshness, the new Civic is quieter on the road than the previous-generation car. If there is anything to criticize here, it’s that on a 95-mile driving loop, the Civic Touring returned 30.4 mpg, falling well short of the EPA’s fuel economy estimate of 34 mpg. Obviously, we were having too much fun driving it.

No matter where or how you’re driving it, what makes the Civic such a satisfying compact sedan is that there is nothing sudden or unexpected about its demeanor. It reacts exactly as you expect and never behaves in a surprising fashion. In turn, this brings trust, predictability, and joy to every journey, whether you’re running out to get groceries, commuting to the office, taking the kids to school, or embarking on an adventure.

Form and Function

8/ 10

Comfort has long been a Civic hallmark, at least as far as compact cars go. Now, the 2022 Civic arrives with redesigned front seats that Honda says offer better support than ever. It’s not an empty claim.

With the leather-lined Touring trim, the power driver’s seat adjusts to create a perfect position behind the steering wheel. They’re heated but not ventilated. And while the front passenger’s seat does not offer a seat-height adjuster, neither does it need one, thanks to its excellent thigh support. There isn’t enough headroom to allow it, anyway.

Undoubtedly, the Civic sits low to the ground, making it difficult for some people to enter and exit the car. At least the back seat has more legroom than most in the segment, which helps to make entry and exit easier. The thigh support is excellent, but the backrest angle may feel a little too reclined for some people.

Two rear USB ports offer charging capability to rear passengers, but climate control is another story. The Civic lacks air conditioning vents, which seems like a significant oversight. With Touring trim, the Civic also loses its heated rear cushions for 2022.

Because Honda redesigned the Civic’s interior, it gets a new center console with less storage space and flexibility than before. More conventional in terms of layout and design, it loses the sliding center armrest and deep storage bin but gains more accessible cupholders and trim designed to resist fingerprints.

Trunk volume remains generous at 14.8 cubic feet, or 14.4 cubes with Touring trim. The Touring’s trunk is smaller due to the premium sound system components hanging down from the rear window parcel shelf above. Nevertheless, you can carry full-size suitcases on their sides, and a split-folding backseat adds utility. Honda even includes a small handle on the inside of the lid to help with closing the trunk.

Tech Level

8/ 10

Every 2022 Honda Civic has digital instrumentation, and with Touring trim, the display panel grows from seven inches across to ten inches. The larger panel is more sophisticated, offering greater customization, driving environment data related to the road and surrounding vehicles, and something called a Vehicle Activity display.

Have you ever seen someone driving a relatively new car with the lights off, after dark? The front running lights are on, and the dashboard is lit up, but they’ve somehow turned their automatic headlights off, so from behind, the car is nearly undetectable. The Vehicle Activity display solves this problem.

It shows a Civic graphic and conveys to the driver when the LED headlights and taillights are on, when the brake lights are on, and when the turn signals or hazard lights are on. It’s a brilliant feature, and a necessary one in a car like this where the digital instrumentation and infotainment illuminate regardless of headlight status.

Honda also gives the new 2022 Civic impressive infotainment technology. The standard setup has a 7-inch touchscreen display with volume and tuning knobs, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Honda recesses the screen into the dashboard to provide a ledge where you can stabilize your hand while using the system.

With LX trim, the Civic has only four stereo speakers. The Sport and EX double the speaker count, but they fail to impress. That’s a shame, given that Honda predicts 40 percent of its sales will be the Sport trim level. Touring trim offers a far more satisfying 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 premium surround-sound audio system. And, because Bose was involved so early in the new Civic’s gestation period, it could adequately position the speakers so that they deliver a richer, more satisfying audio experience.

Touring trim also brings a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display with a slightly different but no less helpful control layout. Highlights include wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, HD radio, satellite radio, and a navigation system. Aside from a relatively slow load time when you start the Civic’s engine, this system performs beautifully, especially the voice recognition technology. It represents a considerable improvement over the previous-generation Civic’s infotainment technology.

Safety

7/ 10

If the new 2022 Civic’s instrumentation and infotainment systems are impressive, the upgraded Honda Sensing collection of advanced driver assistance systems also deserves laurels.

Not only has Honda added standard features such as Traffic Jam Assist to the car’s Level 2 adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and Lane Keeping Assist (Honda's lane-centering technology), but all of the Honda Sensing features operate with much better smoothness, accuracy, and refinement. This performance is due to its new wide-view front camera and a total of eight ultrasonic sonar sensors in the front and rear bumpers.

Additionally, the Civic finally ditches its awful LaneWatch system for a proper blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert. If you’re not sure what we’re referring to, LaneWatch was a camera mounted to the old Civic’s right mirror. It worked only for the right side of the car and showed a live video feed of the right-side blind spot on the infotainment system screen. Not only did that add a third place for drivers to look while driving and attempting to change lanes, but there also wasn’t a corresponding camera for the left side of the car.

Honda solves this problem for 2022. Get the Civic EX, and it comes with a proper sonar-based blind-spot warning system that works on both sides of the sedan. Choose the Civic Touring, and it adds a rear cross-traffic alert system.

Now, what if you’re one of the 30 percent of Civic buyers getting the base LX or the 40 percent choosing the Sport? No blind-spot warning for you!

Sure, the Civic’s side mirrors are huge, but Honda inexplicably doesn’t offer this important safety feature on the trim levels more likely to be purchased by younger, more inexperienced drivers who might not know how to properly set those elephantine mirrors. Instead, they will turn their heads to check their blind spot while zooming down a highway at 70 mph. And that’s not advisable.

For this reason, and this reason alone, we think the Civic EX is the best choice for younger drivers. Studies show that blind-spot warning is an exceptionally effective safety technology, and it should be standard for the Sport trim level. At a minimum, Honda should create a “Bose and Blind Spot” option package for the youth-oriented Sport, or offer a Sport Special Edition with these features.

When it comes to safety, technology is not the only area where Honda has improved the Civic. The car’s underlying vehicle architecture is stronger than ever and designed to provide better protection in collisions with larger vehicles, such as SUVs. New front airbag designs offer improved head protection, and the Civic gets rear side-impact airbags for the first time.

Honda also installs a standard rear-seat reminder system in every 2022 Civic. If you open a rear door before driving the car, it will assume you want a reminder to check the back seat before locking and leaving the vehicle.

Cost-Effectiveness

5/ 10

The day is rapidly approaching when a compact car crests the $30,000 price barrier, and the 2022 Honda Civic Touring is pushing that threshold.

Sure, vehicles including the Mazda Mazda3 2.5 Turbo, Subaru WRX, and Volkswagen Jetta GLI are already there, but those are sport-tuned models bringing plenty of “extra” to the table to justify the pricing. No doubt the upcoming Hyundai Elantra N will join this exclusive club when it finally arrives.

The good news is that the new Honda Civic looks, feels, and drives like it’s worth the premium. Plus, the car’s high resale value is beneficial for people who prefer to lease, making payments on even the top Touring trim level appealing.

However, Honda does not offer as many ownership perks as, say, Hyundai. Get any of that automaker’s vehicles, and you enjoy three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance and free connected services, in addition to one of the best warranty and roadside assistance plans available from any car company.

While the Hyundai Elantra might set the cost-effectiveness standards in the compact car class, the Honda Civic remains one of the better choices in the segment. It’s too bad, though, that Honda reserves so many of the features that make it appealing for the top Touring trim level.

Updated by Christian Wardlaw

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