The iconic Civic, now in its 11th generation, gets better with every model year. And the 2022 version exemplifies that. Its wheelbase was stretched 1.4 inches and its track was widened by 0.5 inches for improved ride and handling. Civic is also a bit lighter with the addition of an aluminum hood yet its chassis is 19 percent stiffer.
Civic hatchback is offered in LX, EX-L and Sport Touring that was tested. The latter is sporty in many ways including its styling. A low-slung hood gives it a slick, racy look and its back end continues the theme with a slight trunk lid spoiler and Ovid tailpipes.
Civics’ interior is equally attractive and classy. A 9-inch touchscreen serves Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connection, Bose audio, satellite radio, navigation with 3D mode that shows buildings to make identification of nearby landmarks easier, a rearview camera with three different views plus an overhead 360-degree view, satellite radio and more. Included as well is a wireless phone charger at the base of the vertical stack.
The 10.2-inch all digital customizable instrument cluster doubles as a driver information display with alerts, functions, features plus selected driving modes that appear on the analog type speedometer/tachometer gauges. It’s supplemented with a digital readout speedometer. The digital tach displays features like radio station selections and more.
Carbon fiber type trim adorns the console that compliments the heated front leather seats that are nicely supportive for spirited driving maneuvers. I’m surprised though that Honda didn’t include a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, although one may be in the hot Civic Si that boasts 200-hp.
A mode switch on the console offers Normal, Eco and Sport modes. The latter changes pedal and throttle pressure and it increases rpm’s by about 1,000 for livelier performance. Normal mode is a balance between Sport and Eco whereas Eco maintains economical fuel economy.
With the stretched wheelbase, rear seat legroom became more spacious for two adults or three youngsters. Behind them, the hatch trunk is one of the more spacious in its class at 24.5 cubic feet that measures 35 inches deep, 45 wide and 30 high. Flip the 60/40 split folding rear seats and cargo loading depth expands to 66 inches. Beneath the cargo floor is the space saver spare around which some small items can be stowed.
Ride quality on Continental 18-inch tires is quiet and smooth while handling is precise. There’s also a steering assist mode that keeps the Civic between the roadway lines. A “Steering Required” on the speedometer alerts the driver to place a hand on the steering wheel.
Powertrain wise, Civics are offered with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 158-hp and 138 lb/ft of torque; the tested 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 180-hp and 177 lb/ft of torque; or the 1.5-liter turbo four with 200-hp, 192 lb/ft in the hot Si.
The 1.5-liter turbo four we tested uses a larger torque converter and it couples to either a 6-speed manual transmission that’s offered in the Sport Touring, or CVT that shifts like a traditional automatic transmission under heavy throttle and supplemented with paddle shifters. With the CVT, the EPA rates the Civic Sport Touring at 30 city, 37-highway mpg. Those are almost hybrid numbers and impressive for a performance car.
The 2022 Civic Sport Touring offers the best of both worlds i.e. economy and performance, all at a reasonable price of $30,810 with delivery.
The tested Sport Touring model actually carried a base price of $29,400 that was abundantly equipped with such safety features as rear cross traffic/driver attention monitors, tire pressure monitoring, blind spot system, low speed braking control, lane keeping assist, collision mitigation braking, road departure monitor, traffic jam assist, and many more including a sunroof. The only extra cost option was $395 for the paint job.
As Honda’s top seller, the only way Civic could be better is if it had AWD for us here in the Snowbelt.