As much as I love the practicality of a sedan or a station wagon, many of my fellow Americans still harbor an uncouth love affair with two-door cars, with the coupe version of the Honda Civic being one of the most in-demand of the bunch. I’ve heard people make all sorts of arguments for why it’s better to have two doors instead of four over the years, with talk of “sexier lines,” “better handling capabilities,” and “reduced weight” all being mentioned.
Two-door car lovers have a new reason to rejoice, as the newest member of the 10th-gen Honda Civic family was baptized amid media camera flashes at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, where we were able to garner these photos for your viewing pleasure. Set for launch this forthcoming March, the 2016 Civic Coupe is determined to offer drivers a “sportier and emotional take on the new Civic design,” while receiving many of the same upgrades we enjoyed while driving and critiquing the sedan version this autumn. No longer considered a compact economy car with a bubbly back-end, the redesigned Civic Coupe is a modern-day blend of Fast & Furious operations with a smattering of tech and safety, with a quiet, spacious cabin in the middle.
Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and general manager of the Honda Division, seems pleased, recently saying that Honda customers are going to be “Utterly surprised by what this new Coupe delivers in terms of refinement, safety, efficiency, and fun-to-drive performance.” This is no understatement either – the 2016 Civic Coupe is just the second release in a long line of new 10th-gen Civics Honda is unleashing over the next 18 months.
Adopting the same front-end as the sedan version, but sporting a fast-back profile with sharper detailing, the new Coupe is 2.9 inches longer, 1.9 inches wider, and 1.4 inches shorter when it comes to overhang, all of which equal out to a better looking and performing automobile. Combine that with lower seating positions, a tighter and more steeply raked roofline (almost 1-inch lower than the Sedan version), and far more compact proportions, the overall length of the Coupe has been shortened by 5.5 inches. Oh, and let’s not forget that every version of the new Coupe also receives that instantly recognizable rear taillight design, which carries those distinctive C-shaped LED taillights that stretch across the entire decklid.
Inside, that broader stance has helped the 2016 Civic Coupe grow by 8.4 cubic-feet. Rear seat legroom increases by 5 inches, and high-quality materials and high-contrast finishes adorn the most upscale interior in Civic history. A one-piece, soft-touch dash with molded stitching, premium seat fabrics, a full-color TFT meter for EX models and above, door inserts with snappy stitching, LED shift indicators and overhead lighting, and leather shift lever boots on top-tier versions all spell one thing: upscale.
Every single Civic Coupe, from the well-equipped LX to the top-end Touring version won’t just receive an upgraded interior, but a massive list of standard and available tech and safety features as well. Standard stuff includes auto on/off headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, an acoustic glass windshield, automatic climate control (dual-zone for upper trim levels), an electric parking brake with brake hold, and walk-away automatic door locks. Available add-ons include Honda-exclusive LED headlights, remote engine start, heated front seats and side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a full-color TFT meter, and a 7-inch HD audio touchscreen.
Some of the other tech we can expect on this latest addition to the Honda family is a far more powerful audio system, a bevy of streaming audio options such as Pandora, SiriusXM, and HD Radio, and for trims that have been equipped with Display Audio, full compatibility with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay platforms. A redesigned Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System is standard on higher trim levels as well, a development that was formulated with experts over at Garmin.
Much like its sedan counterpart, the all-new Civic Coupe is slated to sport two new engines, including the first-ever turbocharged unit, which offers more performance and fuel efficiency than the outgoing 1.8-liter motor. Lower trim levels of the Civic Coupe receive an all-new 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine good for 158 horsepower and 138 foot-pounds of torque (a 15 horsepower/9 foot-pound bump over the outgoing, 1.8-liter base engine), and will supposedly aim for an EPA fuel-economy rating of 31/41/35 miles-per gallon when equipped with a CVT slushbox. But over at The Cheat Sheet we love a manual gearbox, so for us, opting for the six-speed manual transmission is the only way to go if you are interested in lower trim models. Unfortunately, much like the Sedan, Civic Coupes in mid to high trim attire will receive the direct-injected 1.5-liter DOHC turbo motor, which generates 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. That mill remains permanently attached to the automatic transmission.
So while we may cry foul over not being able to row our own gears in a 1.5-liter turbo Civic, we’ll remain incredibly safe within one, as Honda’s next generation of Advanced Compatibility Body Structure (ACE) offers a medley of advanced airbags and seatbelts that piggyback on top of Honda Sensing technologies. Designed for advanced safety and driver-assistive capabilities, Honda’s latest safety precaution targets the highest available U.S. safety ratings, with an NCAP 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) remaining the ultimate prizes.
As a dedicated Honda-head, my final thoughts on the redesigned Civic Coupe are a mixed bag. It certainly is stylistically strong inside and out, yet right when its redesigned lines and tubed LED lighting captures my attention, the front end resurfaces, reminding me of a disgruntled Pug. Some people like it a lot, others like myself aren’t sold just yet. Perhaps, when the Si surfaces down the line, we’ll see a restyled front grille and fascia. At that point the Civic will once again have my undivided attention.