A new, more mature Civic. When you think of compact economy cars, you probably think of the Honda Civic. In spite of the rising popularity of crossovers, the Civic remains Honda’s second bestselling vehicle, behind only the beloved CR-V.
For 2022, the Civic gets a full redesign. The new generation tones down the styling by dropping some of the previous model’s rampant cutlines. It isn’t boring, but it’s more mature. We like the look, and Sport trims can still be festooned with spoilers and body kits for added flair.
The new Civic is only 1.4 inches longer than the outgoing model, but its presence has grown. The windshield and A-pillar sit farther back, leaving a long, low hood that makes the Civic look like a mid-size sedan. The coupe body style is gone — the 2022 Civic is only available as a sedan or a hatchback, mirroring rivals like the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.
Compact? Sort of...Honda has made the best of the slight size increase. Rear passengers enjoy an extra 1.4 inches of legroom over the previous generation, and shoulder room has grown as well. Four adults can ride in relative comfort, something not every compact sedan can claim.
The front seats are mounted low, but they offer good support for an economy car. The interior design is simple and refined, with high-quality matte surfaces and soft-touch materials. It’s a classy cabin, especially for the price.
Cargo capacity has gone in the opposite direction, but it’s still strong for a sedan. Most trims get 14.8 cubic feet of space behind the seats, which compares favorably to the Mazda3 or Corolla. In fact, the 2022 Civic can fit slightly more than a mid-size Mazda6. Hatchbacks gain about 10 cu ft of space over sedans.
Tame, but responsive. The design and platform may be new, but the Civic’s powertrains carry over from the last generation. LX and Sport trims use a 2.0-liter turbo making 158 horsepower, while EX and Touring models get a spicier 184-hp unit.
The upgraded engine is more confident, but neither is particularly fast. Both are saddled with a CVT that has a habit of droning, which saps the fun factor. Civic Si and Type R models should offer more performance, but details of those models have yet to be confirmed.
What the Civic lacks in performance, it makes up for with handling. This generation is more stable than the last, with a pliable ride that soaks up rough pavement even with the 18-inch wheels of Sport and Touring trims. Steering provides good feedback, and the Civic’s 2,900-lb weight helps it feel nimble in the corners. The only real downside is a turning radius over 38 feet, which is more in line with crossovers.
The upshot of the CVT is excellent fuel economy. No model does worse than 33 mpg combined, and the EX manages an impressive 36.
All about value. Economy cars live or die by their value. The Civic is more expensive than most of its rivals, but it offers plenty of features to entice buyers. Base models come with a seven-inch touchscreen, and Honda’s standard suite of safety tech includes automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Our favorite trim is the mid-range Civic EX. For a reasonable $3,000 over the base model, it adds heated front seats, a power sunroof, and blind-spot monitors. EX and Touring trims also use the upgraded engine, which we think is worth the premium.
The Touring trim is the priciest of the lot, but it’s worth a look as an alternative to true luxury cars. With a nine-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, and Bose sound, it’s still a solid value.
Our only complaint is the Civic’s warranty, which extends a meager three years or 36,000 miles. Korean competition like the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra come with a much more generous five years or 60,000 miles.
Final thoughts. The 2022 Civic picks up where the last generation left off. The revised styling pays off inside and out, and the Civic’s passenger and cargo space remain exceptional for the class. We wish for a better transmission and warranty, but this new Civic has a lot to like.
Check prices for the 2022 Honda Civic »