2017 Honda Civic Coupe Touring
Civic Nation continues to expand
The Civic Coupe returns. How is it?
Unsurprisingly, the Civic Coupe is a lot like the sedan we tested last spring where we concluded “the Civic we all lovingly remember is back”. It was a decisive break from the hapless examples of 2005 to 2015 that marked darkest period in the model’s history. The motoring press both here in Canada and across North America noticed too, rewarding the Civic with well-deserved Car of the Year honors. Not much has changed in shedding two doors- it’s still an excellent car and among the best in class.
What about the styling?
Our tester wore a limited edition colour called Energy Green Pearl, it never failed to get noticed wherever we went. Subtle it was not, but it’s a colour choice that suits the Civic’s design which itself is no shrinking violet. Some thought it was a bit busy while others opined it was modernly handsome, but everyone agreed it was a huge improvement over its predecessor. Of the three body styles available the Coupe’s styling is the most flattering in the portfolio. There’s good visibility all around which is a pleasant surprise for anything with two doors although we could do without the fake vents in the lower rear bumper.
How does it drive?
For the most part, the Coupe drives the same as the sedan. The current models are a huge upgrade over the last generation, and you can feel the difference within the first few meters of travel. It’s a car that feels substantial and that it was assembled by people who take pride in what they do. Appreciably refined and nicely hushed going down the road, the Civic doesn’t feel like a compact car- it feels more expensive then it is, and that’s something people will greatly appreciate. The biggest difference we felt over the sedan was a degree of friskiness that seems to be exclusive to the coupe. Turn the steering wheel and the coupe darts eagerly in the direction you asked for- it reminds us of an eager puppy chasing after a ball. Push too hard and the Civic’s cornering behaviour will transition to safe, predictable understeer which is nice considering that many young adults will be behind the wheel. The Coupe shares an identical powertrain with the sedan, so you’ve got a 1.5 litre turbo four driving the front wheels through a CVT transmission. Honda’s version of the controversial gearbox is one of the better examples on the market- it’s ideally suited to the turbo engine’s power delivery and keeps it in the meatiest part of the powerband unless your cruising down the highway where revs fall quite a bit for efficiency. Our Touring-equipped tester had shift paddles behind the steering wheel which allow you to shift up and down through imaginary “gears”. The thing is, because of the paddle’s lazy response to inputs, you won’t be encouraged to do so. It’s kind of underwhelming when you do – that rubber band sensation that plagues CVT’s is curiously worse when you take over shifting for yourself. Although we appreciate progress in engineering has given us this drivetrain, we began to drift into nostalgia for a high revving VTEC engine coupled to a snickety-snick manual gearbox.
What might go wrong?
Former ergonomics champ Honda keeps insisting that touch controls for their infotainment systems are where it’s at, but we aren’t buying it. The volume slider adjacent to the touchscreen is so frustrating to use we wonder why they even bothered with it. Thankfully, there’s a control on the steering wheel that functions as both a rocker switch and slider- quite well, actually. We’d like to see the shift paddles endowed with a snappier response, or at the very least have the option of a manual gearbox with the Touring trim level. We won’t complain about the lack of room in the backseat- something you’ll be forced to put up with in virtually every coupe on sale today- but we would like to see a little more room in the trunk for stowing belongings or for swallowing luggage when a heading on a lengthy road trip.
Should I buy a Civic Coupe?
Honda will give you many compelling reasons why you should- a generous amount of standard equipment, zippy handling and a turbocharged engine that isn’t much slower that the outgoing Si. Those who place an emphasis on pragmatism might want to stick with the sedan or the new hatchback that should be arriving at dealerships by the time you read this. Of course, those who grew up basking in the shriek of a VTEC engine will want to wait around for the new Si or even the bonkers Type R (finally coming to Canada) to satiate their desires for a sporty Civic, even if natural aspiration can no longer be had. Either way, the Civic platform and its inherent goodness should easily carry it to another year as the best-selling car in Canada.
2017 Honda Civic Coupe Touring— Specifications
- Price as tested: $29,559
- Body Type: 2-door, 5 passenger coupe
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/front-wheel drive
- Transmission: Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
- Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline four, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 174 @ 5,500 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 162 @ 1,800-5,500 rpm
- Curb weight: 1,317 kg (2,903 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 9.6L/100km (25 mpg)