- Drives way, way better than it has to
- Upscale, well-appointed interior
- More mature styling than before
- Cabin gets a smidge noisy
- CVT is thrashy at times
- Many of the best interior features gated behind Touring trim.
We really shouldn’t be so surprised at just how good the all-new 2022 Honda Civic is. We mean, the outgoing tenth-gen car remained top of the class in the compact segment right up until its recent retirement, so our jaws should remain undropped and our minds unblown after spending time with the new version of Honda’s perennial compact superstar.
We’ve said it before, but the new Civic really didn’t have to be this good—a simple, low-intensity refresh of the previous generation would have been fine enough for at least another three competitive years before Honda’s competitors could even imagine overtaking it.
The carryover chassis and both the base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and the 1.5-liter turbo I-4 engines do make the 2022 Civic an evolutionary machine. But it’s a stylistic moonshot away from the outgoing car. The Accord’s influence on the new Civic is undeniable, cleaning up the previously Transformer-tastic exterior styling and cutting away at the fighter jet cockpit’s edges. Opinions regarding the matured exterior were muted, but the interior made a big impression with judges, especially the hexagonal-pattern trim spanning the dash, which hides the air vents and adds aesthetic flair even to low-feature base models.
“The interior is a really handsome, functionally effective place,” digital director Erik Johnson said. “I love the honeycomb grille garnish/vent disguise—the hazard light button is even well integrated and itself seems to have been designed rather than simply added.”
Even the switchgear impressed us. “Have you rotated those HVAC knobs?” buyer’s guide director Zach Gale asked. “They feel and sound like they belong in a $50,000 car.”
Indeed, the Civic is an exceedingly nice, modern space to wick away your commute. A few judges noted some issues with NVH—mostly brought on by Honda’s reliance on a thrash-prone CVT—but there was unanimous praise for how the car drove. “Really composed chassis and great, precise, light steering,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said. “If the base car handles this well, I can’t wait for the Si and Type R.”
Throughout our COTY program, enthusiasm for the impeccable entry-level Honda never waned. Even when you remove the bargain-basement price tag from the discussion, it’s just a great car, period. Seabaugh put it best: “There’s really nothing that it does poorly. It’s good-looking, well-appointed, safe, affordable, and great to drive. I’m continually impressed with how wonderful it rides and handles. Such composure over bumps and such incredible steering feel. A remarkably well-engineered car.”
Priced like a penalty box but drives with the confidence and poise of something three times its price? We were happy to recommend the previous Civic as our first-in-class compact sedan right up until its final model year, and we can easily continue the tradition for the 11th generation, as well.
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