It’s hard to believe the Honda Civic is now in its 10th iteration. Hate to admit it, but I remember the little Civic CVCC when it first appeared in the USA, back in 1972 as a ’73 model. It was tiny on the outside and voluminous on the inside, with a small engine that worked frugally in those days of long gasoline lines.
Over the years, Civic, like so many of us has grown. It has become more modern, taken on plenty of technology and, with the current, tenth edition has gained some rather voluptuous looks. Its creases, edges and planes simply fit right in the latter stages of this decade. Offered as both a sedan and a coupe, the 2017 Honda Civic is the epitome of front-wheel-drive goodness with sexy packaging. A light wing at the rear and polished accents at the windows add elegance.
The opportunity to drive an Aegean Blue metallic 2017 Honda Civic 1.5T 2-door Touring coupe for a week is a pleasure. Now the sole front-wheel-drive compact coupe in the American marketplace (and what’s with that?), this Civic feels much more personal than does the sedan. While it’s considered a five-person conveyance, the rear seats are strictly for smaller children or those madly in love. There’s just not a lot of foot space back there and getting in and out is easy only for tiny folks and contortionists.
The heart of this coupe is its 1.5-liter, turbocharged and directly injected inline four-cylinder engine. It makes 174 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, produces 162 lb-ft of torque between 1700-5500 and has a 6,500-rpm redline. Coupled with a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission (CVT), this 2,888-pound coupe squirts nicely from corner to corner, aided by well-damped MacPherson strut and multi-link front and rear suspensions. Although CVTs are not my fave, this transmission unit could be among the better units currently available.
Good and responsive handling is the 2017 Honda Civic coupe’s forte, even with its variable ratio rack and pinion electronic power steering (EPS) that does feel a bit numb at center. Honda fits Continental 215/50R tires on five-spoke twinned 17-inch black and polished alloy wheels. They do aid a very nice ride, not too firm and definitely not too wallowy on the back roads where this Civic coupe was tested during our week together. Braking with ventilated front and solid rear discs is firm and progressive in nature with zero fade.
Like many upscale manufacturers, Honda uses a proximity fob for entry, so that a hand near the door unlocks; there’s even remote start on this Touring model. The door handles have lights that guide in darkness.
Upon entry the first thing noticeable is manual seat adjustments, including a height adjust for the driver. Honda says this was necessary in order to get the coupe to market from its final assembly in Canada. Both engine and transmission are USA-made. Inside the well-ventilated black and gray leather seating both looks and feels great. Although there’s no lumbar support for the front seats, they’re really fine without it.
The driver’s office has three gauges offering a digital speedometer directly in front of the driver, with trip info directly below. A tachometer rims the speedo and, directly above are eyebrows that are white when stopped or when hauling butt and green when the car is being driven sedately. To the left is the temperature gauge while the fuel gauge and trip odometer (the latter handled by a push pin) lie in the right side of the cluster. Aqua, white, green are the predominant colors of this gauge array.
Honda’s central stack is well designed; soft touch plastics exist throughout the cabin and there are matte accents to break up the blackness of the cabin. The excellent included navigation system is contained in a 7-inch color display, while climate controls lie directly below and include three-position seat heaters for front occupants. Behind the gear selector is a grippy floor for phones, while a USB plug is behind the central stack, also with a floor area. Cup holders are contained in the central tunnel console that offers multiple areas for stowage; there’s a second USB plug inside this partially-closable armrest/storage area.
Honda’s infotainment array can be a bit on the frustrating side if you’re not a fan of slider controls, but there are options on the steering wheel that do the same job. Audio, phone and trip info are on the left side of the steering wheel while the adaptive cruise control lies on the right side. The latter allows closing space to be adjusted, noted on upper right of the central gauge, so that one can stay a few car lengths behind.
While it’s not possible to adjust both maps and audio on the same screen of this Honda Civic coupe, scrolling through works. When the right turn signal is activated, Honda’s LaneWatch displays all activity on the right side of the vehicle. It can be disabled as desired. It’s Honda’s idea of “blind spot monitoring” but isn’t available for the left side of the car; thankfully mirrors work just fine.
Many audio capabilities are included on this Honda, like HD radio, SiriusXM, bluetooth audio (Apple CarPlay and Android Play) along with Pandora radio. The navigation system is up to date but doesn’t relish taking a driver on the road less traveled, gives the street name while driving and points of interest. The 450-watt, 10-speaker (with subwoofer) audio system doesn’t object to full volume activation (smile). Phone sync is easy peasy.
Honda has a full batch of driving assistants, including the adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system and forward collision warning with an orange BRAKE light and involuntary braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation. All of this, and the two-way 1-touch sunroof, 1-touch up/down windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror, electric parking brake, a single 12-volt, floor mats – and more – are included in the $27,100 list price for this Touring model.
Mileage is rated at 31/40/35 using regular unleaded in the 12.39-gallon tank. I averaged more than 37mpg during the week, with a high of 42 over the road. Trunk space is 11.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up; there is a 60/40 fold that can increase the amount of storage. The 2017 Honda Civic coupe has a very long wheelbase at 106.3-in with a total length of 176.9-in and that surely increases its comfort level and handling.
These days, for simplicity and ease of use, the Honda Civic coupe still fits. Even while conforming to modern-day regulations, the manufacturer has managed to make a Civic that will entice those that truly enjoy driving – even with a CVT – and those that want a conveyance to move them stylishly and economically from one place to another.
The 2017 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring coupe continues to attract admirers wherever it goes. It’s very popular where I live and has fans throughout the country. Commitment to its clientele is what’s made Honda a successful car maker and that sure hasn’t changed.
Words and photos by Anne Proffit