(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch, Roadblazing.com)
Unlike the “Star Trek’s starship Enterprise, car maker, Honda, “Boldly Goes On Alone Where Many Men Went Before.”
For Honda is the “Keeper of the Coupe.” At least the volume front-drive sedan-derived 2-door kind.
As we recently assessed about the 2016 Honda Accord Coupe V6, the Japanese brand really has it’s heart in it.
Putting more of its resources where its mouth is, just 6 months after way Upping-its-Game with a new 2016 Civic compact family sedan, Honda followed up with a swoopy Coupe version.
WHAT: 2017 Honda Civic Coupe 1.5T Touring.
In case you’ve been residing inside a media cave, last model year Honda gifted the world with a much-needed Generation 10 re-think of its Civic compact family sedan. The new Civic FC replaces the short [5 year] lived FB. version. Honda obliged compact double-door lovers with a FC2 Civic just 4 months later.
WHAT (A) DIFFERENCE:
In Looks: The new Civic Coupe pulls off a floating roof with a dramatically sloping roof pulling the C-pillar nearly to the rear of the trunk; Trunk corners are accordingly beveled, not unlike the jettisoned Honda Crosstour, with boomerang wrap around taillamp housings; LED parking light strip runs under length of the matching corner beveled integrated spoiler; Faux lower valance corner dark mesh vents lend assertiveness.
Powertrain, Std.: 2.0L VVT, VVL, 16V DOHC, alloy gas inline-4 cylinder = 158 hp / 138 lb-ft + 6-speed manual / M-Continuously Variable band-pulley transaxle
Powertrain, Opt.: 1.5L DI intercooled turbocharged 16V DOHC, alloy gas inline-4 cylinder = 174 hp / 162 lb-ft + 6-speed manual (2017 MY) / LL-Continuously Variable band-pulley transaxle
WHY: You’re slightly less practical while remaining sensible.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2016.
WHERE: Honda new car dealers
WHERE MADE: Ontario, Canada
HOW STRONG: Turbocharging is seguing into this segment; Civic’s optional application is a doozy: liquid intercooled single-scroll blown 1.5L DI DOHC 16V gas powerplant doesn’t know meaning of boost lag, Lack of VTEC = lack of racy symphonics; CVT moves quickly enough along broad ratio spread, minimizing rubber-banding; 6-speed manual is only available on fewer frills EX-T variant.
HOW LIMBER: Exotic car quick steering rack ratio, with hefty feel, but only bits of road sensation; Stiff bushings, fast compression damping, but soft springs = reassuring motion control until 8/10ths + superb compliance; Brake pedal light but responsive minus over-sensitivity.
HOW FAR: 35 mpg. Combined conditions. And we did get on it more than once.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: Front perches = bordering on mid-size; Row 2: It’s a serious stoop and dance step to enter, best done from passenger side with fold & slide [and pedal] release; Two 6′ footers avoid without knee-to-chest acrobatics and barely miss scalp stuck to backlight conditions;
HOW USEFUL: Floating center stack (ala Volvo), replete with data cable management, to stash personal electronics cache; Center console features clever dual cup holder sliding on a track to reveal a deep bottle holder and sliding/ tilting wide armrest insert; Glovebox good for 6 pair; Doors pockets fit a thermos cup and little more; 2nd Row outboard arm-ledges = cup + storage bins; 2 x USB (1 beneath center stack) and 1 x 12V ports.
HOW SAFE: 8 airbags, extensive use of high tensile steel; exclusive LaneWatch for right curbside look-out. HondaSense (standard on Touring trim) buffet of driver assist technology: √ Radar adaptive cruise control, √ Forward Collision Warning & full brake readying, √ BLIS, √ LDW, √ Park Assist w/ rear camera, √ Rear Cross traffic warning; √ 23 seconds worth of SEMI AUTONOMOUS driving from Lane Keep Assist (which can actually find the lane markings) in concert with Adaptive Cruise control = astounding at this price point.
HOW FRIENDLY: Seat cushion angle steep for some, yet among the rare torso hugging buckets in segment; Pucker up with the hub to unlatch steering wheel adjustment lever; Transmission shift position selector lacks gating for more assured action;
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Large solitary polychromic TFT gauge/ multifunction display combo, flanked by coolant & fuel displays does Vegas show; √ Resistive audio volume attenuator on left horizontal steering wheel spoke; √ Clever sliding/ tilting center console cup caddy.
Details Done Right: √ Oversized switch gear √ 2-tone perforated leather seats; √ 3-layer upper door panels,with light one spanning to 2nd Row for extra character; √ Separate forward mounted pull handle and aft open grip make for better door control; √ White cross-stitching on the leather wrapped helm; √ Soft touch materials are plentiful; Reduced panel gap
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Lack of front seat shoulder belt assist; Front passenger seat includes tilt but lacks pitch slide return;
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Glossy knob-less/ switch-less 7″-inch capacitive LCD infotainment display, appeals to generation weaned on tablets; Acura-style menu interface challenging without Acura rotary controller; Versatile HDD navigation made redundant by Android Auto Google Maps’ better voice recognition; 480 watt audio system doesn’t seem 130 total watts more powerful than Accord Coupe except in door midrange rattling department; AA and Apple Car Play apps supplemented by A-Ha internet radio and Sirius-XM by subscription.
HOW MUCH: $26,250 for a 2017 Honda Civic Coupe Touring 1.5T CVT. All Honda trims are mono-spec .
WHAT’S MISSING: Power seat option; Steering wheel shift paddles; Rotary media display volume knob! Liftgate [only on 5-door].
ANY COMPETITION: Hyundai Veloster: +1 single Row 2 door, polarizing design, -1 cabin space, choppy ride; Kia Forte Koup:+1 in space, hp, -1 in obscure styling, build level, cabin materials, fit, drivetrain refinement, agility.
SUMMED UP: Forget the price and the front drive for a moment: the 2017 Honda Civic Coupe 1.5T Touring = grander tourer.
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