Ugh. You’re an adult — sorry. You have adult responsibilities, like bills and taxes and home repairs. You hold an adult schedule with grocery lists and doctor appointments and PTO meetings. Sure, you have free time between 1:15-1:45 pm on Sundays, perfect for a nap. But you never sleep, just stress about the obligations of the coming week. One day leads to the next with an endless, monotonous drone. No surprise, then, that you must purchase a sensible compact sedan like this 2022 Honda Civic.
Thankfully, I bring good news. While Honda’s 11th generation Civic plays the practical choice role, it also allows you to retain a bit of youth in your life. The 2022 Honda Civic, even as a base sedan, is properly fun to drive. Huzzah! Let’s take a closer look at this unassuming sedan.
2022 Honda Civic Review: Bigger In Every Way
To start, the 11th generation Civic sedan grew, again. It stretches 1.7-inches longer than the 10th generation, now measuring 184.0 inches. The wheelbase also increased by 1.4 inches to 107.7 inches. That makes the new 2022 Honda Civic about as long as a 1990 Honda Accord.
The new, bigger body definitely follows the design language established with the 10th generation, 2018 Honda Accord and it works well here. The front-end stays awfully busy with lots of horizonal lines, contours, and tucked in headlights. But the side profile has near sport sedan dimensions, and the rear looks downright elegant.
And, critically, the structure holding up the new body is stiffer, to better resist twisting and bending, and stronger too. Honda did this by using 10-fold the amount of structural adhesive to hold the frame together compared to the 10th gen Civic, in addition to spot welds used throughout. A stronger and stiffer structure reaps benefits throughout, not only in terms of safety but also in terms of handling and driving feel as well.
Two Engine Options But No Manual
But you first need to move to drive. And Honda offers one of two choices to help. LX and Sport trims get the naturally aspirated 2.0L 4-cylinder engine carried over from the outgoing model. It makes 158 hp and 138 lb.-ft of torque.
The EX and my Touring model test car use a turbocharged 1.5L engine, that saw a bevy of little improvements to increase peak output to 180 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 6 hp and 15 lb.-ft., respectively.
Either engine channels its power through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and on to the front wheels. That’s correct, Honda no longer offers a manual transmission in the Civic sedan. The good news is rowing your own will still be an option in the soon-to-be-released Civic hatchback. But it’s still a bummer. I like sedans, and I like shifting, but I can’t do that here.
Inside, the 2022 Honda Civic gets the usual gambit of added tech. The instrument cluster in my Touring test car was a fully digital 10.2-inch screen that was both easy to read and customizable, while the other three trims get real gauges with a screen in-between them.
The center console follows suit, with the Touring model getting a 9.0-inch touchscreen mounted on top, while the LX, Sport, and EX make do with a 7.0-inch screen with fewer features. Regardless of trim, you can use that screen to operate both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Generally speaking, you get a clean-looking interior with easy to reach and operate switchs. One design feature is a door-to-door mesh surface bifurcated by the middle of the steering wheel. Hidden in that mesh lie HVAC vents with small rotating dials protruding out to aim the vents as you wish. Clever. Most important, however, are the comfortable and supportive seats and a nice, fat steering wheel to grab on to.
Practical and Composed — Yet Still Fun To Drive
Being an adult, you most likely have errands and chores and child drop-off and pick-up and commuting to do nearly all the time. On those occasions, the 2022 Honda Civic quietly and calmly goes about its business, functioning as a perfectly pleasant A to B portal. The engine maintains a refined and distant hum, and the CVT goes unnoticed, which is high praise.
Furthermore, wind noise and road noise are fairly well isolated, certainly competitive with the rest of the compact car competition. And the Civic ticks all the practical adult safety boxes with a plethora of standard driving assist systems like lane departure warning, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and a slew of others in the package named “Honda Sensing.” But accidents still happen. If so, the 11th gen Civic has 10 airbags to protect the occupants.
But when those rare moments arise, and you find yourself with an empty car, free time, and your favorite backroad ahead of you, that’s where the 2022 Honda Civic really shines. It’s not about super high cornering speeds or power that shoves you into the back of the seat, but the communicative chassis and absolute ease to reach the limits and play around.
Yes, you have electrically assisted power steering, but it’s also perfectly weighted, precise, and gives excellent feedback about what the front tires are up to. From there, the car’s general attitude is easy to read from the driver’s seat. 180 hp proves plenty capable to keep the party going, and the all-season tires on the 18-inch wheels give up grip very progressively, no drama. The Civic is your modern driving-a-slow-car-fast gem.
In tight corners, you can brake deep and really heave the car toward the apex; the front-end reacts willingly. Get greedy with entry speed, and the Civic will understeer, but a bit of left-foot-braking sorts that out in a jiff. The body rolls into the corner moderately, but fully controlled, you never feel like the shocks can’t keep up. And if you find yourself in higher speed quick left-right corners, chassis balance is spot on.
Honda’s 11th generation, 48-year-old (the first Civic came to the U.S. in 1973) is an absolute hoot to drive, despite having a CVT transmission as your only gear selection choice. And this is the least capable 11th generation Civic we’ll see. Honda claims the hatchback will have a sportier tune to tag along with the manual transmission, let alone future Si and Type R models.
What Will This Slice of Youth Cost You?
The 2022 Honda Civic LX starts at $22,715, which lands $1,615 above a base Toyota Corolla and $1,840 over the Hyundai Elantra. And my top-of-the-line Touring model squeaks under $30K, going for $29,960. You are paying a premium to go with the Honda.
But let’s be real, being an adult is hard. And so is building a car that delivers all the painfully dull and uninspiring adult needs and simultaneously helps you retain at least a smidge of your rambunctious, adrenaline-seeking youth. For me, this is money well spent.
Learn more about the 2022 Honda Civic here.