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2022 Honda Civic: 5 Takeaways From Our Second Take

honda-civic-2022-09-angle--exterior--rear--silver.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

When we drove the 11th-generation Honda Civic in June, Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman said its drivability and interior “elevate the car beyond its humble compact sedan class,” adding that the 2022 Civic is “a substantial, satisfying car to drive, either on back roads or urban boulevards.”

Related: 2022 Honda Civic First Drive Review: Honda’s Boy Racer Grows Up

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Three months later, Bragman’s colleagues — myself included — took to both environments around our Chicago headquarters in a 2022 Civic Touring, the top trim level of the redesigned sedan. (A related Civic hatchback is also coming to market.) We can confirm that the Civic is indeed a strong contender, better in many ways than its 10th-generation predecessor, which in 2020 beat two fresher rivals in a Cars.com three-way test despite having the group’s oldest roots. I’ll weigh in below with editors Jennifer Geiger, Mike Hanley, Patrick Masterson and Joe Wiesenfelder on five takeaways.

1. Good Interior, Mostly

honda-civic-2022-29-center-stack--climate-control--front-row--interior.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

In our 2020 comparison, the outgoing Civic tied the Nissan Sentra for first place in the Interior Quality category. Our 2022 Civic Touring preserves that overall, though not in all areas. The door materials up front got a little more lush, but the headliner got a bit cheaper; major dashboard controls remain satisfying to operate, but the leather feels more ordinary than the outgoing Civic’s improbably nice cowhide. You win some, you lose some — especially with Honda’s reimagined dashboard air vents, which inspired some venting among our staff.

The dash was visually interesting in terms of design and materials, and a few things stood out with the cabin — good and bad,” Geiger said. I love the look of the metal trim that spans the dash and covers the vents, but the vent toggles themselves took some getting used to. They’re ergonomically a little awkward to use.”

Hanley characterized the vent controls as downright cheap: “Some of the interior controls, like those for the air vents, have a low-grade feel.”

Still, our overall takeaway is favorable. Bragman commended the “retro-cool style that brings back some of the boxier looks of classic Japanese cars of the 1980s,” with a layout that’s cohesive and user-friendly. “There are only as many buttons as are needed,” he continued. “Nothing extra, nothing confusing. Everything is arranged within the driver’s sightlines. I can even see the buttons that Honda likes to mount low and to the left of the driver’s knee without a problem now.”

If you ask Wiesenfelder, the redesign prevails in part by avoiding self-inflicted wounds. 

“The car passes the ‘stupid’ test, with nothing I noticed that was plainly stupid,” Wiesenfelder wrote. “We know Honda has some models with push-button transmissions (stupid), but the Civic has a straighforward lever. All the other controls are similarly straightforward, and the touchscreen system is updated, as needed. … I don’t recall any capacitive buttons (super stupid), either.”

2. All-Star Handling

honda-civic-2022-19-front-row--interior--steering-wheel.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Bragman’s review praised the Civic’s chassis response and overall handling: “There’s actual steering feel and feedback,” he wrote. “It feels considerably lighter on its feet than a new Accord, which always struck me as a bit piggish and heavy.”

Our drive loops underlined this. The new Civic’s steering ratio doesn’t feel as ultra-quick as that of its predecessor, which led the pack by a mile in the Handling score of our compact sedan comparison. But it’s still more than quick enough, with good overall feedback as well. Understeer feels well masked and body roll is limited; as before, the 2022 Civic is a fun car to throw around.

Geiger commended the sedan’s “maneuverability around the city — it was overall a really engaging [car to] drive.” Masterson characterized steering turn-in as good, summarizing drivability as “a refreshing change of pace from all the mid-size and large SUVs and trucks I’ve been in recently.”

3. Firm Ride? Depends Who You Ask

honda-civic-2022-01-angle--dynamic--exterior--front--silver.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Ride quality produced the highest level of disagreement, with some editors calling it too firm and others deeming it fine. At a local media event, I drove the 2022 Civic Touring back-to-back with the redesigned Hyundai Elantra — an excellent-riding car — and the differences were stark. Honda’s redesign remains firm: Road imperfections are immediately palpable, with good body control but unforgiving shock absorption. The automaker mitigated some of the prior Civic’s bounciness, but it isn’t all gone; I prefer the Elantra’s measured response, which doesn’t sacrifice body control or chassis stiffness in the process.

Masterson called the suspension “a little stiff,” and Hanley agreed: “Like its predecessor, the redesigned 2022 Civic’s ride quality is on the firm side, with taut suspension responses that might be too much for some drivers,” he wrote. “The Touring model comes with the largest wheels available, 18-inch alloys wrapped in low-profile tires, and this wheel-and-tire pairing likely plays a role. One of the sedan’s smaller available wheels with taller-sidewall tires might offer better ride comfort.”

Others had different takes. Bragman lauded the Civic’s “outstanding” balance between ride comfort and handling prowess, and Wiesenfelder said the redesign has upped its suspension game.

Given that the 2021 Civic won our three-way comparison recently, there was a lot Honda could have left alone, and did,” Wiesenfelder wrote. “But there were things it won that test in spite of, like the previous generation’s over-firm ride quality — especially compared with the cushiness of the redesigned ‘21 Nissan Sentra. The 2022 Civic improves on ride comfort but doesn’t seem to sacrifice handling, an earlier strength.”

4. Trough Luck

honda-civic-2022-27-center-console--front-row--interior.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Driver-accessible storage space, an embarrassment of riches in the earlier Civic, has fallen back to earth. Gone is the prior generation’s massive console storage, which offered SUV-like volumes of driver-accessible cubbies — including split-level trays ahead of the cupholders, which could slide out of the way to reveal a long trough that extended beneath the center armrest. The redesigned 2022 model has a decent-sized bin ahead of the fixed cupholders, but there’s no more bonus bin beneath. Absent sliding cupholders and a trough conversion, the space under the new armrest is unremarkable.

While the Civic’s interior features clear, easy-to-use controls, the move from the prior generation’s configurable center console to a conventional design seems like a step back,” Hanley said. “I was also surprised that there weren’t air vents on the back of the front center console for rear-seat passengers in our top-of-the-line Touring trim.”

5. Backseat Nitpicks

honda-civic-2022-37-backseat--interior.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Bragman’s review called the backseat “about average” in terms of room, and Masterson noted “plenty of room for two adults.” But he added that there’s “a strange waste of storage space potential. Why is there no storage pouch on the front-passenger seatback? And the backside of the center console seems like it could have a cubby carved out to place drinks or something similarly sized in there.”

The nitpicks carry over to car seats, where Cars.com’s Car Seat Check returned good results save a booster-seat layout that needs a boost.

“The backseat comfortably holds two car seats and installation is easy thanks to accessible Latch anchors,” wrote Geiger, a certified car-seat technician. “For boosters, though, the car doesn’t do as well. The sedan’s fixed head restraints push the booster off of the seatback when it should be flush, and the floppy buckles aren’t great when it comes to littler kids buckling up independently.”

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