We Drive: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Is Light Art Shaped Like A Car

The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe is the equivalent of a shiny object waving in front of you. It exists because looks are important, even on a mainstream car.

Get over the fact it has front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. The Civic Coupe has the sporting pretensions of a Lululemon yoga bag and it doesn’t care what you have to say about it. Throw in exaggerated lights on every corner and it’s the sensible compact car that’s been given some dazzling jewelry to distract your eyes.

Normally, the Civic Coupe has complemented the Civic line as the most stylish and least practical model in the lineup, the attention-grabber while the other variants carry people and cargo easily. But the coupe was always the one you wanted to date and the 2016 version is no different.

We drove the 2016 Civic Sedan extensively when it was released last fall, and the Civic Coupe carries over pretty much all of that car’s characteristics. That’s largely a good thing, because the new Civic is not only a quantum leap over the previous model, but aims higher than pretty much anything else in the compact sedan class.

Because the coupe can tell practicality to get lost, it looks much closer to the original Civic Concept shown last year. The boomerang lights, quickly sloping roof and stubby trunk have translated over well – you can even get it in the concept’s bright green paint.

While very nearly $27,000 sounds like a lot of money for a Civic, it isn’t that much for what’s basically a fashion statement. A Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T, Mini Cooper and Kia Forte Koup can all be similar money. And yet the Civic is arguably the most easy to use of the three. The suite of driver assistance tech that comes standard on the Touring (and optional on other Civic Coupes) isn’t the most refined of its kind out there, but the stop-and-go adaptive cruise control is extremely useful in nasty traffic situations.

The Civic is unexciting to drive, even with the 1.5-liter turbo four – the CVT, even in Sport mode, smothers the torque curve. And yet it’s never lacking for thrust and doesn’t sound strained in pretty much every passing maneuver. The base 2.0-liter Civic with the manual is still the enthusiast’s Civic right now, but the turbo oozes competency.

Much like the Honda Accord Coupe, the Civic Coupe is indulgence without the calories. The rear seats are small, but not nearly as useless as most coupes’. You sit low, but visibility is fine. There’s a reasonably large trunk, too. And if all you want from a car are the looks without the hassle, then the Civic Coupe ticks all of the major boxes. What other moving lighting installations can approach 40 mpg on the highway?

The answer to why the Civic Coupe exists is this: Why not? Which made me wonder even more what’s going on with the back of this car. I thought the sedan had an unusually short trunk lid, but the coupe’s verges on the ridiculous. And it makes the car look incomplete. The Civic Coupe is one of the rare cars crying out for a large, stupid wing on the back.

Impractical yes, but this is a coupe and looks are everything.

Photos: Carscoops.com/Keith Moore

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  • Craig

    Does the entire taillight light up?

    • William

      As far as I know, yes. Think it looks pretty sweet actually.

    • Six Thousand Times

      It does and it has the effect of being brighter at the ends than at the middle. Kind of a cool effect.

    • Not all the way around, but just about a quarter of the way up the spoiler. Frankly, it’s disappointing it doesn’t go higher but I’m sure there’s a US DOT reason why they couldn’t make them light up more.

      • Craig

        That is disappointing. And confusing. The Dodge Charger taillights light up all the way around. Hmm….

  • Ken Lyns

    Give it a couple of months. There will be 7-8 rice vendors offering large stupid wings.

  • funnyfarm299

    Isn’t there a MT coming next year for the 2.0?

  • Rayner Lim

    New Honda designs are so full of shiny bits, aero parts, confusing lines and other distractions, they overwhelm my eyes and make me think Honda cars always look great.

  • Sébastien

    way too complicated, that recessed grille doesn’t work for me. but I have to admit interior is much better looking than typical Hondas

  • Six_Tymes

    that interior is sweet.

    • BlackPegasus

      It looks dated. I preferred the spaceship interiors. Everyone hated them, but I love em 😉

  • Wandering_Spirit

    I doubt it would sell outside the US and the other markets of the anglosphere. It is essentially a looker with no substance and that strange design that makes it hard to resell in most EU markets.

    • Rayner Lim

      Even less substance when Asian Civics get last gen’s 1.6 or 1.8 NA engines for the base models. But maybe the white reflector makes it a bit more of a looker than the US one.
      https://img.okezone.com/content/2016/04/18/15/1366252/segera-meluncur-di-singapura-honda-all-new-civic-bakal-dibanderol-rp1-m-wGPQpxJsXa.jpg

      • Wandering_Spirit

        That wouldn’t sell either in markets outside UK in Europe. (Uk has similar tastes with the US in some areas). The rear 3/4 is awful and the front is “OLD”.

    • dumblikeyou2

      Not sure Honda was concerned about the EU with this one. Besides, doesn’t Honda struggle in Europe? They cancelled the Euro Accord due to lack of sales. Maybe the Jazz does okay.

      • Wandering_Spirit

        I think you’re right and that basically makes my comment useless, too. Accord sold though. This one i doubt. The standard EU Civic sold “OK” (for Honda standards) in the previous models, especially the Turbodiesels, which were pretty nice. The point is that a coupé that’s just a looker with no horses in the hood at what would be a pretty steep price point wouldn’t appeal many EU users. You spend and so want the horses. Plus, only Auto…(we want sticks), plus the style is a tad on the “Baroque” side. It fits in a US highway, fits in a US urban landscape. Doesn’t fit in many EU scenarios.

  • Grumpy

    For someone who wants to feel special driving something so ordinary.

    • BlackPegasus

      Stop being Grumpy.

    • Kenneth

      Hey: “someone who wants to feel special” – that’s YOU, right “Grumpy”?

  • William

    Wasn’t receptive to this when it debuted, but am warming up to it. Looks best in black like this, as it hides all the black plastic elements in the front and rear bumpers. Still need to see this in the flesh.

  • antbee

    I went to my local Honda dealership, as they had one of these, in Go Green, whatever they call it, so I stopped to take a look at it, and some others on the lot.
    I spoke, briefly, to a salesperson, and was told, there are no plans for an Si, Touring is as high as they will go, even with the coupe, and no manuals are in the works for the higher trim levels either, CVT is all you can get. I’m hoping the Hatch has the six-speed manual, and an Si trim, since it isn’t coming out until later this year, otherwise Honda will never have me as a customer again. Oh, and Honda, please drop the chrome from your “sportiest” Civic. Please?

    • Six Thousand Times

      Don’t believe that salesperson! Don’t ever believe any salesperson, actually. There will be something between the touring and the Type R but it’s not to your dealer’s benefit for you to wait if they can talk you into buying now.

      • alexxx

        spot on

        • Kenneth

          True: Not being well-informed before talking to a salesperson is a big mistake. A car salesman wants you to buy something on the lot today, not next year.

      • antbee

        Oh, no, they have nothing, now, that they could talk me into, not from my Mazda3 Sport.

    • Salesperson is incorrect. A manual for the turbo cars comes for 2017. An Si is also coming, as is the Type R hatch probably for 2018.

      • antbee

        Thank you, Zac! It seems that some of the salespeople don’t keep themselves as informed, even with all of the information available to them.

  • fabri99

    The more I see it, the more I love it. And it’s a Civic.

  • BlackPegasus

    Even the starting price for a base Civic is only $2-$3K away from a Accord. The new Civic is quite nice but it makes little sense to have it priced so closely to the Accord.

    • Kenneth

      Unless you simply don’t need – or want – to drive something as large as an Accord, no matter the cost difference.

  • Six Thousand Times

    I still miss the double wishbones.

  • Benjamin Corcoran

    $27,000? I support Japan, but damn… that’s Genesis Coupe money.

  • FromTheBackSeat

    It mystifies my why Honda didn’t make this a hatch. They wouldn’t have had to screw with the profile of the car at all, just join the trunk-lid with the rear glass and viola! The mail-slot of a trunk opening makes the space within hard to use – it is almost as impractical as the Camaro’s trunk opening. (Also, this is not heir to the Prelude….)

  • Liam Paul

    The exterior is way to busy for my tastes but I do love that interior, May be the best interior of a compact car I have ever seen. The leather seat colors are awesome choices . If the outside was less crazy and insane looking, too boy racer like looking but I guess that is who Honda is targeting

  • Sukhoi31m3

    Get much more swoopy and we’ll have a CRX…

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