First drive: 2016 Honda Civic 2.0 in the UAE

First drive: 2016 Honda Civic 2.0 in the UAE

2016 Honda Civic in the UAE

The Honda Civic has been struggling to retain its relevance in recent years, what with strong competition from rivals that offer better overall value. Everyone would agree that the last truly-innovative Civic was the one that debuted in 2006, so a decade later, Honda has pulled out all the stops in an attempt to become the benchmark of the compact segment again, as can be seen by the daringly-designed exterior.

With design elements such as the hammerhead grille and claw-like tail lamps, opinions are split on its looks, but at least Honda is trying again. The new profile is as sporty as it gets for a compact car, with a liftback-style rear and “longer” looks that can fool the less-informed into thinking it’s a midsizer. In fact, the new Civic has gained less than 80mm in extra length, as well as being about 40mm wider and 40mm lower.

2016 Honda Civic in the UAE 8

Inside, the new dashboard design is very modern, with soft-touch surfaces and screens for the central controls as well as part of the gauges. There’s also soft-touch areas on the doors and centre-armrest parts, but then we noticed the cost-cutting, such as the barely-padded armrests, the fully hard-plastic rear-door panels, the lack of a cover for the centre-armrest cubby, and the generally tinny feeling when you slam the doors shut.

Owners won’t care though, as the space inside is very generous, almost at midsize levels. Even the cargo volume under that tinny boot-lid is impressive, although the opening is now smaller.

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The tech in our mid-range 2.0-litre model is enough to wow the layman, with the capacitive touchscreen and the full-colour info display in the gauges, as well as the rear camera with guiding lines and the right blind-spot camera. There’s also some nifty design ideas such as the double-decker centre-console storage so you can hide your phone charger below the shifter, and the volume-control button on the steering wheel that can also be controlled by sliding your thumb over it. With that said, we didn’t have time to explore all the features, but we did notice the lack of physical knobs for the radio volume and a/c fan, requiring a dig through the screen options to use them.

Again, we didn’t get a whole lot of time to drive the car, but we can say that power is merely adequate, even with the larger 158 hp 2.0-litre engine. Stepping on the throttle generates a lot of the typical Honda roar, but forward movement isn’t impressive, even with the new CVT automatic that’s supposed to extract more juice out of the motor. On a positive note, fuel consumption is a decent 9.0 litres/100 km, with a fair bit of city driving.

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We also liked the ride and handling — nothing spectacular, mind you, but the balance between fun and comfort is good enough, with a quicker-than-average ratio steering that’s well-weighted, instantly-responsive throttle, adequate brakes that act linearly, and good body control. It’s easy to run out of grip if you push it, but understeer at the limit is clean and easily managed. And it’s a quieter than before, although not a class leader by any means.

So that’s the new 2016 Civic for you — a spacious commuter car that’s oddly satisfying to drive as long as you don’t think it’s a sports car. It’s expensive for its class, especially when compared to the always-on-discount Koreans, but at least you get more metal for your money now.

For UAE/GCC prices and specs, visit the Honda buyer guide.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.

What do you think?



  1. A rather large hump on the floor on the rear. Rather odd for a FWD. The side profile spells limited rear headroom. Was that the case?

    • Author

      The roof slopes over the boot, not the cabin, although I don’t think there is any car with enough headroom for your afro.

  2. So, does it still cost 90K like the last one?

  3. The Elantra and Cerato owners can celebrate. Unless Honda City drops its prices or comes up with a re-design..

  4. You did not mention anything about the 1.5L turbo option!!!

  5. I am not happy with the bigger is better policy the car manufacturers are following. It is approaching Accord’s size 2 generations ago so the Accord has to grow again. I love nimble cars sized properly. The same goes for other brands. All cars are getting “longer wider lower”.
    That said, it stands out as a design and I beg to differ that the decision about cars should not always be value based but maybe emotional. hope they will get here the 2 door version

  6. And it’s a quieter than before, although not a class leader by any means.

    What do you think than who’s class leader in this segment, in term of cabin quietness.

  7. with that kind of price, its entering the mid-sized sedan segment..can it compete with the likes of mazda 6 and camry?

  8. The reason there is a hump in the middle now is because the car is lower than before, so that means less space for exhaust down below the car and hence it had to be pushed up in the cabin.
    Btw Mash, does drivearabia have a YouTube channel for car reviews ?

    • Author

      No, we don’t do videos. It takes too long, filming is illegal in most cases, and doesn’t generate enough revenue.

      That, and most of our readers prefer reading as they browse the site during office hours or while car shopping. You can’t start watching a video in front of the salesman now, can you?

  9. Chances of reviewing the RS any time soon?

  10. As a reply to one commenter, I believe this model in particular offers alot of value for money. I’ve driven it twice and was impressed at the cabin space and ride quality. However, RS spec seems too over the top for me, I personally didn’t find the leather seats as comfortable on them as the fabric seats of the EX. For 96K, I’d quietly stretch my wallet and get a top spec Accord for 110K.
    I think for the average buyer, the base LX is decent but the EX gives you alot for the money.

  11. In terms of cabin quietness, if you are given a budget of 100k which car you would spend your files on.

  12. Go for Subaru as all of their cars are japan made all wheel drive, super strong cars safe and best engines. Cars last very long, good resale, cheap service, good latest features. totally worth it as prices are also not that much.

    • @ Jon

      Subarus are sourced from US factories and no they have low resale values. Prices wise they are higher than competition.

      Mazda is the probably only true Japanese maker (less Mazda 2 thai made)

  13. @Mash

    this is made in Japan or US?

  14. @Mash
    do you agree with subaru, or you have another car or maker to say about.

  15. Subaru are legends of racing and have won many races. They are the only few car companies using a Boxer engine (Porsche is another). They claim the engine gives better stability and reduces the engine noise by the way its designed. Subaru is a good car, low resale and high on fuel consumption. I guess all wheel drives consume more fuel in general. Built quality is good though.

  16. Weird/Odd design for exterior with hitech and much attractive interior. Looks like MULE(Bad looking but practically still useful).

  17. So Honda Civic now officially competes in the segment with Nissan Altima and Mazda 6 atleast in terms of pricing. I wonder and can imagine how much would the Type R cost if they decide to launch. Looks like it break into the VW Golf GTI territory.
    @ Mash: Would you be aware if Honda BR-V will be making it to UAE, in the coming year 2017.

    • I don’t think that is the case. The previous civic topped out at 89K so one can say it was a competitor to the altima and mazda 6 but that wasn’t true. However, if you’re talking about the RS only then that seems valid. Also, Mazda6 has a low starting price because it comes with a base 2.0, like corolla , civic and elantra and personally I think 2.0 for mazda 6 is not the best option since its a big car. In contrast the accord and altima only have 2.4/2.5 as the base engine.

  18. Mash, the Toyota website is saying the new corolla has new 7 speed trans? is that right? if so, then now corolla went back to top competition because the old 4 speed trans was its weakness point.

    • Author

      CVT with 7 simulated gears.

    • Thanks Mash for clarification, personally i think CVT with simulated gears is still better than the old 4 speed trans, it was so old and killing the car on highways cruising

  19. Dear Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

    Thank you for your great job on the drivearabia website, i would like to comment on what you said (No, we don’t do videos. It takes too long, filming is illegal in most cases, and doesn’t generate enough revenue) i know a website that do car reviews (based in Dubai)and they have their own youtube channel but it is in arabic language only, so i don’t think its illegal, and it will be very nice to have an english channel for car reviews in the UAE.
    Wish you and the team all the best.

  20. How about safety features!?!!
    Why are these always overlooked?

    How many airbags? Stability control?

  21. Saw this new model parked on roadside today….,…

    IMO, In pics, back looked better than front but in reality, i felt front looked real good and much better than back….. didn’t liked the backlights though…

  22. Hi
    I was told by a civic enthusiaist once that the best of civics are the models in it’s last year of production. How true is it?

    P.S. I like the new Civic and look forward to having one as my daily commuter.

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