2015 Honda Civic
Redesigning a fan favorite like the Honda Civic takes special planning and consideration. There's a list of features and experiences that the new car must possess, in order to remain true to the brand. Miss a beat, and the fans will boo immediately. Remember the great Jetta debacle of a few years ago? VW made their uber-popular Volkswagen Jetta into a mainstream compact contender. They gave it conventional styling, and lowered the price. Sales naturally soared, but the Jetta-faithful (including many car journos) cried foul. They said that the interior felt cheap, and the new (cheaper-to-produce) suspension didn't offer handling capabilities befitting a Jetta.
Volkswagen ignored the masses, and simply launched a series of separate models that addressed those issues individually. The same thing happened when Honda introduced the completely redesigned 2015 Honda Civic. It was measurably improved over the outgoing Civic, but critics said that it looked like the old car, it felt cheap, and it didn't handle with the poise expected of a Honda Civic. But instead of ignoring the pundits, Honda went back to the drawing board almost as soon as the 2015 Civic went on sale.
Even though the Civic was heralded as a "disappointment", it outsold the 2015 Toyota Corolla by nearly 20k units. With sales of nearly 300,000, the new-new Civic is designed to knock the compact crown out of the park. To that end, Honda upgraded the 2015 Honda Civic from stem to stern. The entire body structure has been reengineered with 55% high-tensile steel, and it uses the next generation of Honda's ACE body structure system. This added rigidity not only makes the 2015 Honda Civic respond to driver inputs much faster, but it also allows the car to fair much better in a crash. Which is good, because there's a lot of distracting new features.
Among the newly standard features are Bluetooth Handsfree, Bluetooth Audio with a Pandora/USB/iPod interface, and a backup camera, all living in a new high-res display sitting in the top of the dash stack. Further down the futuristic dash, buyers of the 2015 Honda Civic EX and 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid can option a satellite-linked navigation system, which has all sorts of search capabilities. There's also a multi-view backup camera that gives you a regular behind view, a mirror-like wide angle, and a straight-down vantage point, so you can easily backup to your jetski trailer. All of these geektastic new toys are wrapped in an acre of soft-touch surfaces, and trimmed in nice looking plastics. If they were trying to drag the interior of the 2015 Honda Civic upmarket, they succeeded.
To complete the upscale-ification, the 2015 Honda Civic gets attractive new front & rear fascias, trimmed in the finest plastic chrome. Under the new looks are the same powertrains found in last year's new Civic: A 140-hp 1.8L VTEC 4 (28/39/32 - 5-sp auto), and a 201-hp 2.4L VTEC 4 / 6-sp manual in the 2015 Honda Civic Si. Both are smooth and responsive, and the stiffened new chassis complements them well.
When you add up all of the improvements made to the 2015 Honda Civic, you wind up with a very nice compact car. Much like the last new Civic.