FARMINGTON, Penn. -- Coming out of a sharp curve on Pennsylvania Route 381, the Farmington-Ohiopyle Road cut through ripples in the Appalachian escarpment, we put the pedal down on Honda's 2016 Civic Coupe packing a new turbo-charged powertrain.
Response comes instantly, as the sleek and sporty coupe leaps ahead with the 4-pack engine whining and the front two 215/50R17 all-season tires scratching pavement to keep pace with the muscular engine's high-revving whirrs.
The speed meter's needle moves swiftly around the number notches while we work a sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel and simply hang on as the new 2-door Civic seems to slink down on blacktop and run with bedrock stability.
With an all-new vehicle architecture underpinning 2016 models that mark a tenth generation, the Civic Coupe series pops out of Honda's assembly plant at Allison, Ontario, Canada, using domestic and globally sourced parts plus engines built at Honda's Anna, Ohio, engine plant.
Civic as a 2-door for the compact class looks like a serious sports coupe dressing in a streamlined package with fastback roofline plus edgy body ripples and character lines that draw and delight the eye.
The coupe appears longer, broader and more muscular than previous iterations. Its face features a new signature chromed wing front fascia and standard LED daytime running lights. In back the C-shaped LED taillights are united by arching LED lamps that stretch across the decklid.
Civic's expansive passenger compartment with 91 cubic feet of volume tops the compact class for interior space with class-leading headroom and legroom.
Honda casts the 2016 Civic Coupe in five trim designations -- entry-level LX and LX-P, uplevel EX-T, loaded EX-L (that L tag denotes leather upholstery), plus new line-topping and sport-tuned Civic Touring.
The Civic LX and LX-P grades draw power from a 4-cylinder aluminum engine which displaces 2.0 liters and carries DOHC (dual overhead cams) and Honda's special i-VTEC (variable value timing and lift electronic control) valvetrain. The plant generates 158 hp at 6500 rpm plus torque of 138 lb-ft at 4200 rpm.
The price-leader Civic LX comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. For automatic shifting, Honda adds a CVT (continuously variable transmission) option for Civic LX-P.
Civic EX-T, EX-L and Touring grades tote a new single-scroll turbo-charged and direct-injected DOHC 1.5-liter aluminum in-line-4 engine. The turbo 4-pack, tied to a standard CVT, musters 174 hp at 6000 rpm with torque running to 162 lb-ft at 1700-5500 rpm, and it achieves EPA fuel economy estimates of 31/41 mpg city/highway.
Civic's new ultra-rigid unibody structure supports a suspension with MacPherson struts mounted in front and a compact multi-link design in back. Civic LX and LX-P roll on 16-inch alloy wheels capped by 215/55R16 all-season tires, while EX-T, EX-L and Touring grades score 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/50R17 tires.
With a disc at each wheel (11.1-inch ventilated front rotors with single-piston calipers and rear 10.2-inch solid rotors with single-piston calipers) the brakes have electronic ties to Honda's VSA (vehicle stability assist) equipment with traction control operating with ABS (anti-lock brake system) and EBD (electronic brake distribution). Also standard on all trims, Honda's new Agile Handling Assist device automatically deploys the vehicle's brakes to enhance initial turning response and cornering ability.
Honda Sensing is an optional package of safety and driver-assist features that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist System and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow.
Standard content for entry-issue Civic LX ranges from a multi-angle rearview camera and automatic headlamps to automatic climate system, cruise control, expanded-view driver side mirror, electronic parking brake, a tilting-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, 5-inch touchscreen, variable intermittent wipers, cloth seat upholstery, 60/40 split/folding rear seat and a 4-speaker audio kit with USB port and Pandora connectivity.
Honda's price chart for the 2016 Civic Coupe starts at $19,050 for Civic Coupe LX with a manual shifter. Top tier Civic Coupe Touring tallies to $26,125.