Honda Civic: Judging for 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors

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Honda left us disappointed with the interior of the ninth-generation Civic compact car, but it certainly hits the mark with the cabin of the all-new 10th-generation Civic, which has been on sale for a few months.

We’re evaluating it for the 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors program, and we’ll announce winners April 14. It’s early in the competition, and we’ll evaluate about 50 vehicles this year, but it’s my top vote-getter so far after testing the first 10 nominees.

Why? Because of the premium leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, the heated front AND rear seats, the lightning-fast Bluetooth phone link, the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the 10-speaker sound system with subwoofer, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning.

Think about it. Not long ago, all of those features would have been found exclusively on expensive luxury cars. Now they’re on a spacious Civic Touring, priced out the door at $27,335, including handling charges. That price also gets you voice-recognition, remote starting and a 7-in. electrostatic touchscreen that is loaded with entertainment options, navigation, additional climate controls and vehicle information.

Look a little closer, and you’ll find the Civic interior checks the boxes that matter most in our competition. Fit-and-finish is impeccable, from the near-perfect front edge of the headliner to the stitching of the second-row center armrest, which is generally stowed away and rarely seen. Headroom for an average size male is ample in the second row, even in the center seating position. For a design flourish, a bronze accent strip stretches across the instrument panel on the passenger side.

But wait, there’s more. The center console and armrest can be reconfigured to your liking, integrating movable cupholders and a storage bin that’s as deep as a 5-gallon bucket. And the contrasting black-and-beige color scheme is handsome, especially with the vertical black stripes on the front seats.

Yes, the Civic interior is sharp, but it will face challenges this year from two other compacts, the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra.

-- Tom Murphy

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