A Week In Review: 2017 Honda Civic Touring

Day 1: I’m told the color of this Civic Touring is Burgundy Night Pearl. I would have called it Ultra Dark Bluey Purple, which is why I don’t get paid to name colors. Point is, it’s rather nice and looks black or very dark blue until sunlight hits it and you then you can see the Burgundy. The other Civic I drove had that sharp looking grey pearl and Honda aren’t the only company spraying their cars with great paint, yet today I found myself stuck on a giant freeway in a sea of white, black and varying shades of silver cars.

civic touring
Burgandy Night Pearl – it isn’t black, white or silver.

Anyway, this is the feature loaded Touring trim, so the car color pondering was going on in rather comfortable leather trimmed seats, and using CarPlay to listen to some music on the ten speaker system while being directed to a friends house. On the range of Civics this registers as sophisticated, but he’s a Marine and doesn’t really care about things on four wheels unless it has armor and some sort of destructive ballistic ability. He was vaguely impressed it has remote start, so there’s that.

As for that big stereo system, the voices and instruments come through distinctly staged, but the overall setup doesn’t seem very well balanced. It sounds like the sub woofer is in the dashboard, but hopefully the settings will help that. The touchscreen is a big upgrade on previous Hondas and adequately responsive, but no volume knob. Instead there’s a little touch sensitive strip you run your finger up and down. This is annoying enough to make anyone wish for the tiny buttons of the last generation. Thankfully the one on the steering wheel has tactile buttons at the top and bottom of the strip. I don’t know why car makers insist on making you try and use fine motor skills to do the simplest of things while driving.

You can either tap the + or – sign or rub your finger up and down to change the volume. Don’t try this on a bumpy road.

Saying that, I can already tell that this system is Hondas most positive move forward on their screen based infotainment systems.

Day 2: I’m at home working on deadline material today, so there was no valid excuse to drive the car until dinner went wrong and pre cooked meals were required. Turns out the stereo has a DTS Neural Sound mode that mimics surround sound… and it makes all the difference. Now it sounds pretty good; better in fact than anything I’ve heard in the segment so far.

Hondas keyless entry and start is very well done indeed. Speaking of the BMW: Between our own CR-V and the back to back Civics it’s worth noting they have the Economy mode that, amongst other thing, uses a light that changes colour in the dash cluster to show you when your right foot is being economical or not. I thought (like most enthusiasts), that I didn’t need it but it’ll be good for the muggles. Turns out that when the BMW is notably drinking gas in traffic and I want to go lightly, I start being really gentle on the gas pedal and my peripheral vision looks for the positive green glow.

Huh.

Day 3. I’ve been trying to avoid telling the wife it has CarPlay because she hates that our 2016 CR-V doesn’t have it, and I doubt Honda will update the older hardware. She is right though, and CarPlay needs to be a standard on infotainment system with a touchscreen at this point.

The Honda Sensing package includes adaptive cruise control and it’s smooth enough not to be annoying when slowing down and braking, so if you spend a fair amount of time using cruise control then that’s solid. Lane Keeping Assist is not overbearing but will keep anyone moving around too much out of trouble. The Road Departure Mitigation system, again, isn’t jarring but lets you know you’re being an idiot. If you don’t sort it out quickly enough then the system will use the steering and brakes to keep you in the detected lane.

Forward collision warning is designed to do just that – let you know it’s time to hit the anchors if it senses trouble before you, and if you fail to act it’ll automatically apply brake pressure. I like to think I’m thorough, but you’ll have to forgive me for not deliberately tripping that one. This is California though*, so I’m sure we’ll find out if the system is faster on the uptake and the action than me at some point.

Day 4. Remote start when you live in the desert is a wonderful thing. It came in handy when I got the dreaded school run phone call. Just press the appropriate buttons on the fob, throw on some acceptable clothing and get into a cooled down car. A total of three teen passengers including a six footer in the back had enough room and no elbow fights ensued. The word fancy got bounced around and then one kid discovered the rear had heated seats and declared herself to now be in heaven.

Yes. At the beginning of summer. In the afternoon. In the desert.

These kids are high achievers so I’m ok with them being a bit weird. I’m not sure about describing adaptive cruise control as sorcery, but then again in my last Week In Review I marvelled at side mirrors; so who am I to judge?

Anyway, more review things. The CVT is great, Honda

has that nailed down. The girls were driven around town with the right foot set to calm and pretending it belonged to a Limo driver. It’s also worth noting four large rucksacks were deposited in the trunk with no complaints, it also turns out the word ‘rad’ is actually making a comeback.

Day 5. Friday is normally a button things up day, but I suddenly had to drive to Ontario (The one in California not Canada). The sport is always urging to be a busy driver while making fun noises and looking ostentatious. The Civic Touring has a CVT with all the bells and whistles and instead urges driving in whatever manner the mood fits. Today I wanted to cruise along to pick up my stuff, turn round and cruise home. So of course I spent the entire afternoon in heavy traffic because California, and still managed to get back with what can only be described as a war crime of bugs splattered on the windscreen. Still, it’s a perfectly nice environment to be stuck in.

Day 6. We have young new neighbours just moved in and this looks like it should be in their driveway. The Civic Touring is a viable contender to be the official car of “We are doing quite well and thinking about having a family”.

However, it’s in my garage and it’s errand day, so off to the coffee shop I go for fuel and get coffee shop guys review which is: “It looks frickin’ sharp dude”.

It does well around town nipping through the little short cuts I’ve found and the turning circle is nice and tight. Compact cars have gotten bigger in size, but the Civic Touring in sedan form is still small enough to slip past trucks and SUVs that don’t mind shrinking the gap you want to slip though to turn right at a traffic light. On top of that and without trying to be conservative on fuel, the MPG is firmly stuck at 29 as my average in the weeks traffic conditions.

Day 7. Honda doesn’t say anywhere I can see that S is for sport, but I would be remiss if I didn’t drop the lever into S mode and take a spin up to Idyllwild before handing back the key. It’s lovely fun and the CVT does a great job keeping you in the rev gauges happy place. It’s FWD playful fun, but I eased up and just enjoyed the drive and scenery because the car will happily go about just suiting the mood of the moment.

Both Hand Drive awards the 2017 Honda Civic Touring: 91 Big Work Promotions And Treating Yourself out of 100.

As driven:

2017 Honda Civic Touring Sedan:

Engine: 174hp 1.5-Liter DOHC 16-Valve Direct Injection Turbo Charged 4-Cylinder.
Transmission: CVT.
Color: Burgundy Night Pearl.
Fuel Economy: 32 City, 42 Highway, 36 Combined.
MSR: $21,300

*Xanax and Facebook must be costing the insurance companies a fortune these days.

You can read the full review here.

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