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Canadian-built Civic a sound used purchase

2016 Honda Civic.
2016 Honda Civic. - Justin Pritchard

The latest-generation of Honda’s bread-and-butter compact is the 10th, and the latest Civic hit the road back in 2015 for model year 2016. That Civic flaunted a few firsts, including the first use of a turbocharged engine in the lineup, as well as a laundry list of advanced new safety equipment. 

Key competitors to this Canadian-built favourite include the Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Dodge Dart and others. Sedan, coupe and hatchback models were available and most owners say the Civic is roomier and more accommodating than you might thing from a mere glance.

Elsewhere, look for full smartphone connectivity with available wireless charging, heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, a sunroof, automatic lights and climate control, and more. Engines included a two-litre, four-cylinder or a punchy 1.5-litre turbo, the latter offering about 175 horsepower on regular-grade fuel. 

Transmission choices included a six-speed manual or continually variable transmission (CVT), which is the automatic transmission option.

Oil dilution

Shoppers not dead-set on a Civic with the 1.5-litre turbo engine may be best to avoid it. Some owners have experienced well-documented problems caused in part by a situation in which engine oil and gasoline may mix inside of the engine, causing problems, a check-engine light, a strong gas odor near the vehicle, engine misfiring, and more. An over-full oil level reading on the dipstick is a great reason to avoid a model with the 1.5-litre engine. Frequent use of the vehicle in extreme cold, especially for typically short drives, may exasperate the problem. 
Honda has extended warranty coverage on parts of this engine, and many owners have noted no issue. The oil dilution dilemma appears to be ongoing at this writing. For best results, factor extended warranty coverage into the purchase price of a car with the 1.5-litre engine, or skip it.

Check the condenser

The condenser is a part of a vehicle’s air conditioning system that requires a stream of cool outside air to pass through it. Usually, it’s mounted in the lower air opening of a vehicle’s bumper, where some Civic owners say it seems curiously vulnerable to damage by rocks and other road debris. Track down the condenser and look for signs of heavy damage, and be sure to run the air conditioner through a workout on your test drive, being on the lookout for poor performance. Some owners have installed protective provisions, like screens or mesh, to help protect this pricey-to-replace component.

Multiple warnings

2016 Honda Civic. - Justin Pritchard
2016 Honda Civic. - Justin Pritchard

You may not notice this rare problem on a test drive, but it’s worth noting: At any sign of difficulty or failure starting the engine, alongside the illumination of numerous warning and error lights, you’ll want to have the engine computer and battery checked over professionally. Often, the fix is a computer software reflash, a new battery, or a recalibration of one or more system sensors. Having this work performed in a dealer setting is best 

Trunk Leak 

Remove all items from the trunk, as well as the cargo floor cover. You want to see bare metal beneath the Civic’s trunk, and check the area for signs of rust, mildew, or standing water. Some owners have reported a water leak in this area that may stem from a defective weld around the trunk opening which should be easy to fix. If there’s a water leak like this, you’ll want to know before you buy.

The information presented above is gathered from online owner discussion groups and collaboration with a network of automotive repair professionals. The above information is not a comprehensive list of all possible issues with the vehicle in question and is instead intended to draw shopper attention to possible trouble spots they may wish to investigate before they buy. In most cases, problems listed above are reported with relative rarity in comparison to total sales volume. Shoppers are advised to have a dealer-performed pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle they’re considering for maximum peace of mind.


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