Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at MikeHagertyCars.com are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical. Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days. Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during the just-concluded Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Half Moon Bay, California.
Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.
Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at our host hotel, the Aristocrat, down Highway 1 to Highway 84, onto Stage Road (named for the former stagecoach stop still---but barely---standing on the corner), past the historic (since 1889), socially-aware and only-in-Northern-California funky San Gregorio General Store, through some marvelous twists and turns that lead back to Highway 1 and ultimately back to the hotel.
At the hotel, support teams from Page One Automotive and DriveShop sanitize the vehicles as they return while journalists choose their next vehicle from a total of 27 cars, trucks and SUVs provided by their manufacturers. This goes on for eight hours on day one, minus a 90-minute lunch break, and for three hours on day two. For me, that was enough time to drive 11 vehicles that I hadn't driven yet.
My third drive of the second day, and my 11th and final drive of the two-day event was in the 2022 Honda Civic Sport.
The Civic is all-new for 2022, and after a generation of a design that could best be described as...unusual, has gone back to where it has found success before---in a more mature, subdued approach. A sort of mini-Accord.
Under the hood, it's a 2.0-liter, 158 horsepower four-cylinder engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission. It's not quick. Zero to 60 will take about eight seconds. There's a 180-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo in the EX and Touring models, but early tests from the major magazines suggests that only cuts the 0-60 number by half a second---down to 7.5.
Even so, it turns out that the Civic Sport is actually powered by the slower of the two engines.
Regardless, it felt more than adequate and quite willing to play---to a point---on our drive route. Credit a lot of that to the CVT's paddle shifters which allow it to mimic specific gears on command.
But Honda rightly figures (likely by checking Corolla sales) that winning stoplight drag races isn't high on Civic sedan buyers' checklists and that things like smoothness and an EPA fuel economy estimate of 30 miles per gallon city/37 highway (for the 2.0) are.
Where the Civic scores big is in room for people and their things and a clean new dash design reminiscent of mid-80s Civics, which drops the center of the instrument panel down to about chest level, creating a view out the windshield of nothing but the road in front of you. After years of bi-level dashboards and shrinking sightlines, the new design is refreshing.
The base price of the 2022 Honda Civic Sport is $23,100 and for that money, there's a long list of standard equipment. The Sport is one model up from the base LX, and would in any world be considered well-equipped, especially for the price. See the window sticker at the end of the review for the list of standard features.
My favorite interior touch is Honda's ingenious approach to hiding the air vents. They are behind an intricate real metal---not plastic---screen, with metal toggles for controlling the direction of the airflow.
Honda's one-price approach to trim levels means that the 2022 Civic Sport begins and ends at $23,100. With $995 destination and handling, the as-tested price is $24,095.
That's a low, low price for a very well-equipped compact sedan. We're booked for a full week in both the Civic Sport and the turbo-powered Civic Touring. Look for those reviews in the early fall.