Focus photo credit: As one of the most competitive slices of the automotive industry, the small-car market has never before seen such a crowded field as the one in 2016. Although dozens of compact cars are vying to claim the top prize, few challengers match up with the 2016 Honda Civic. Even as its rivals step into a more noteworthy role within this segment—the 2016 Ford Focus is a prime example—the Civic still feels miles above the rest thanks to its offering of best-in-class safety ratings, a spacious interior, sleek design, and incredible fuel efficiency. What makes the Honda Civic better than its rivals? Our Honda dealers in South Florida get asked that question a lot. So let’s answer it, using the 2016 Ford Focus as the Civic’s opponent.

Interior Roominess: Civic Wins in Landslide

While the Ford Focus offers an ample amount of passenger comforts, the 2016 Civic is a hands-down winner in the spaciousness department. Boasting more than four extra inches of length compared to its rival Focus, the Civic is a prime example that product refinement undoubtedly enhances user experience. Having removed minor and superfluous features that were found on previous Civic models, Honda was able to increase passenger volume immensely. With nearly 98 cubic feet of passenger space, the 2016 Civic outdoes the Focus by more than seven cubic feet, which turns out to be a substantial amount of additional stretch-out room. The Civic also offers 15.1 cubic-feet of trunk space compared to the Focus’s 13.2, respectively.

The Honda Civic features a more refined interior than ever before.

The front of the Civic is where the car truly outshines the Focus. Sitting much lower than past models, the 2016 Honda Civic is equipped with slim bucket seats that enhance the driver-side view. The center console utilizes analog knobs—not those digital dials that annoyingly overflow the market nowadays—and has a sleek infotainment system. The convenient storage bins and cup holders are in ideal positions. Bountiful amounts of knee room make the Civic feel more luxurious than its MSRP would indicate. Frankly, Honda can make the claim that the term “compact car” should be redefined based solely on what they’ve been able to achieve with this model year’s Civic. Inside the Focus, on the other hand, the front dash looks overly stylized, lending to the vehicle’s cramped feel. The panel is angular in design, almost too sharp for a vehicle of its stature, and cuts into driver- and passenger-side knee space. This confining design is also distracting, offering a series of digital-only options that can lead to confusion. The cabin is far from soundproofed, also, as rough road surfaces cause reverberations in the windows and plastic vents.

Honda Gets Best Marks in Safety

Over the past several years, the Ford Focus has found itself seated at the big-boy table thanks to the addition of modern safety features and design choices. Still, the Civic sits at the head of the table and owns all turkey-carving rights. Earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick+, the 2016 Honda Civic outperforms the Focus in nearly every category; the Civic received a “superior” front crash prevention rating and “good” grades across the board, whereas the Focus has no front crash prevention rating and only four of five “good” grades. What sets apart the Civic from the Focus are the available safety technologies. Honda hit the reset button with the new Civic by offering Honda Sensing technology as add-ons to all trim levels, including the base model LX, for an additional small fee. This tech includes LaneWatch, forward-collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road-departure mitigation, and lane-departure warning systems. Ford offers only blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist on its base Focus models, and the unusual choice for Ford to equip the car with rear drum brakes as opposed to four-wheel discs played a part in its failure to procure a gold medal from the IIHS.

Let’s Talk Engines, Handling, and MPGs

Boasting a clean-sheet design and rigid new frame, the Civic gleams with sleekness, but it’s the engine that shines brightest. Smoother handling is among the noticeable improvements with the 2016 Honda Civic. While past models set the standard for small cars, this model year’s car raised the bar thanks to more responsive steering, quick-reacting brakes, and a wide turning radius. Bumpy roads are micromanaged well enough to minimize sway and shake, resulting in a quiet and polished ride. The CVT engine on the 2016 Civic feels familiar—it’s the same engine carried over from the 2015 model—though its power output is markedly lag-free during acceleration, proving that maturity matters. All this while increasing fuel efficiency to 40 mpg on the highway. If the CVT is less your style, an optional turbocharged 1.5L inline-4 turns the Civic into a swifter powerhouse than we’ve ever seen from generations past, while staying in tune with the mpg ratings above. The Focus is unrefined in its options—base models are only offered with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, which isn’t entirely smooth at the lowest speeds—and the car mismanages bumpy roads, creating a noticeably shaky cabin. This isn’t surprising; the Civic is about 200 pounds lighter than the Focus and is fitted with a superior suspension system to mitigate road-condition wobble. The Focus also returns about 36 mpg on the highway, which is excellent in its own right, but 10% less than what the Civic offers.

Buy a 2016 Honda Civic & Take Home the Gold

Overall, both vehicles are contenders at the top of their class; the 2016 Honda Civic just happens to excel a bit more with high safety ratings, incredible spaciousness, best-in-class handling and engine performance, and optional features. In the end, the 2016 Civic vs. Focus battle is celebrated by Honda’s beloved small car earning gold across the board. At South Florida Honda Dealers, we’ve enjoyed seeing the Honda Civic grow into the prominent front-runner over the last decade-plus. And we’re confident it’ll lead the pack for years to come. If you’d like to take advantage of our Honda specials or test drive a new Civic, locate one of our Honda dealers in South Florida today. We have car dealerships throughout all of South Florida, so finding one near you is a piece of cake. Come experience why the 2016 Honda Civic remains at the top of the compact class!   Sources: