Since its launch in 1973, the Honda Civic has been one of the most popular compact cars sold in America. Its success can be attributed to its consistently high level of fit and finish and an impressive, long-standing reputation for reliability and low running costs. High fuel economy, environmental awareness and engaging performance have also played a large role in making the Honda Civic a top choice for many Americans.
The latest Honda Civic isn't really a no-brainer choice as its forbearers were, but it still comes recommended thanks to its clever interior, wide range of models and aforementioned strong reputation. For small car shoppers looking for a used vehicle, the Civic is certainly a smart choice, as its long production run and wide range of models make it easy to find what you want.
Current Honda Civic
Although only redesigned a year ago, the Honda Civic was significantly refreshed again this year to address many of the new car's shortcomings and missteps. Chiefly, Honda has improved interior quality and design and added more standard features. It has also spruced up the car's exterior styling and retuned the suspension and steering for better handling. The Civic's crash-worthiness is also improved. The result is a car once again among the class leaders.
The Honda Civic is available as a coupe or sedan. Mainstream trim levels consist of the familiar DX, LX, EX and EX-L, with even the base model including an impressive array of items that includes Bluetooth phone and audio, a rearview camera and Pandora radio functionality. The equipment only goes up from there, eventually arriving at the leather-lined EX-L. There are also the Hybrid sedan, Natural Gas sedan and Si coupe/sedan. A "HF" (high fuel efficiency) version is also available, with gas-saving features such as low-rolling-resistance tires and subtle aerodynamic tweaks.
The powertrain for the DX, LX and EX versions is a 1.8-liter, 140-horsepower inline-4 matched to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Hybrid has a more powerful electric motor than before (resulting in a total output of 110 hp) mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and boasting improved fuel mileage ratings (44 mpg in combined driving). The clean-burning Natural Gas model puts out 110 hp, while the Si sports a larger (2.4-liter) engine that provides greater output (201 hp) as well as the promise of a broader power spread. The Si is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.
The Civic's exterior styling is unadventurous but tasteful, boasting more visual pizzazz than this current generation was originally graced with for 2012. The cabin is likewise similar to before, with intuitive controls and a central multifunction display, but there are upgraded materials and switchgear that bring it in line with most competitors.
Overall, this Civic is a pretty capable small car. Its generous selection of engines and configurations should help it appeal to a wide variety of shoppers, while typical small Honda traits like nimble handling and high fuel economy remain intact. However, many other new small cars also offer these traits, and although this Civic is a solid pick for a small coupe or sedan, we suggest shopping other top competing models as well.
Read the most recent 2014 Honda Civic review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Honda Civic page.
For more on past Honda Civic models, view our Honda Civic history page.