Used 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas
- Wide variety of powertrains
- comfortable and composed ride
- good fuel economy
- spacious interior
- available coupe body style.
- Finicky sound system controls for most models
- HondaLink features are only iPhone-compatible initially
- coupe's cramped backseat
- hybrid's small trunk.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Honda has made another major round of improvements to the Civic for 2014. As a result, the 2014 Honda Civic is one of the best compact cars you can buy.
Keeping the Civic at the top of its game is a perennial priority at Honda. After hearing from reviewers and consumers that its redesigned 2012 Civic lagged behind other compact rivals in interior quality, features and cabin noise isolation, the company swiftly broke out its tool kit for a repair job. In a rare move for an automaker, Honda updated the Civic just one year after a redesign to fix these very issues. Now for 2014, Honda has kept its foot on the gas to ensure the Civic sedan and coupe stay as desirable as possible for car shoppers.
Starting things off for the 2014 Honda Civic is a revised 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a new, more efficient CVT that replaces the five-speed automatic transmission in most models. The resulting combo promises even better fuel economy, and indeed, with a 35 mpg combined EPA estimate (for the HF model), the Civic is one of the most efficient non-hybrid small cars you can buy. New upscale features are also part of the 2014 plan as you can now get keyless ignition and entry, a 7-inch touchscreen interface with enhanced smartphone integration and a blind-spot camera display. Honda hasn't forgotten about those who enjoy driving, either: The LX coupe and Si coupe/sedan models receive firmer suspension calibrations to provide more responsive handling. Additionally, Honda says that the new CVT provides slightly quicker acceleration to go along with the increased fuel mileage.
Meanwhile, all the previous perks on this compact Honda remain, as the Civic continues to offer roomy seating, impressive crash test scores and a generous standard features list that, even on entry-level trims, includes Bluetooth, a rearview camera, an iPod interface and Pandora functionality. It's also quite easy to find a Civic you like given the availability of sedan and coupe body styles and the mix of trims that ranges from the green-oriented Hybrid and Natural Gas models to the sporty Si.
Regardless of which version appeals to you, the 2014 Honda Civic is an excellent choice for a small sedan or coupe. Still, there are very worthy rivals in the form of the 2014 Ford Focus, 2014 Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Mazda 3, which all offer competitive value, feature content and interior quality. Civic Hybrid shoppers will find that the Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid are strong alternatives, while performance enthusiasts considering the Civic Si should also test-drive the entertaining and refined Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI. Overall, though, we're very impressed with the Honda Civic.
trim levels & features
The 2014 Honda Civic is a compact car offered in coupe and sedan body styles.
The standard Civic coupe and sedan come in LX, midrange EX and top-of-the-line EX-L and EX-L Navi trims. The sedan is also available in fuel-efficient HF, Hybrid and Natural Gas trims. The sporty Civic Si is available in both coupe and sedan body styles.
Entry-level LX models come equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a one-piece fold-down rear seatback and cruise control. Electronic features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, SMS text messaging functionality and a four-speaker (six for the coupe) sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora radio functionality.
The EX model adds to or supplants those features with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear disc brakes, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, a right-side blind spot camera, a 7-inch central touchscreen display, smartphone integration (HondaLink, which includes Aha radio and Apple-based Siri Eyes voice command functionality), an HDMI interface and a 60/40-split-folding rear seatback. EX coupes get an upgraded seven-speaker sound system, while EX sedans step up to a six-speaker sound system. The EX-L model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The sedan version of the EX-L also includes an eight-way power driver seat. As you'd expect, the EX-L Navi adds a navigation system as well as HD and satellite radio.
The Civic HF sedan starts out with standard features similar to those of the LX sedan but also has a few upgrades designed to deliver maximum mpg. These include low-rolling-resistance tires, aerodynamic cast-aluminum wheels, wind-cheating underbody panels and a rear spoiler.
The Civic Hybrid sedan is available in four trim levels: base, Leather, Navi and Leather with Navi. The base version's standard equipment essentially mirrors that of the EX sedan minus the sunroof, rear disc brakes and 16-inch wheels (it has 15s). The Leather version adds most of the EX-L features minus the 17-inch wheels and power driver seat. Both hybrids also come with forward collision warning and lane departure warning systems. Those with Navi add the navigation system (which also includes HD and satellite radio).
The Civic Natural Gas is available in two trim levels: base and Leather. The standard features on the base trim largely mirror those of the LX but also include a few EX touches such as the right-side blind spot camera and HondaLink with the 7-inch central touchscreen display. The Leather version adds a navigation system and most of the EX-L features, minus the 17-inch wheels and power driver seat.
Aimed at driving enthusiasts, the Civic Si (available in standard and Navi trims) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, unique front and rear styling tweaks, a rear spoiler, a bigger engine, a limited-slip front differential and a sport-tuned suspension. Interior upgrades include most of the EX's features along with front sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an aluminum shift knob, simulated carbon-fiber accents and red backlit gauges.
performance & mpg
The front-wheel-drive 2014 Honda Civic is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. For the Civic LX sedan, Honda offers either a five-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT. For the EX, EX-L and HF sedans, the CVT is standard. For the coupe, manual transmission availability is extended to the EX.
With the CVT, Honda says the Civic LX, EX and EX-L will achieve an estimated 33 mpg combined (30 mpg city/39 mpg highway). With the manual, fuel economy drops a bit to 31 mpg combined (28 mpg city/36 mpg highway). The Civic HF rates 35 mpg combined (31 mpg city/41 mpg highway), according to Honda.
During Edmunds' track testing, a Civic EX-L coupe with the CVT ran from zero to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds while an EX sedan with the CVT did it in 9.1 seconds -- that's a few tenths slower than average for this class.
The Civic Hybrid gets a 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, a combination that's good for 110 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. A CVT is standard. This year's hybrid also has revised powertrain components and improved aerodynamics to give a slight boost to fuel economy, which now stands at an EPA-estimated 45 mpg combined (44 mpg city/47 mpg highway). In prior Edmunds testing of the hybrid, we recorded a 0-60 mph time of 10.1 seconds -- on par with most economy hybrids.
The Civic Natural Gas features a natural-gas-powered version of the Civic's 1.8-liter engine. It produces only 110 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque, however. A five-speed automatic is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is the gasoline equivalent of 31 mpg combined (27 mpg city/38 mpg highway).
The Civic Si sports a 2.4-liter four with 205 hp and 174 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is the sole transmission offered. Fuel economy estimates for the Si stand at 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/31 mpg highway). At the test track, a Civic Si coupe sprinted to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, about average for a sport compact in its price range.
The 2014 Honda Civic comes standard with stability control, antilock brakes (four-wheel discs with the EX and Si), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. EX/EX-L versions also include a right-side blind spot camera (LaneWatch). This year's updated HondaLink system also includes emergency crash notification.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 2014 Civic EX-L coupe came to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, an EX sedan took 118 feet, both notably better than average for this class. An Si coupe performed the same test in just 112 feet, about average for a sport compact on summer tires.
In government crash tests, the Civic sedan received a top five-star rating overall, with four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety. The coupe received four stars overall, with four stars for frontal and five stars for side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Civic sedan and coupe its highest possible rating of "Good" in its small-overlap frontal offset, moderate-overlap frontal offset, side impact and roof strength tests. The Civic's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The Honda Civic has long been one of the better-driving cars in its class, and this tradition continues with the latest version's precise, well-weighted steering and confident handling. The Civic also offers one of the most comfortable and composed rides in the class. With last year's refinements, it's also pretty quiet at freeway speeds, something you couldn't say about older Civics.
Power from the gasoline-fueled 1.8-liter engine is merely adequate, but its high fuel efficiency and typically refined character nevertheless make it a winner. Performance of the new CVT is commendable, as it swiftly "downshifts" when you need quick acceleration, unlike some other CVTs, which seem to produce more noise than action. Overall, we think just about all Civic buyers will be happy with the new CVT's operation.
You can expect sluggish acceleration from the Natural Gas Civic and Civic Hybrid, though obviously, efficiency is the overriding priority on these models.
The Civic Si, as expected, is certainly the most fun to drive. Refined suspension tuning, quick steering, snappy acceleration and one of the slickest, easiest-to-drive manual transmissions around give the Si a sharp and playful attitude around town or on curving roads.
Inside, the 2014 Honda Civic maintains its familiar driver-oriented two-tier dash display, which includes a 5-inch monitor on the top tier that displays information for audio, hands-free phone use and various vehicle systems. Materials quality is solid, and there's plenty of storage space available for your personal items.
Most of the cabin's controls are well-placed, but the audio controls for all but the LX and those equipped with navigation are rather annoying to use. Simply setting a radio station requires you to jockey back and forth between searching and setting them. The lack of a tuning knob doesn't help matters here, nor does a rather awkward touch-slide bar for volume. The more intuitive steering-wheel-mounted audio controls help alleviate this gripe.
On the upper trims, the Civic boasts even more smartphone amenities this year via the latest HondaLink system. HondaLink operates through the 7-inch touchscreen to provide voice control (Siri Eyes Free) plus a variety of search, audio and social media functions. It also allows the car's touchscreen to display and operate an available navigation app, making for a factory-installed navi experience minus the much greater cost. Overall, we found the system's menu design a little cumbersome, but responses are quick and we appreciate the touchscreen's swipe-and-pinch functionality. To run all but the Pandora app, however, you must have an iPhone 5 (or newer) and purchase the HondaLink cable kit (which runs about $100). If you want the navigation feature, then you must buy that app (about $60). Also, the system doesn't interface with Apple's Podcast app. Finally, Android phones are not currently compatible with HondaLink, although Honda claims that that will change by the end of the 2014 calendar year.
In the Honda Civic sedan, legroom and headroom for front passengers is competitive, while the rear-seat accommodations are excellent for this class. The rear bench is mounted high enough to provide proper thigh support for adults, and it boasts significantly more real-world legroom than key rivals like the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. The Civic coupe's rear seat has noticeably less available legroom and headroom, however. Rival two-doors like the Elantra coupe or Scion tC are more accommodating in back.
The Civic offers 11.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity in the coupe and 12.5 cubic feet in the sedan, which is less capacity than in the Cruze and Focus sedans. The hybrid models sacrifice trunk space to the battery pack, leaving 10.7 cubic feet. The large fuel tank needed for the natural gas model curtails trunk space even further.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
A Honda's lifecycle is typically as predictable as the moon's orbit. A car like the Civic would typically get a ground-up redesign every four or five years. Sure, there'd be a few added features to keep up with the times and an obligatory midlife tweaking of the taillights or grille, but in general, Honda's mantra was, "It ain't broke, so we don't fix it."
The 2014 Honda Civic belongs to a generation that has required fixing. It was introduced two years ago with an uninspired redesign that seemed little improved over the car it replaced and certainly not good enough to compete with new, highly desirable competitors. As others were marching up field, Honda punted.
That changed last year, when the Civic received the upgrades it should've had in the first place. Interior quality, styling, feature content and the driving experience were all upgraded, while improvements to its already exemplary crash performance were icing on the cake. For 2014, the changes continue, and while they're certainly not as significant as those last year, they are nevertheless noteworthy additions that keep the Civic on offense.
An All-New Automatic for 2014
While the Civic coupe gets a subtle styling adjustment, the Civic sedan carries over visually unchanged. For both, however, the biggest development for 2014 is the new continuously variable transmission (CVT) that replaces the previous five-speed automatic transmission. A CVT lacks gears entirely, instead relying on a chainlike belt that expands and contracts to continuously vary (hence the name) the transmission ratio for optimum engine performance and efficiency.
In terms of the latter, the Civic's CVT helps, but only slightly so. EPA-estimated fuel economy for its 1.8-liter four-cylinder has risen to 33 mpg combined (30 city/39 highway) from the 2013 Civic's 32 mpg rating (28/39). It delivered 34.8 mpg on Edmunds' 116-mile, highway-heavy evaluation route.
Frankly, this negligible year-to-year improvement (the EPA estimates you'll save about $50 per year) may not be enough to persuade those who dislike CVTs. Such transmissions have often been greeted by confusion or even disdain by drivers accustomed to cars going through a series of gears when accelerating. By contrast, a CVT can rev for as long and high as necessary, making it seem at times like the car is stuck in a low gear. Other common complaints include obnoxious droning noises and a yo-yo effect where revs constantly and excessively rise and fall depending on how much throttle is being applied.
Thankfully, the Civic's CVT is one of the best we've experienced, as it largely mitigates these side effects. There is still some drone that washes over that sweet Honda motor sound, but it's not aggravating. The yo-yo effect is negligible when driving around town, but became pronounced on the mountainous section of our evaluation route. Dropping the transmission selector down into Sport mode reduced this, instructing the CVT to keep the engine revving higher despite the adverse fuel economy effects. Still, the Manual mode and paddle shifters included with the Civic coupe would be appreciated.
Paddles or no, there is indeed a similarly slight improvement in performance for the 2014 Honda Civic. A sprint from zero to 60 mph takes 9.1 seconds (8.7 seconds with a foot of rollout as on a drag strip) versus the 9.6 seconds it took the 2013 Civic and its five-speed automatic. Improvement is improvement, but the Civic remains one of the slower compact sedans in the class. The more powerful engines found in the Ford Focus, Kia Forte EX and Mazda 3i shave nearly a second off the Civic's time. The Mazda 3 "s" and newly turbocharged Volkswagen Jetta are faster still.
New Technology Interface
Frankly, however, it seems unlikely that Honda's mailroom has been inundated with complaints concerning the Civic's acceleration. There is a chance, however, that younger shoppers have walked into the showroom and been underwhelmed by the Civic's gadgets, gizmos and the interface needed to control them.
For them, a new touchscreen electronics interface debuts in the Civic EX and above (the base LX still features last year's physical buttons and high-mounted display screen). All buttons and knobs have been removed, replaced by additional menu levels and touch-operated menu icons adjacent to the screen. Our opinions were mixed on its level of usability.
The head unit certainly looks cooler than before, as there's a clear resemblance to an iPad, but it suffers from a functionality standpoint. The touch-only controls are more responsive than some others we've tried, but we'd still prefer a knob for the volume. Within the touchscreen itself, going between submenus is a multistep process, and many buttons are too small or vaguely labeled. Both are added distractions while driving.
Then again, one editor found the system to be perfectly intuitive and declared the rest of us to be old men. We aren't, literally, but as the Civic tends to be just as popular among older drivers as it is with millennials, it's a telling comment about who may have trouble with this system.
A New Option for Navigation
In the past, if you wanted Honda's factory navigation system you had to pay up for the highest trim level. That's still the case, but there is now a second option. Owners of an iPhone 5 can now use their phone to deliver the functionality of a factory system directly to the main dash screen.
It's not free, however, since it requires a $59 navigation app and a $100 adapter to connect the iPhone 5's lightning connector to the car's USB and HDMI ports. There are other, free HondaLink apps as well that provide additional functionality. Unfortunately, it's iPhone 5 or nothing right now, but Honda says it's working on a similar setup for Android phones.
Downloading the apps (there are four in total as of now) is a quick process. To use any of them, the phone has to be on and running the app; if you turn off the iPhone or switch it to another app, it stops streaming information and visuals to the car's screen.
When using it as a navigation system, entering a destination through the car's screen is a quick process and turn-by-turn directions are timely. It'll get you where you want to go. However, it's not as elegantly executed as the fully integrated system and we found some glitches.
For instance, if you're listening to music through your phone, the nav directions will interrupt the song and will not restart it. There's no play/pause button, so you're left to skip back or forward to get the tunes flowing again.
Such are the limitations of the current setup, but since it's all driven off Honda's app, future updates are just a quick download away. And don't forget, the whole setup only costs $159 as opposed to the factory system that requires you to pony up an extra $3,150 for the EX-L with navigation trim.
The Rest Carries Over, and That's Fine
You'll note by this point that we really haven't mentioned the rest of the car. That's because the Honda Civic otherwise carries over into 2014 as the same compact sedan that ranked highly enough last year to be considered a segment best alongside the Kia Forte and Mazda 3.
The cabin remains fastidiously put together using materials that, although not superior to the competition, are certainly in the same neighborhood. In particular, the remaining switchgear that hasn't been replaced by the touchscreen moves with an expensive-feeling fluidity. Those same controls are also commendably easy to reach and use.
The driver seat could still use some additional aft travel and tilt adjustment, but the rest of the airy interior provides enough space for full-size adults in all outboard positions. The 12.5-cubic-foot trunk is average in size, but has a wide opening. The windows are big, the A-pillars are thin, and not only is a rearview camera standard on all Civics, but the Accord's LaneWatch blind-spot camera is now included on the Civic EX and above.
Still Great To Drive
Behind the wheel, the 2014 Honda Civic continues to impress. The ride is truly a benchmark for its balance of comfort and control, with a suspension that shucks off midcorner bumps and undulations that knock other cars completely out of whack.
And although not as involving or sporty as the Mazda 3, there is an engagement provided by the Civic's steering, throttle and brakes that just feels right, whether you're simply puttering around town or slicing through our slalom course, which the Civic managed at a respectable 64.3 mph. In the realm of driving "feel," the Civic is still yards ahead of many other sedans in the class.
Its braking ability has improved as well. Changes to the ABS programming shaved 6 feet off its stop from 60 mph. Its distance of 118 feet is not only improved, but now among the best in the segment. Better still, the Civic no longer suffers from excessive brake fade after multiple stops.
Things Are New, but Is It Improved?
For the most part, the changes made to the 2014 Honda Civic do add up to improvement. How much so largely depends on how you get along with the new CVT and touchscreen interface, but it's certainly hard to argue with improved fuel economy, better stopping distances and an increase in equipment. Better still, our $21,880 Civic EX test car costs only $225 more than the equivalent 2013 version.
Beyond comparisons to its past self, that price represents a value proposition that surprisingly lines up from a dollars-to-equipment perspective with the Kia Forte: a car considered to be a smart, budget-friendly purchase. The Civic may not be available with the same number of high-end extras as the Forte is (or Mazda 3, for that matter), but around the volume-selling $20,000 mark, Honda has delivered a car that checks off most boxes.
It most certainly ain't broke. Perhaps Honda could take next year off.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas Overview
The Used 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas is offered in the following styles: Natural Gas w/Leather and Navigation 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), and Natural Gas 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A).
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