2018 Honda Civic

2018 Honda Civic Review

One of our favorite small cars, the Honda Civic impresses with its character, content and practicality.
8.4 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

It's hard to overstate how much we like the 2018 Honda Civic. Equipped with the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it's one of the best cars in its class for delivering both impressive acceleration and high fuel economy. Inside, it has plenty of room for passengers, clever storage solutions and more cargo space than most competitors in any body style. It also offers technology features that put some other compact cars to shame and safety ratings that are among the best.

Available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, in a variety of powertrains, the Civic has a version for every niche, and all of them are good. Want more sauce? There's the sportier Civic Si, as well as the absolutely bananas Civic Type R. Just as impressive, neither one sacrifices the qualities we love about the standard variants.

The Civic does have some weaknesses. The infotainment interface is far from the easiest system to use, and the available forward collision alert system is prone to overreaction. Also, though cargo volume is good, the sloping rear glass of the hatchback and deck of the sedan mean that taller or bulkier items can sometimes be hard to fit.

There are competitors with specific strengths that make them worth checking out. The Mazda 3 is engaging to drive and, in higher trims, offers a near-luxury cabin. The Subaru Impreza, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, and the value-packed Kia Forte also merit consideration. Overall, though, the Civic wins the day with its multitude of strengths.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Honda Civic Si as one of Edmunds' Best Sport Sedans for this year.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, Honda has tinkered with the availability of certain features. Overall, though, the Civic is unchanged.

We recommend

For mainstream Civic buyers, we think the extra power and fuel economy of the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine make it one of the Civic's best options. To that end, we recommend the EX-T sedan or EX hatchback. Both add a touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity, an upgraded sound system, dual-zone climate control, proximity entry with push-button start and Honda's LaneWatch camera, all of which improve day-to-day satisfaction. There's nothing wrong with the base LX, but we think the upgrades are worth the money.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Honda Civic is a compact car offered as a sedan, coupe or hatchback. The sedan is available in six different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, Touring and Si. There are also three hatchback-specific trims — Sport, Sport Touring and Type R — and one coupe-specific trim, LX-P.

Note that the following trim level feature info primarily relates to the sedan. The coupe and hatchback are similarly equipped but can vary slightly in certain instances.

Though it may be the base trim, the standard Civic LX sedan comes with a lot of equipment for the money. Standard equipment highlights include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque), a six-speed manual transmission (a continuously variable automatic transmission is also available), front-wheel drive, 16-inch steel wheels, LED running lights, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, automatic climate control and a height-adjustable driver seat. Electronics features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port.

Optional for just about every Civic is the Honda Sensing safety package. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

In the Civic Hatchback, the LX trim comes with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine (174 horsepower, 167 lb-ft of torque), while the coupe-only LX-P trim comes standard with the 2.0-liter engine, the CVT automatic, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and remote start.

The hatchback-specific Sport comes with the LX equipment plus a more powerful version of the turbocharged engine (180 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque), 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a center-outlet dual exhaust, aerodynamic bodywork, a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The Honda Civic EX sedan builds off the base LX, adding the CVT as standard along with a sunroof, alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a rear center armrest with cupholders, an eight-speaker audio system with dual USB ports, Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry with remote start, and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with satellite radio, HondaLink, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration (including app-based navigation).

Stepping up to the EX-T sedan gets you the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Thanks to impressive acceleration and big fuel economy numbers (up to 32 mpg city), the turbocharged four-cylinder is enough reason alone to buy an EX-T Civic or above if you're opting for the sedan. But the EX-T also adds 17-inch wheels, foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats. For the coupe, the EX-T gets an upgraded 10-speaker stereo system. The EX hatchback is equipped similarly to the EX-T sedan, lacking only the sedan's heated front seats.

Right near the top of the heap is the EX-L sedan, which gets leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An integrated navigation system is available as an option.

The hatchback-only Sport Touring essentially builds off the regular Sport trim and adds different 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats and a 12-speaker audio system. Also standard is the Honda Sensing safety package.

The Touring trim level (for the sedan and coupe) essentially comes with the same equipment as the Sport Touring hatchback noted above, but the stereo has 10 speakers instead of 12.

The Si is a midlevel performance version of the Civic that comes as a coupe or sedan, both with a more powerful version of the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (205 hp, 192 pound-feet of torque). A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered. Standard equipment is similar to what Honda has on the EX-T trim, but you also get a sport-tuned multilink suspension with adaptive dampers, bigger front brakes, a limited-slip front differential, a unique rear spoiler, Si branded seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 10-speaker stereo, and a unique instrument panel with faux carbon-fiber surfaces.

For detailed Civic Si information and driving impressions, please read our First Drive Si review.

At the top of the performance ladder for the Civic is the hatchback-only Type R. It is equipped much like the Sport Touring trim level, but it gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (306 hp, 285 lb-ft). Like the Si, it is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. Other additions include 20-inch wheels with high-performance tires, bigger front and rear brakes, a massive rear wing, a Type R-specific suspension with adaptive dampers, and special interior and exterior styling enhancements. 

You can also learn more about the new Type R in our First Drive Type R review.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Honda Civic Touring Sedan (turbo 1.5L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Honda Civic has received some revisions, including the introduction of performance-oriented trim levels and minor adjustments to features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Honda Civic.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.4 / 10

Driving

8.5 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking9.0 / 10
Steering9.0 / 10
Handling9.0 / 10
Drivability8.5 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort9.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Roominess9.0 / 10
Visibility8.5 / 10
Quality9.5 / 10

Utility

8.0 / 10

Small-item storage9.0 / 10
Cargo space8.0 / 10

Driving8.5

The available 1.5-liter turbo-four is unusual in its sound and power delivery for a Honda engine, but it offers best-in-class power and fuel economy. It's worth the extra money. All around, the Civic's driving performance is top-notch, with strong brakes and accurate steering.

Acceleration8.5

The Civic feels strong when you roll onto the gas to execute a pass and quick at city speeds thanks to ample low-end power. The strong 1.5-liter turbocharged engine accelerates like few others in the class as it pulls seamlessly to cruising speed, with an outstanding 0-60-mph time of 6.7 seconds.

Braking9.0

Whether it's a casual suburban stop or heavy braking at a surprise red light, stops are sure and straight with a firm pedal that's easy to modulate. In our emergency braking test, the Civic posted slightly better than average stopping distances.

Steering9.0

Steering is precise, with consistent, natural-feeling weighting. The variable-ratio system combines supreme steadiness when cruising straight with quick reflexes in corners and tight turning in parking lots. Feedback through the thick-rimmed wheel is very good for the class.

Handling9.0

Body roll is controlled, and quick transitions are handled nicely, inspiring driver confidence. It feels playful, and there's lots of freedom and control for the driver — the well-tuned stability system doesn't quash the fun. For more enthusiastic driving, try the Si or Type R.

Drivability8.5

Honda's CVT simulates shifts under hard acceleration, but it is otherwise very smooth, eliminating shift shock and transmission indecisiveness because it never shifts in the traditional sense. Throttle pedal action is smooth and predictable, and the Civic is easy to drive.

Comfort8.0

The Civic has a lot of the Accord's strengths but in a smaller package. The seats are comfortable and supportive without being too aggressive. The ride is smooth and controlled without being too cushy. Road noise and engine sound are never far away, but neither is enough to be distracting.

Seat comfort9.0

An available eight-way power driver seat offers a huge range of motion, making it suitable for drivers of varying heights. There's a good balance of give and support, and the seats remain comfortable on longer drives. The back seat is comfy as well and doesn't feel like an afterthought.

Ride comfort8.0

The Civic rides like a bigger, more refined car. As in a German car, you feel road imperfections, but impacts are very well damped. Big undulations, especially midcorner, are handled with impeccable control and betray not one iota of float. The coupe feels fractionally firmer and sportier.

Noise & vibration6.5

The turbocharged engine has a very un-Honda-like growl to it and the CVT causes a light drone when accelerating. Otherwise, wind and road noise is kept in check, becoming more noticeable over coarse surfaces. There are quieter choices, but this Civic improves a good deal on previous generations.

Climate control

The dual-zone automatic climate control does a good job of regulating the temperature with even coverage from the vents. You'll have to occasionally adjust the setting between sunny and cloudy conditions, but only by a few degrees. Full manual control requires interacting with the touchscreen.

Interior8.5

The Civic delivers a large, versatile cabin for both people and their things, with good rear legroom and clever storage solutions. The easy-to-use interior control layout is marred by terrible touch-sensitive audio volume and tuning controls and a poorly optimized touchscreen interface.

Ease of use7.5

Primary controls are well placed and won't require the driver to adjust how they're used. There are a lot of functions at your command, but the simple design makes them approachable. The lack of a volume knob is a source of constant frustration.

Getting in/getting out8.0

Up front the Civic offers easy access through light doors with large openings. The rear doors open wide, making it easy to climb in, but there's more of a sloped roof than before, so be mindful of your head. Rear access in the coupe is best on the passenger side, with its foot-operated seat release.

Driving position

The driver's seat is well-proportioned for the average-size driver. Anyone taller than 5-foot-10 may need to compromise because the steering wheel might not telescope far back enough and the short cushions will leave thighs somewhat unsupported.

Roominess9.0

The Civic is spacious up front, offering plenty of headroom even with the sunroof. In the back, a 6-foot-tall rear passenger will have sufficient legroom behind a like-heighted driver but will wish for more headroom.

Visibility8.5

There's good visibility out the front and side windows, thanks in part to front pillars that aren't too thick. The sloping roof impinges on the rear three-quarter view, but large side mirrors, a rearview camera and Honda's LaneWatch camera take the guesswork out of almost all maneuvers.

Quality9.5

Construction is tight and solid inside and out, so even though there's quite a bit of plastic around the cabin, everything feels well-built. On higher trims a number of surfaces, especially major touch points, are covered in higher-quality materials, which elevate the interior feel.

Utility8.0

We use words like clever and thoughtful to describe Honda's handling of cargo and personal effects. Despite the rather small footprint, the Civic's trunk maximizes available cargo capacity. Interior pockets and bins are generous, and a few extra touches earn it bonus points.

Small-item storage9.0

There are plenty of clever pockets and trays to hold your personal items. A cord management system keeps phone cables neatly tucked away, and there's a secondary USB port in the deep center armrest bin.

Cargo space8.0

The sedan's 15.1-cubic-foot trunk is larger than those of most competitors, and the low liftover height makes for easy loading and unloading. The hatchback offers 25.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a maximum of 46.2 cubic feet, though the sloping rear window can get in the way of bulky cargo.

Child safety seat accommodation7.0

LATCH anchors are marked in the rear seats, but it takes a little digging to access them. The over-the-top anchor is clearly indicated behind those seats and easily accessed under a plastic cover. The wide-opening rear doors help make installation easier.

Technology

Tech is one of the Civic's weaknesses. The infotainment system is one of the more difficult to use, and were it not for the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it could be a deal-breaker. Add the overly sensitive safety features and it's clear Honda has some ground to make up in this area.

Audio & navigation

A lot of functions are built into the infotainment system, but it's not the easiest or most responsive unit to use. The lack of a volume knob and the inclusion of capacitive "buttons" are significant drawbacks and the source of unnecessary distraction. Map graphics also look dated.

Smartphone integration

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard and provide familiar interfaces that are better than Honda's. The texting function is particularly helpful and greatly reduces the distraction factor. Occasional glitches between Honda's system and Apple CarPlay were noted.

Driver aids

False alarms from the overly sensitive frontal collision system are common and become tiresome very quickly. You can adjust the sensitivity, but even in its least intrusive mode it's still a problem. The LaneWatch blind-spot camera is sometimes more of a distraction than a help.

Voice control

Honda's system requires more steps and a less natural speech pattern to operate than some competing systems, though it does provide an onscreen guide. We tended to rely on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto voice commands as much as possible.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.