Highs Zesty handling, accommodating cabin, plenty of models and prices to choose from.
Lows Polarizing exterior design, not as efficient as some rivals, too-basic standard warranty.
Verdict Its fun-to-drive nature and focus on practicality makes the Honda Civic a compact car we're happy to recommend.
Once mere basic transportation, the humble Honda Civic has blossomed into a desirable and fun-to-drive compact car. Available as either a sedan or a practical hatchback, the Civic is powered by your choice of a 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.5-liter that makes up to 180 horsepower. Honda loads up its smallest car with plenty of standard driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Oddly, modern infotainment features aren't standard; the base LX model comes with a tiny touchscreen that offers radio tuning and not much else. The base model notwithstanding, the Civic is a compact car that should satisfy most buyers and a reason it earned a spot on our Editors' Choice list. If you're seeking something with a spicier flavor, we'd suggest the 205-hp Civic Si or the 306-hp Civic Type R (both reviewed separately).
What's New for 2021?
There's no easy way to say this: The Civic's coupe body style is dead after the 2020 model year. The sedan and hatchback models live on, but Honda is planning an all-new Civic for the 2022 model year. We expect to see that debut in spring 2021.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
LX Sedan: $22,245
Sport Sedan: $24,045
EX Sedan: $25,395
EX-L Sedan: $26,595
Touring Sedan: $29,295
Sport Touring Hatchback: $29,595
Our favorite version of the Honda Civic is the Sport hatchback. Not only does it come standard with a manual transmission, it's also more spacious than the sedan and comes with a slightly more powerful, 180-hp version of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is optional on those models. Going with the Sport over the base LX also unlocks a load of equipment, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, an eight-speaker stereo system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, push-button start, fog lamps, and a rear-seat fold-down armrest.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Civic's four-cylinder engines are peppy, with the pricier—but more powerful—turbocharged version earning our preference. It's a terrific engine. In our testing, it eagerly pulled our Civic Touring test car away from stoplights. While we prefer the light and crisp action of the six-speed manual to the optional continuously variable automatic transmission, the CVT is by no means a poor partner—in fact, it's one of the best on the market. A true jack-of-all-trades, the Civic strikes a great balance between comfort and driver engagement. Its smooth ride, responsive steering, and athletic driving dynamics make it a joy to pilot. Neither cushy nor harsh, the Civic's ride quality is just right. Quick, well weighted, and surprisingly feelsome steering makes the Civic that much more enjoyable to pilot. Those looking for even sportier vibes should consider the Sport versions, which feature quicker steering. Despite possessing a firm brake pedal with good feel, the brakes lack the stopping prowess of competitors.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Honda proves that power and fuel efficiency need not be mutually exclusive. Both Civic four-cylinders sip fuel as frugally as if it were fifty-bucks-a-snifter brandy, but, interestingly, the more powerful turbocharged engine manages to return slightly better fuel economy than the base 2.0-liter found in lower-level Civic sedans. Unfortunately, the Civic's fuel economy failed to pan out in our real-world highway fuel-economy test. Our turbo Civic Touring sedan scored just shy of the EPA's rating. Furthermore, we eked out 37 mpg from a six-speed manual Civic Sport hatchback—2 mpg less than the EPA number.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Practical and modern in appearance, the Civic's interior is roomy and offers sufficient storage space. Even the entry-level model is far from a penalty box. While it doesn't offer the most optional comfort-and-convenience equipment in the compact class, it has enough of the good stuff for any small-car shopper. The interior of both the sedan and hatchback is on the roomier end of its class. The Civic has a number of cleverly designed storage cubbies throughout its cabin, and the sedan's trunk is one of the biggest in the class. Need even more cargo-carrying capability?
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Honda's touchscreen interface is much improved thanks to the addition of a long-awaited volume knob for the audio system and hard buttons for certain functions.
Read More https://www.caranddriver.com/honda/civic-2021