Overview: Today’s Honda Civic remains conservative at its core, with dressy styling and a spacious if somewhat space-age interior. It comes in sedan and coupe body styles with an array of four-cylinder engines, including a 140-hp base engine, a 201-hp engine in Si models, a hybrid, and even a natural-gas-powered version. Factoring in its stellar safety record, the Civic is a sensible bet in every respect.
Instrumented Test 2013 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan
2014 (2014 Ninth Generation, 2012Present)
The Civic carries over largely unchanged following the refresh Honda rushed to market for the 2013 model year. Base coupe and sedan models are powered by a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder mated to antiquated five-speed manual and automatic transmissions and front-wheel drive. Thus equipped, no Civic is terribly stirring to drive.
The Civic HF sedan adds some tweaks to squeak in at 29 mpg city and 41 highway.
As with prior generations, the Civic sedan is offered as a hybrid, which combines a gas engine with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. Fuel economy rises to an EPA-rated 44 mpg in both city and highway driving; in our hands it averaged 38 mpg. We find the hybrid predictably slow but are generally pleased with the handling updates Honda gave it in 2013.
Another green option is the Civic CNG (compressed natural gas), ready to serve its small but loyal group of devotees. Even though the Civic CNG’s per-mile operating costs are lower than the gas-powered version’s, its leisurely acceleration, harsher ride, and steep price represent serious demerits.
The Civic Si is a bone Honda throws at the sport-compact crowd. Available as a coupe or sedan with a dropped suspension, six-speed manual transmission, large wheels, tarted-up styling, and 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-banger, the Si is quite entertaining. Fuel economy drops considerably, but so do acceleration times.
2012: The ninth-generation Civic lands with a thud, masking its many refinements under boring sheetmetal. Standard Civics are powered by a carry-over 140-hp, 1.8-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. Gasoline, hybrid, and natural-gas-powered versions are offered, as are a 201-hp Si coupe and sedan. 2013 . A mid-cycle face lift arrives two years early as a result of bad press, bringing classier styling front and back and myriad refinements to the chassis and interior.
Crash structure allows Civic to pass Insurance Institute of Highway Safety offset crash test with flying colors.
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