2011 Civic Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Honda Civic is a benchmark in the compact class, noted for its reliability. A wide range of models is available. They're easy to drive, with ample windows that provide outstanding outward visibility.
We found ride quality in the Civic solid but not overly firm, with less road noise and wind whistle than is common for the class. The stiff chassis gives the Civic a solid and planted feel, with impressive stability and responsive steering, while the relatively long wheelbase smoothes the ride. Inside, the Civic is pleasant, attractive and inviting. Bluetooth and navigation are available.
Safety features include side-impact airbags as standard equipment. Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability control comes on the Civic EX-L, Hybrid, and Si models.
The 2011 Honda Civic comes in coupe and sedan versions. Civic DX, LX, and EX models share a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a choice of 5-speed manual transmission or 5-speed automatic. We found the Civic LX sedan the most comfortable model. The DX is relatively basic, while the EX is more plush.
The sporty Civic Si coupe and sedan share a 197-horsepower engine, 6-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, and supportive sport seats.
The Civic Hybrid sedan is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with a permanent magnet electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. The Hybrid model features dramatically reduced emissions, and it delivers an EPA-rated 40/43 mpg City/Highway.
The Civic GX sedan uses natural gas for fuel. Natural gas is available to residents of California, New York, Utah and Oklahoma and is used by fleets elsewhere.
For 2011 the Honda Civic line remains essentially unchanged. Its styling was last freshened in 2009, after a total redesign for the 2006 model year.
The 2011 Honda Civic DX coupe ($15,605) and sedan ($15,805) come with power windows, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and fold-down rear seatback. The coupe gets a rear decklid spoiler. Buyers wanting a radio must supply their own or order from the dealer, but a rear window-integrated radio antenna is standard. Brakes are disc in front, drum in rear. The P195/65R15 tires are on steel wheels with full wheelcovers. The Civic DX-VP sedan ($16,555) adds air conditioning, a four-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary input jack, CD text display, and speed-sensitive volume control.
The Civic LX coupe ($17,555) and sedan ($17,755) add cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls; power door locks with keyless entry; center console with sliding armrest; overhead map lights; express up/down for the driver's power window; and P205/55R16 tires. The sedan comes with a four-speaker stereo (same as DX-VP), but the coupe has a six-speaker system, and also a rear-seat walk-in feature that remembers the front passenger seat's setting. The Civic LX-S sedan ($18,355) upgrades to alloy wheels, exclusive sport-trimmed black cloth seats with synthetic suede bolsters and silver stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear deck spoiler, and a chrome exhaust tip. A 5-speed automatic ($800) is optional.
The Civic EX coupe and sedan ($19,605) skip some of the LX-S model's fancy trim but add a power moonroof; variable-speed intermittent windshield wipers; a second 12-volt power outlet; a 60/40 split folding rear seatback; and outside temperature indicator. The steering wheel adds audio controls; while the keyless remote adds a trunk release button. Brakes upgrade to four-wheel discs. The sedan's stereo adds two speakers (for a total of six); while the coupe gets a 350-watt, seven-speaker system; both get a USB interface. Both EX models are also available with automatic transmission, XM Satellite Radio, and voice-recognition Navigation ($22,405).
The Civic EX-L coupe and sedan ($21,955) add leather seats with seat heaters, leather-trimmed steering wheel and armrest, heated mirrors, and Vehicle Stability Assist and Brake Assist. Both models are available with the automatic transmission, XM and Navigation ($23,955).
The Civic Si coupe ($22,205) and sedan ($22,405) are performance models, powered by a 197-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. They come only with a 6-speed manual transmission. Other go-fast goodies include a limited-slip differential, sports suspension, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, and P215/45VR17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. Fog lights come standard. Inside are synthetic suede sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an aluminum shift knob. Both coupe and sedan get the 350-watt, seven-speaker stereo. Packages include high-performance tires for the coupe ($22,405) and sedan ($22,605); plus XM and navigation ($24,205 and $24,405).
The Civic Hybrid sedan ($23,950) features a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), automatic climate control, a roof-mounted radio antenna, a rear decklid spoiler, and hybrid-pertinent digital data displays. Vehicle Stability Assist comes standard. The Hybrid is available with the navigation system and XM Satellite Radio ($25,950) and with a leather interior ($25,150) including heated front seats and side mirrors, or with the leather package, navigation, and XM ($27,150).
The Civic GX ($25,490) is essentially an LX sedan with a 1.8-liter engine powered by natural gas. It comes only with a 5-speed automatic transmission.