2018 Civic New Car Test Drive
This latest generation of the Honda Civic is an outstanding compact car, available in sedan, coupe, and hatchback versions.
The Honda Civic is an institution, part of American life for 50 mostly successful years. In 2015 it was getting boring and slow, and for 2016 it was totally redesigned. This latest Civic sedan is three inches longer and two inches wider than the previous-generation model, nearly as big as a midsize Chrysler 200. The Civic was a contender again.
The sedan was followed later in the year by a coupe.
For 2017, the hatchback arrived, back to where it belongs. The 2017 Civic Hatchback brings the Civic full circle, to the very first one. Except hatchbacks sure aren't shaped like they used to be. This one looks more like a coupe.
Soon you can get a big wing on the back, with the Type R hatch. It will be the first time the Type R has been offered in the U.S.
The Civic in its upscale models feels more like a premium car than an economy car. The sedan has a smooth ride and general feeling of refinement. It isn't sporty but it handles well, and the brakes are smooth, and easy to modulate. It's calm.
The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower, about the same as a Mazda3, isn't thrilling. It comes with either a 6-speed manual transmission on LX models that we really like, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that isn't new, doesn't have paddle shifters and is less than thrilling.
Fuel economy with the manual gearbox is EPA-rated at 31 mpg Combined, while the CVT rates 35 mpg.
You'll get the same mileage and have more fun with the quicker and more responsive 1.5-liter turbocharged engine making 174 horsepower. It has a better CVT, as well.
With three roof styles, two powertrains, and four main models, the combinations are bewildering.
Sedans come in LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring models. Civic LX ($18,740) comes standard with 2.0-liter engine, manual transmission, rearview camera, electronic parking brake, Bluetooth, five-inch touchscreen, and 160-watt audio. Heated leather seats are available along with a more powerful sound system with HD satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
Civic EX-L ($23,800) is available with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and CVT. Civic Touring ($26,600) gets the HondaSensing safety suite, navigation, LED headlamps and 450-watt audio. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Coupes come in LX ($19,150), LX-P ($20,950), EX-T ($21,600), EX-L ($23,525), and Touring ($26,225). Civic Si Coupe ($23,900) uses the 1.5-liter engine with more turbocharger boost to make 205 horsepower, with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Hatchbacks come in LX ($19,700), Sport ($21,300), EX ($22,800), EX-L Navi ($25,300), and Sport Touring ($28,300).
Civic Type R hatchback ($33,900) features a 2.0-liter VTEC turbocharged engine.