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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2018 Honda Civic
Comfortable, dependable and, seemingly everywhere, the Honda Civic has endured for 10 generations, equally at home on city, suburban and country roads.
The versatile compact car comes in a mind-boggling mix of styles, trims, and powertrains. First pick a body — sedan, hatchback, or coupe — and then choose from nearly half a dozen trim levels boasting varying degrees of luxury. A standard 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine powers the sedan and coupe, while the hatchback gets a zippy, turbocharged, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 174 horsepower. The Civic also offers a choice between a six-speed manual transmission on some trims or a continuously variable automatic transmission. A pair of high-performance models, the Si and the Type R, come standard as manuals and ratchet output to 205 and 306 horsepower, respectively.
Inside, the five-passenger Civic is hailed for its head- and legroom in both rows, although taller passengers sitting in the back may not be as comfortable. (The Type R seats four.) The interior boasts abundant cargo space and can be outfitted in a range of materials, from cloth to leather. Bluetooth, a 5-inch display screen, and a USB port come standard. Upgrade for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, and navigation, but note that the optional 7-inch touch screen can be finicky and slow to respond.
The Civic received stellar safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Honda Sensing, the automaker’s package of advanced safety features, includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. It comes standard on higher trims and costs an additional $1,000 for lower trims.
Sedans equipped with the manual transmission deliver 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The automatic transmission lifts city mpg slightly. The turbocharged engine with automatic transmission achieves 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
The 2018 Honda Civic sedan starts at $18,840. Coupe and hatchback models start at $19,250 and $20,050, respectively.
What the experts are saying
“The Honda Civic is one of our favorite compact cars, especially when equipped with the turbocharged, 1.5-liter engine. With this engine, the Civic is one of the fastest cars in the class and gets some of the best mpg ratings. The seats are comfortable; there’s a surprising amount of rear legroom; and the quality of the materials is better than ever. We also appreciate that the Civic is available as a sedan, hatchback, or coupe, and comes in variants such as the Si and Type R that are great fun to drive. Our biggest complaints are the annoying infotainment interface and frustrating voice controls, which are problems at least partially remedied by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Taller passengers may also find rear headroom lacking. But even though there’s a lot of stiff competition in the compact car segment, the Civic is one of the best.” – Will Kaufman, associate staff writer, Edmunds
Fun for all
“The Honda Civic is like the automotive definition of ‘ubiquitous’: They’re everywhere, and everyone seems to have one. You’re just as likely to see a college student driving one as you are a pensioner. Excellent resale value, fun driving dynamics (even in LX and EX models), and good fuel economy seal the deal for most shoppers who are on the ‘more for less’ spending plan. Plus, there’s the crazy-quick, high-performance Type R as well as the more grown up Si. Reasons not to get a Civic: You hate saving money, fancy yourself an aristocrat, or you have a desperate need to stand out. Thankfully, for the ‘need to stand out’ thing we have therapy, for everyone else we have the Honda Civic.” – Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader.com
“The 2018 Honda Civic is a good performer across the board in IIHS crashworthiness tests. The Civic also does well in tests that measure the performance of available technology that can prevent some kinds of crashes altogether. When equipped with its optional automatic emergency braking system, part of the Honda Sensing package, the Civic earns a superior rating for front crash prevention. Where the Civic falls short is that its headlights don’t do a good job helping drivers see at night. Both of the Civic’s available headlight systems are rated poor in our tests. Half of all serious crashes happen in the dark or at dawn or dusk, so headlights are an important crash avoidance feature. If you do a lot driving at night, you may want to look at other small cars that earn our Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick designation because they get good or acceptable ratings for headlights.” – Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety