2017 Honda Civic Sedan Review: Tough to beat

– Cleveland, Ohio

The Honda Civic is in a class ahead of its compact car competitors, most of which are cheap to make and cheap to buy. The Civic, though, is a grown-up’s car priced so even a graduate student can afford one. From its sharp design to its refined powertrain to its fun handling, it aspires to be more than merely A-to-B transportation, and largely succeeds.

 

 

Pros

Split personality. I don’t expect compact cars to be genuinely fun to drive, so it’s pleasantly surprising the Civic is. The balance Honda has struck between a comfortable ride and engaging handling is ideal and feels almost German compared to the basic driving dynamics of a compact competitor like the Toyota Corolla. A grandma could be as comfortable driving the Civic as her grandson would be impressed by its handling.

Powertrain plus. The Honda Civic I tested was a top trim level Touring model that comes with an optional turbocharged, 1.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine producing 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission. What, a CVT in the Pro column? Honda did a great job creating a powertrain from these two components that’s powerful, refined, and efficient, more so in each case than nearly every competitor. The engine produces little vibration and sounds like it’s three cars away, while the CVT barely makes its presence known. It’s quiet, unobtrusive, and results in real benefits at the pump.

Impressive MPG. The Civic’s fuel economy ratings are ...