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2017 Honda Civic: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

This is what you call the class leader. The 2017 Honda Civic checks off virtually every box as a compact sedan, while adding coupe and now hatchback body styles for good measure that do just the same. It is powerful and efficient, its cabin is spacious and premium, its feature content is generous, and its driving experience strikes a great balance between comfort and driver involvement. There's also the matter of Honda's superior reliability and resale value to sweeten the pot.

For 2017 it's also bolstered by that hatchback body style that includes a little extra sportiness by way of a European-tuned suspension and special styling. The only thing that's missing in the Civic lineup now are the high-performance Si and Type-R models that are on their way, likely within a calendar year. So, if you're in the market for a compact car, the Civic needs to be on your test-drive list.

What's New for 2017?

After the sedan and coupe were completely redesigned, a new 4-door hatchback model joins the Civic lineup. Besides its different cargo area, it has a sportier suspension and a special Sport trim level. Read 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback vs. Civic Sedan: What's the Difference?

What We Like

Spacious and high-quality cabin; best-in-class power and fuel efficiency with turbo engine; refined ride and handling; three body styles

What We Don't

Frustrating touchscreen interface; hyper-sensitive forward-collision warning

How Much?

$19,500-$27,500

Fuel Economy

The 2017 Civic is offered with two engines. Base models use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Although optional, most Civic sedans you'll find on a lot will come with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that contributes to fuel economy estimates of 31 miles per gallon in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg in combined driving. The standard 6-speed manual is lower by 2 mpg combined. The coupe models are typically 1 mpg combined lower than the equivalent sedans.

Standard on the EX-T trim level and above, along with every hatchback, is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque (180 hp, 177 lb-ft with Civic Sport). Despite its greater power, this engine returns better fuel economy, at 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy/36 mpg combined in a CVT-equipped sedan. The 6-speed manual drops fuel economy by 1 mpg combined. The coupe is 1 mpg combined lower than the equivalent sedan, while the hatchback is 2 mpg combined lower.

Standard Features & Options

The Civic sedan comes in five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L and Touring. The coupe adds an LX-P trim in place of the EX. The hatchback can be had in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and Sport Touring.

The LX ($18,700 sedan; $19,200 coupe; $19,700 hatchback) offers 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, a backup camera, a height-adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth, a USB port and a 4-speaker sound system. The hatchback comes standard with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine.

The LX-P coupe ($21,000) adds a sunroof and passive entry with keyless start.

The Sport hatchback ($21,300) adds a more powerful version of the turbocharged engine, 18-in wheels, fog lights, a center-mounted exhaust port, special exterior styling and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The EX ($21,100 sedan; $22,800 hatchback) adds to the LX's equipment a sunroof, heated mirrors, passive entry and keyless start, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, a 7-in touchscreen, an extra USB port, an 8-speaker sound system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The hatchback reverts to the standard engine tune, 16-in wheels and styling.

Above that is the EX-T ($21,500 sedan; $21,600 coupe), which adds to the EX the turbocharged engine, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, satellite radio and HD Radio. The EX-T coupe includes a 10-speaker sound system.

Next up is the EX-L ($23,800 sedan; $23,525 coupe; $25,300 hatchback), which adds a standard CVT, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an 8-way power driver's seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The hatchback includes a navigation system that is optional on the EX-L sedan.

The Touring ($26,600 sedan; $26,200 coupe) adds 18-in wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers and a 4-way power passenger seat and the navigation system. The sedan further adds heated rear seats and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Sport Touring hatchback ($28,300) combines the regular Sport trims' wheels, styling, exhaust and engine tune with all the Touring's trim equipment. It also has a 12-speaker sound system.

Also standard on the Touring trims but optional on all other trim levels is the Honda Sensing package, which includes forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control, along with a navigation system, LED headlights, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat, a 10-speaker sound system and automatic wipers.

Safety

The 2017 Civic comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front airbags, front side airbags, full-length side airbags and a rearview camera. Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera comes standard on the EX trim level and higher (EX-T on the coupe). Available on every trim level is the Honda Sensing package, consisting of forward-collision warning and automatic braking and lane-departure warning and keeping.

In government crash tests, the Civic sedan and hatchback received a perfect five stars in every crash category. The coupe fell short in only its 4-star frontal score. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Civic sedan and coupe Top Safety Picks for their top Good scores in all crash categories and Superior frontal crash-prevention system scores.

Behind the Wheel

The Civic typically feels like a more premium, sophisticated car from behind the wheel. It's much quieter than past Civics, and it demonstrates an impressively comfortable ride quality. Its direct steering is also worthy of praise, and although the Civic isn't quite as sharp or enjoyable to drive as the Mazda3, it nevertheless strikes a great balance between comfort and driver involvement. The hatchback errs a bit more on the side of handling due to its standard sport-tuned suspension, but it's still quite comfortable.

Although the Civic's base engine is perfectly capable and efficient, the turbocharged engine is absolutely worth the extra cost. Not only does it deliver best-in-class acceleration, but it returns best-in-class fuel economy as well. Its noise and response are fundamentally different depending on transmission, however. The CVT keeps the engine in its torque-rich sweet spot around 3,000 rpm, making it a little gruff and growly. With the manual, you spend less time in that rpm range as you make your way through the gears, giving you the mechanical zing of higher revs we've come to expect from Honda. The manual is also one of the easiest to drive in any car.

Inside, the Civic continues to impress with its top-notch quality -- even on the base trim levels -- and a relatively enormous cabin. Even the coupe, which was previously cramped and unpleasant in the back, can accommodate four average-size adults. The new hatchback also benefits from one of the larger cargo areas in its segment, although its sloped tailgate can make bulkier items a little less likely to fit. Regardless of body style, though, we love the Civic's clever, configurable front center console, which can stow all sorts of items big and small.

Its technology isn't quite as strong, however. The base radio, which consists of simple buttons and knobs, works quite well but is lacking in feature content. The 7-in touchscreen found on most trim levels is chalk-full of content but frustrates with its menu structure, small virtual icons and lack of supporting physical buttons and a volume knob.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Mazda3 -- The Mazda3 is the Civic's top competitor. Nothing else really comes close to matching its well-rounded mix of talents. Its fuel-efficient engines, sharp driving dynamics and handsome styling inside and out are top consideration points.

2017 Hyundai Elantra -- The new-for-2017 Elantra boasts classy styling, improved refinement and the typical Hyundai virtues of abundant feature content for the money and an industry-best warranty.

2017 Kia Forte -- The Forte is the only other compact car available in sedan, coupe and hatchback body styles. It offers a similar range of talents to the Elantra, especially in regards to value.

Used Honda Accord -- If you like the Civic's equipment, features and dependability, but you need more interior room, you'll probably want to consider an Accord. The larger Honda touts many of the same benefits, but it's priced higher, so you may need to find a used example.

Autotrader's Advice

We can't recommend the superb turbocharged engine enough, so that means our recommendation begins with the EX-T sedan and coupe (every hatchback already includes it). That trim should also give you everything you really need, plus plenty of niceties like a sunroof, satellite radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Find a Honda Civic for sale

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Used 2017 Honda Civic LX Sedan
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Used 2017 Honda Civic EX Hatchback
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Honda Civic: New Car Review - Autotrader