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2018 Honda Civic: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2018

Looking for a compact sedan? How about a compact coupe or hatchback? Or just a car that'll put a great big-old smile on your face? All of the above apply to the 2018 Honda Civic, a compact car uniquely available in three body styles and multiple performance models. Whether you're simply looking for basic transportation or something that excites, the Civic really does offer a little something for everyone.

Now, regardless of the version you get you can expect a spacious and surprisingly premium cabin, generous feature content and a driving experience that strikes a great balance between comfort and driver involvement. Yep, even the high-performance Civic Si and Civic Type R have adaptive suspensions that make them more livable during the daily commute. There's also the matter of Honda's superior reliability and resale value to sweeten the pot.

In other words, if you're in the market for a compact car, how could the 2018 Civic not be on your test-drive list?

What's New for 2018?

This is the first full model year for the high-performance Civic Si and ultra-performance Civic Type R. Otherwise, the expansive Civic lineup is unchanged for 2018.

What We Like

Spacious and high-quality cabin; best-in-class power and fuel efficiency with 1.5-liter turbo engine; refined ride and handling; three body styles; reasonably priced Si model; bonkers-fun Type R model

What We Don't

Frustrating touchscreen interface; hypersensitive forward-collision warning; no automatic transmission on Si or Type R; Si is a bit down on power relative to competitors

How Much?

$19,600-$34,100

Fuel Economy

There are four Civic engines available, all of which correspond to different trim levels.

A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine comes on the LX and EX versions of the sedan and coupe. It produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) returns 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, Touring and 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 in the Civic Sport). Fuel economy is actually better, 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.

The Civic Si gets an upgraded version of the 1.5-liter that produces 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission available, and with it, the Si returns 28 mpg city/38 mpg hwy/32 mpg combined. That's exceptional for a performance-oriented model.

The Civic Type R has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that cranks out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It too comes with a 6-speed manual only. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Honda Civic sedan comes in six trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, Touring and high-performance Si. The coupe adds an LX-P trim in place of the EX. The hatchback can be had in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, Sport Touring and ultra-performance Type-R.

Read Honda Civic Hatchback vs. Civic Sedan: What's the Difference?

The LX ($18,900 sedan; $19,300 coupe; $20,100 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 ($22,000) adds a sunroof and passive entry with keyless start.

The Sport hatchback ($21,700) adds a more powerful version of the turbocharged engine, 18-in wheels, fog lights, a center-mounted exhaust port and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The EX ($21,200 sedan; $23,200 hatchback) adds to the LX's equipment a sunroof, heated mirrors, passive entry and keyless start, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, 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 ($21,600 sedan; $21,700 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 ($23,900 sedan; $23,600 coupe; $25,700 hatchback), which adds a standard CVT, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-way power driver's seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The hatchback includes a navigation system that's optional on the EX-L sedan.

The Touring ($26,700 sedan; $26,300 coupe) adds 18-in wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers, 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 ($28,700) 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.

Standard on the Touring trims but optional on all other above trim levels is the Honda Sensing package, which includes forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-keep assist, 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.

The Civic Si ($24,100 sedan and coupe) is equipped like the EX-T, but gets a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, bigger front brakes, a limited-slip differential, special sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, styling flourishes and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Civic Type R ($34,100) is comparable to the Touring in terms of equipment, but also boasts 20-in wheels, bigger brakes, its own sport-tuned suspension and dampers, and even racier styling inside and out.

Safety

The 2018 Civic comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side airbags and a rearview camera. Honda's LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system comes standard on the EX trim level and higher (EX-T on the coupe). Available on every trim but Si and Type R is the Honda Sensing package, consisting of forward-collision warning and automatic braking and lane-departure assist.

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 gave every Civic body style the best possible scores for crash protection and prevention, but a Poor headlight rating kept them from getting Top Safety Pick awards.

Behind the Wheel

The Civic feels like a more sophisticated car than other compacts. It's notably quiet and comfortable, and although it isn't quite as sharp 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 base engine is perfectly capable and efficient, the turbocharged engine's best-in-class acceleration and fuel economy make it a near no-brainer. Its character and power delivery changes dramatically, whether you opt for the CVT or the easy-to-drive manual, so trying both is recommended.

Then there's the Civic Si, which is one of the best performance bargains around. Although down on power to other sport compacts, its superior handling more than makes up for it. The hyper-performance Civic Type R is in another realm entirely, and is one of today's best performance cars, period.

Inside, every Civic boasts top-notch quality, clever storage and a relatively enormous cabin. Even the coupe can accommodate four average-size adults. The hatchback also benefits from one of the larger cargo areas in its segment.

Its technology disappoints, however. The base radio's buttons and knobs work well, but it lacks 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 volume knob.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Mazda3 -- The Mazda3 is the strongest alternative. Its fuel-efficient engines, sharp driving dynamics and handsome styling are top consideration points.

2018 Hyundai Elantra -- The value-packed Elantra boasts classy styling, impressive refinement and the typical Hyundai virtues of abundant features for the money and an industry-best warranty.

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R -- Here are your best bets when seeking Si and Type R alternatives. Each is a bit more grown up and refined, but still a lot of fun.

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. It's priced higher, though, so you may need to find a used example.

Autotrader's Advice

We can't recommend the superb 1.5-liter 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.

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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.
2018 Honda Civic: New Car Review - Autotrader