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2020 Honda Civic Review


Looking for a compact sedan? How about a coupe or a hatchback? And at an affordable price? The 2020 Honda Civic checks all those boxes exceptionally well, whether you’re looking for basic transportation or something that excites.

Regardless of the version you get, the Civic boasts a spacious and surprisingly premium cabin, loads of features and a driving experience that strikes a great balance between comfort and driver involvement. Even the high-performance Civic Si and Civic Type R have adaptive suspensions that suit them for the daily commute. It also possesses excellent safety credentials and Honda’s superior reliability and resale value.

The Civic really has something for everyone, and it’s even better thanks to a number of key updates last year like updated styling and standard Honda Sensing on every trim. In short, the Civic is a must-drive.

What’s New for 2020?

Other than styling updates to the hatchback, there are no major changes for 2020 coming off of the Civic’s 2019 midcycle refresh. See the 2020 Honda Civic models for sale near you

What We Like

  • The spacious and high-quality cabin
  • Excellent power and fuel efficiency with a 1.5-liter turbo engine
  • Refined ride and handling
  • Three body styles
  • The reasonably priced Si model
  • The bonkers-fun Type R model

What We Don’t

  • The frustrating touch-screen interface
  • Hypersensitive forward-collision warning
  • No automatic transmission on the Si or the Type R
  • The Si is a bit lacking in power relative to competitors

How Much?

$20,650-$36,995

Fuel Economy

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

A 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine comes standard on the sedan and coupe. It produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The optional continuously variable automatic transmission returns fuel economy estimates of 30 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg in combined driving. The standard 6-speed manual is down considerably at 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined. The coupe models vary negligibly.

Standard on the EX, the Touring, the EX-L sedan 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 hatchback). The CVT is standard with this engine in the sedan and coupe, but the hatchback still offers it as an option with the 6-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy is actually better, at 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy/36 mpg combined in a CVT-equipped sedan. The coupe is 1 mpg combined lower, while the hatchback should be 1-2 mpg combined lower depending on transmission.

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. Fuel economy for the Si is rated at 26 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/30 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 unsurprisingly the worst of the Civic model range at 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Honda Civic sedan and coupe offer LX, Sport, EX, Touring and high-performance Si. The sedan adds the EX-L trim. The hatchback can be had in the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, Sport Touring and ultra-performance Type-R.

The LX ($20,650 sedan, $21,050 coupe, $21,750 hatchback) offers 16-in alloy wheels, forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and high beams, LED running lights, a backup camera, automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a 1-piece folding back seat, a USB port and a 4-speaker sound system. The hatchback comes standard with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine.

The Sport ($21,550 sedan, $21,850 coupe, $22,850 hatchback) adds 18-in wheels, fog lights, distinct exterior styling elements, a central exhaust outlet, quicker steering, proximity entry and push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth/simulated leather upholstery, a 60/40-split back seat, a 7-in touchscreen, an extra USB port, an 8-speaker sound system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sport hatchback (pricing not available at the time of this writing) is equipped similarly but adds a more powerful version of the turbocharged engine.

The EX ($23,800 sedan, $23,600 coupe, $24,250 hatchback) comes standard with the turbo engine but reverts to base steering and upholstery. It adds 17-in wheels, Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot warning camera, heated mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats and satellite and HD radio.

The EX-L ($25,000 sedan, $25,450 hatchback) only adds leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Touring ($27,700 sedan, $27,250 coupe) adds 18-in wheels, the Sport’s steering, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a 4-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats and integrated navigation. The sedan also adds a 10-speaker sound system.

The Sport Touring hatchback ($28,150) combines the regular Sport trim’s wheels, styling, exhaust and engine tune with all the Touring’s trim equipment. It also has a 12-speaker sound system.

The Civic Si ($25,200 sedan and coupe) is equipped like the EX 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 ($36,995) is comparable to the Touring in terms of equipment, but it also boasts 20-in wheels, bigger brakes, its own sport-tuned suspension and dampers and even sportier styling inside and out.

Safety

The 2020 Civic comes standard with six airbags (front, front-side and side-curtain), a rearview camera, forward-collision warning, automatic-braking assist and lane-keeping assist. Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera comes standard on the EX trim level and higher.

In government crash tests, the 2018 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 independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave every Civic body style the best possible scores for crash protection and prevention.

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. For the engine, the base 4-cylinder is perfectly capable and efficient, but the turbo’s best-in-class acceleration and fuel economy make it a near no-brainer.

Then there’s the Civic Si, which is one of the best performance bargains around. Although down on power relative to other sport compacts, its superior handling more than makes up for it. Autotrader’s Rob Nestora says, “The Civic Si has one of the most forgiving clutches you will find on the market.  The Si with the high-performance tire package is especially fun, as the rubber seems to grip the road effortlessly and consistently even under hard driving.  You’d never guess that this is a Civic from the way it performs- and it’s not even a Type R!”

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 large cabin. Even the coupe can accommodate four average-sized 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 chock-full of content but frustrates with its menu structure, small virtual icons and lack of supporting physical buttons. The volume knob that was added in 2019 doesn’t change that.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Mazda3 — The Mazda3 is the strongest alternative. Its fuel-efficient engines, sharp driving dynamics and handsome styling are top consideration points.

2020 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.

2020 Volkswagen 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 one.

Autotrader’s Advice

We can’t recommend the superb 1.5-liter turbocharged engine enough, so that means our recommendation begins with the EX sedan and coupe (every hatchback except the Type R already includes it). That trim should also give you everything you really need, plus abundant niceties like a sunroof, heated seats and the full touchscreen infotainment suite. Find a Honda Civic for sale

Autotrader
Autotrader
Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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