The Civic is Honda’s long-heralded compact car. With a decades-long history of reliability, practicality, high resale value and efficiency, it’s hard to go wrong with any version of the 2021 Honda Civic. And there are many configurations available, even with a lineup that has been trimmed for 2021.
The Honda Civic coupe has been discontinued, leaving the far more popular sedan and hatchback. The sporty Si model is taking the year off. Still, the majority of buyers will find a Civic that meets their needs, whether it’s a roughly $21,000 base sedan for the college student or a Sport Touring hatchback with a turbo engine and manual transmission that temps enthusiasts. The wild child, track-ready Civic Type R with over 300 horsepower is also available.
This generation of Civic is in its twilight, with an all-new model set to arrive next year. Yet even now, this Honda remains highly competitive with its archrival the Toyota Corolla, not to mention other contenders like the Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda3.
An all-new Honda Civic is set to debut next year, so this is a year in which nothing is added to the Civic lineup and more is taken away. The Civic Coupe has been discontinued, and the sporty Civic Si is sitting this year out. See the 2021 Honda Civic models for sale near you
What We Like
- Spacious and high-quality cabin
- Excellent power and fuel efficiency with a 1.5-liter turbo engine
- Refined ride and handling
- Choice of sedan or hatchback
- The bonkers-fun Type R model
What We Don’t
- No hybrid model
- No Si variant for 2021
For 2021, there are three engines available for the Civic that correspond to different trim levels. The vast majority of Civics will get one of the first two.
A 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine comes standard on the sedan. It produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The continuously variable automatic transmission in the base LX sedan returns fuel economy estimates of 30 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg in combined driving. The 6-speed manual that’s available on Sport trims of the sedan is estimated at 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway. The CVT in the Sport trim is slightly below that of the LX, coming in at 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway.
Standard on the EX and Touring sedans and every trim of the 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, 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. Hatchback models are 1-2 mpg combined lower depending on transmission.
The outlier among Civics is the Type R, a high-powered, track-tuned performance hatchback. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that cranks out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It 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 2021 Honda Civic sedan and hatch are available in four main trims: LX, Sport, EX, and Touring (called Sport Touring for the hatchback). The specialty Civic Type R is a high-performance version based on the hatchback.
The LX (sedan: est. $20,500; hatchback: $22,000, plus a $995 destination charge) offers 16-in wheels, LED running lights, automatic climate control and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The infotainment system in this model is basic with just a 5-in screen and four speakers. It has Bluetooth and a USB port, but not Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LX sedan doesn’t have a folding rear seat, but the hatchback does. The hatch also gets a turbo engine standard. All 2021 Civics have the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist systems including forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
The Sport (sedan: est. $22,000; hatchback: $23,100) will appeal to more buyers as it has a 7-in touchscreen with. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry with push-button start, upgraded audio system, 18-in wheels, and the HondaLink remote access system from your phone. Sedan models at this trim are more practical with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. Sport hatchback models get a bump in power output.
The EX (sedan: est. $24,000; hatchback: $24,500) comes standard with the turbo engine, LaneWatch blind-spot camera system, power moonroof, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and satellite and HD radio.
The Touring sedan (est. $28,000) adds 18-in wheels, a 10-speaker/450-watt audio system, satellite navigation, 4-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated rear seats, 18-in wheels, and LED headlights.
The Sport Touring hatchback ($28,400) 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. This model also can be had with a manual transmission.
The Civic Type R ($37,495) is comparable to the Touring in terms of equipment, but also boasts 20-in wheels, bigger brakes, limited-slip differential, three-mode drive system, sport-tuned adaptive suspension and sportier styling inside and out. This potent hatchback is powered by a 306-horsepower engine with a rev-matching 6-speed manual gearbox.
New for 2021 is the Civic Type R Limited Edition ($43,995), a Phoenix Yellow model with a gloss black roof and an intake vent on its hood. Only 600 of these individually numbered Type Rs will be available.
In addition to federally mandated features like airbags (front, front-side and side-curtain in the Civic), stability control, and a rearview camera, all 2021 Civic models include the Honda Sensing suite of active safety and driver-assistance features. It bundles features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist, along with adaptive cruise control. EX and above models have LaneWatch, a type of blind-spot camera.
In government crash tests, the Honda Civic sedan and hatchback received a perfect five stars in every crash category. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked the Civic as Good, its best score.
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 spry acceleration and enhanced fuel economy make it a near no-brainer.
Most buyers will want an automatic transmission, and the Civic’s CVT does an admirable job of mimicking a traditional one with set gears. For drivers who still seek a manual, know that the extra effort is worth it. Honda still makes a wonderful manual, and the one in the Civic is rewarding to use.
The hyper-performance Civic Type R is in another realm entirely and is one of today’s best performance cars, period. It’s relatively acceptable on most roads if you use it in comfort mode, though the suspension is still quite stiff. This Honda hot hatch really comes into its own on a twisty road or, as the way we tested it, on a track. It is among the best-performing front-wheel-drive cars we’ve tested. It has razor-sharp steering, oodles of power, and wonderful finesse.
Inside, every Civic boasts top-notch quality, clever storage and a relatively large cabin. The hatchback also benefits from one of the larger cargo areas in its segment. Know that unlike the other Civic sedans and hatchbacks that seat five, the Civic Type R only has two rear seats, meaning it only holds four people.
Where the Civic is showing its age is in the infotainment system. Its largest screen is 7 inches, and while Honda finally added a volume knob a couple of years ago, most other functions rely too much on touch.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Toyota Corolla – The Toyota Corolla was totally redesigned last year and has upped its game in every way. It has sharper looks, crisper handling, and if available in sedan, hatchback and as a highly efficient hybrid.
2020 Nissan Sentra – All-new for 2020, Nissan’s popular compact sedan has had a design makeover and touts a comfortable ride, great safety systems and roomy-for-its-size interior.
2021 Mazda3 — The Mazda3 is also available as a sedan or hatchback and has designer looks, a premium-leaning interior and athletic driving manners. A turbo even joins the lineup for 2021.
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.
Questions You May Ask
Is the 2021 Honda Civic reliable?
Yes. The Honda Civic has a decades-long history or reliability.
Is there a 2021 Honda Civic Hybrid?
No. But the excellent 2021 Honda Insight is a compact sedan with a hybrid drivetrain. It’s based on the same platform as the Civic.
Where is the 2021 Honda Civic built?
This global success requires several facilities to keep up with demand. The hatchbacks are built in the United Kingdom, and the regular sedan is made in Greensburg, Indiana, as well as the Canadian factory. Engines and transmissions are assembled in Ohio.
We recommend Civics with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, so that means our pick begins with an EX sedan or any version of the hatchback. If you must save some money, a Sport trim sedan or hatch is the better choice over LX models since it has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Then again, if absolute simplicity is your game, even a base LX sedan will get the job done. Just know that it lacks more modern tech. Most buyers will gravitate toward at least an EX trim, and they’ll soon find why first-time Honda buyers become repeat Honda buyers. Find a Honda Civic for sale