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2021 Honda Civic: Choosing the Right Trim

As one of the best-selling and best-known compact cars, the 2021 Honda Civic has become a favorite amongst all car-buying classes. For the frugal, the Civic delivers a lot of value for little money and it holds onto that value years down the road. For the sporty, the Civic’s taut handling, slick-shifting manual transmission option, and racy good looks hit the sweet spot.

While there no hybrid or plug-in hybrid engines in the Civic lineup, it is remarkably easy on gas. With the coupe no longer offered, buyers can choose a sedan or hatchback, with no less than six trims between the two body styles. Honda simplifies the ordering process by bundling features according to trim, a good idea if you don’t like complexity, but a bad one if getting the features you want means having to leapfrog trim levels.

2021 Honda Civic LX (Starting at $21,250)

The LX is the entry-level model that thinks it’s a mid-level car. Available in sedan and hatchback form, the LX’s list of standard equipment proves it is anything but a bare-bones economy car.

Standard features include power windows, power door locks and power mirrors, a tilt/telescopic steering column, multi-angle rearview camera, and a manually height-adjustable driver’s seat.

On the safety front, the LX comes with a complete complement of airbags, plus electronic traction and stability control, and anti-lock brakes. Even more impressive, the LX also includes the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists.

Honda Sensing includes automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The LX is pretty basic on the audio front, with a 5-inch LCD display operating a 160-watt, 4-speaker radio. Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming technology are here, along with one USB port. However, those seeking Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or SiriusXM are going to have to move up a trim level or two to get them.

A 158-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) motivates the LX sedan, while the LX hatchback comes with a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and the same CVT automatic.

The LX hatchback has a few more standard features than the sedan, which explains the additional $1,000 price tag. These include 16-inch alloy wheels (the sedan has covers), a body-colored roof spoiler, and a rear wiper/washer.

Figure an out-the-door price with fees of around $22,250. When financed at 3% over 60 months, the Civic LX’s monthly payment will be about $400. Find a Honda Civic LX for sale

2021 Honda Civic LX includes:

  • Adaptive cruise control – allows the driver to set and automatically maintain a safe distance between the Civic and the traffic ahead.
  • Automatic climate control – no need to constantly fuss with the temperature control knob. Just set the desired temperature, and the system automatically maintains it.
  • Collision mitigation braking – can automatically slow or stop the car when a collision is imminent.
  • Bluetooth – not just for connecting your phone with the outside world, the Civic’s Bluetooth streaming allows you to stream music, podcasts, or whatever you prefer listening to, all through the car’s audio system

2021 Honda Civic Sport ($23,050)

If we were on a tight budget, the Civic Sport is the model we’d pick. It’s only $1,000 more than the LX, but it brings so much more in the way of styling and technology.

Standard on the Sport trim are 18-inch alloy wheels, Smart Entry proximity key with push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 180-watt audio upgrade with eight speakers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, and fog lights.

The Sport hatchback sees output rise to 180-hp, gets an underbody spoiler kit, and a 6-speed manual transmission. Honda Sensing remains part of the standard equipment list, even with the manual transmission.

Options for Sport hatchback include a CVT automatic with shift paddles, two 18-inch alloy wheel designs, and extra-cost paint colors.

Several dealer add-ons are listed on the Honda website, things like a red interior illumination kit and black fashion accents with black wheels.

Using the same 60-month loan formula, we can see a Sport model cost only $432 a month, or $32 more than the base LX. Find a Honda Civic Sport for sale

2021 Honda Civic Sport includes:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – allows a smartphone to connect with the car’s infotainment system, enabling streaming of music, apps, messaging, and maps.
  • Smart Entry key fob – this proximity key system negates the need for you to take a physical key out of your pocket or purse or even to operate the remote by hand. As long as the fob is on your person, you can gain access simply by pulling on the door handle. Once inside, it takes just the push of a button to start the vehicle. When you walk away, the car automatically locks itself.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels – not only do the standard 18-inch wheels look great, but their lightweight alloy material also helps reduce stress on the suspension and allows for better acceleration and fuel economy.
  • 6-speed manual transmission – if you’re a driving enthusiast, the Civic’s 6-speed manual is a must-have. Best of all, you don’t have to give up any driver-assist technologies when going manual, a perk the manual-equipped Subaru Impreza can’t claim.

2021 Honda Civic EX ($24,400)

The EX sedan gets the same 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged engine found in the hatchback. Both sedan and hatchback use the same CVT automatic.

The EX’s standard equipment includes an 8-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, body-colored heated side mirrors, and a one-touch power moonroof. However, unlike the Sport, the EX rides on smaller, 17-inch wheels and tires.

Other standard features include the Honda LaneWatch passenger-side blind-spot monitoring system, dual-zone automatic climate control, variable intermittent wipers, a fin-type roof antenna, a rear-seat center armrest, and driver and front passenger illuminated vanity mirrors.

On the audio front, SiriusXM comes standard. A subscription is required after the 3-month trial period expires.

On a 60-month loan at 3%, a Civic EX sedan would have a monthly payment of around $456, or roughly $25 more than the Sport. Find a Honda Civic EX for sale

2021 Honda Civic EX includes:

  • One-touch power moonroof – lets in more light when closed and more fresh air when open. The moonroof can also be tilted up to vent stale air or lessen wind buffeting with the rear windows down (dog people will totally understand).
  • LaneWatch – this blind-spot monitoring system works only on the passenger side and uses a mirror-mounted camera to project an image onto the 7-inch touchscreen. The system is activated when the turn signal stalk is engaged.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control – lets the driver and passenger create their own climate zone, automatically adjusting the temperature for each side.
  • 1.5-liter turbocharged engine – this potent little 4-cylinder brings the Civic to life yet actually gets better fuel economy than the less-powerful 4-cylinder on the LX and Sport.

2021 Honda Civic EX-L ($25,600)

The EX-L is offered only on the sedan and has all the same features as the EX, plus leather seating, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and HomeLink remote system.

The EX-L’s monthly payment would come to $478, or about $22 more each month over the EX sedan. Find a Honda Civic EX-L for sale

2021 Honda Civic Touring ($28,300)

For just under $30,000, the Civic Touring offers a lot of good stuff in a one-stop-shop setup.

If you want features like leather seating and navigation, it makes sense to bypass the EX-L and go right to the Touring. Along with these two features, the Touring also comes with a 450-watt 10-speaker audio system that includes a powered subwoofer, 4-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, and rain-sensing wipers.

The Touring’s CVT automatic includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, heated outside mirrors with built-in LED turn indicators, chrome door handles, and a compass.

The Civic Touring rides on 18-inch wheels with Gloss Shark Gray inserts.

Out the door, the Touring trim stickers for about $29,300. On a 60-month loan at 3%, the payment would be around $526 a month, or about $50 more a month over the EX-L. Find a Honda Civic Touring for sale

2021 Honda Civic Touring includes:

  • Voice-activated navigation – easily find your way to anywhere in the continental U.S. with Honda’s satellite-based navigation. You can use simple commands to find points of interest or speak an address. Turn-by-turn voice navigation will guide you to your destination.
  • 450-watt 10-speaker audio – if you love music and you love it even more when it’s loud, this is the trim for you.
  • Heated rear seats – now rear-seat passengers can instantly warm up, too. The two rear outboard seats feature heating elements that can quickly warm the Touring trim’s leather seats.
  • Rain-sensing wipers – automatically detect rain, mist, or snow and activate to the appropriate speed.

2021 Honda Civic Sport Touring ($28,600)

The Sport Touring trim is only available on the hatchback, combining all the best features of the Touring sedan and Sport hatchback in one well-equipped model.

In addition to the Touring trim’s features, the Sport Touring gets a 6-speed manual transmission, a more powerful 540-watt audio system with 12 speakers, underbody spoiler kits, and the option of a CVT transmission with shift paddles.

The monthly payment for the Sport Touring over the Touring is only a few dollars difference. Find a Honda Civic Sport Touring for sale

See More Civic Trim Comparisons

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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